Greater London Council election, 1973

Greater London Council election, 1973

The fourth election to the Greater London Council was held on April 12, 1973. Labour, benefiting both from the unpopularity of the Conservative GLC's transport policy and from the difficulties of the national Conservative government, won a very large majority of 58 seats to 32 for the Conservatives; the Liberals also won their first two seats on the council. In addition to the 100 councillors, there were sixteen Aldermen who divided 9 Labour and 6 Conservative, so that Labour actually had 67 seats to 38 for the Conservatives following the election.

With an electorate of 5,313,470, there was a turnout of 36.8%. As there had been a boundary commission report with new Parliamentary constituencies which coincided with the border of Greater London, the electoral system was changed slightly (as had always been intended) so that the GLC was elected from single member electoral divisions which were identical with the Parliamentary constituencies. Labour did well in the elections and won some seats which it was not to take again until the 1997 general election landslide (including Brentford and Isleworth, Hendon North, and Croydon Central) and one which it has never subsequently held in any election (Carshalton and Wallington).

The election result in Croydon North East was particularly close, eventually going to Labour's David Simpson by 11 votes. There had been 44 ballot papers not counted because they had not been validated with the 'official mark'; if they had been counted, the Conservatives would have kept the seat. The Conservatives challenged this election on the grounds that the failure to stamp the ballot papers was probably accidental. As it could not be said that these ballot papers were definitely the product of an attempt to commit electoral fraud, the election result was declared void on July 18, 1974.

Among those who were first elected to the GLC in 1973 were Ken Livingstone (Labour, Lambeth, Norwood), later to lead it, and Andrew McIntosh (Labour, Haringey, Tottenham) who was his brief moderate rival for the Labour leadership.


By-elections 1973-1977

The first byelection of the term was caused by the court voiding the election in Croydon North East (see above). On September 5, 1974 the former Conservative member Billie Morgan successfully regained the seat she had narrowly lost. Labour retained seats at Greenwich on October 24 1974 and Dagenham on January 30, 1975 caused by the deaths of sitting councillors. The Conservatives kept their seats at Finchley on May 15, 1975 caused by the resignation of Roland Freeman and St. Marylebone on April 8, 1976 caused by the resignation of former GLC leader Desmond Plummer.

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