Greater London Council election, 1970

Greater London Council election, 1970

The third election to the Greater London Council was held on April 9, 1970, and saw a Conservative victory with a reduced majority. In addition to the 100 councillors, there were sixteen Aldermen who divided 11 Conservative and 5 Labour, so that the Conservatives actually had 76 seats to 40 for Labour following the election. The poll in Hammersmith was delayed to April 27 due to the death of one of the Labour candidates. The original result for Harrow turned out to have an enormous mistake and a recount was ordered on April 20 which did not alter the result in terms of those elected but did identify more than 25,000 votes which had been incorrectly recorded.

With an electorate of 5,524,384, there was a turnout of 35.2%. Labour recovered from its mauling three years previously, but did so primarily in working-class areas. Consequently, relatively few seats changed hands: Labour won back Camden, Greenwich, Hammersmith, Wandsworth, and one seat in Lambeth. The results did enable Labour to take back control of the Inner London Education Authority and were one of the factors used by Prime Minister Harold Wilson in deciding to call a general election soon after.

Among those who were first elected to the GLC in 1970 were Tony Banks (Labour, Hammersmith, later Minister for Sport) and Sir George Young (Conservative, Ealing, later a cabinet minister under John Major). The election is also significant as it was at a meeting in support of the Conservative candidates in Lambeth that John Major met Norma Wagstaff, who became his wife.


¹ These parties were created by a group of students standing in Haringey, who declared that they intended to make a mockery of the election.

By-elections 1970-1973

No seats changed hands in byelections during this term. The Conservatives retained Kensington and Chelsea on December 2, 1971 after the death of Seton Forbes-Cockell, and Barnet on October 19, 1972 after the death of Arthur Peacock. Labour retained Wandsworth on June 15, 1972 after the death of Sir Norman Prichard. No seats were vacant at the end of the term.

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