A by-election was held in the Bermondsey constituency in South London, on February 24, 1983, after the resignation of Labour MP Robert Mellish, who had represented the constituency and its predecessors in the House of Commons since 1946. Bermondsey was a Borough constituency centred on the Bermondsey district of South London. South London is the southern part of London, England. The area it covers is defined differently for a range of purposes Events 303 - Galerius, Roman Emperor, publishes his edict that begins the persecution of Christians in his portion of the Year 1983 ( MCMLXXXIII) was a Common year starting on Saturday (link displays the 1983 Gregorian calendar) The Labour Party is a Political party in the United Kingdom. Founded at the start of the 20th century it has been since the 1920s the principal party of the A Member of Parliament, or MP, is a representative elected by the voters to a Parliament. Robert Joseph Mellish Baron Mellish, PC ( 3 March 1913 &ndash 9 May 1998) was a British politician The House of Commons' is the Lower house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which also comprises the Sovereign and the House of Lords Mellish had been Chief Whip from 1969 until 1976, but he was becoming increasingly disenchanted with the left-wing drift of the Labour Party, and had resigned from both the Party and his Parliamentary seat in 1982. The Chief Whip is a political office in some Legislatures assigned to an elected member whose task is to administer the whipping system that ensures that members of He was recruited by the Conservative government to the board of the London Docklands Development Corporation; as he did not wish to be disqualified, the post was made non-salaried until such time as Mellish chose to accept payment. The London Docklands Development Corporation ( LDDC) was a Quango agency set up by the UK Government in 1981 to regenerate the depressed This meant that Mellish had a paid job to go to as soon as he wanted.
On November 7, 1981, Bermondsey Labour Party selected Peter Tatchell, its Secretary, as prospective Parliamentary candidate. Events 1492 - The Ensisheim Meteorite the oldest Meteorite with a known date of impact strikes the Earth around noon in a Wheat Year 1981 ( MCMLXXXI) was a Common year starting on Thursday (link displays the 1981 Peter Gary Tatchell (born 25 January 1952) is an Australian born British Human rights activist who gained international celebrity Tatchell was a leading member of the left-wing faction that had taken control of the local party the previous year. He was also a contributor to London Labour Briefing, a magazine that circulated among the London left, and had written an article suggesting the use of extra-Parliamentary direct action by the Labour Party. Direct action is political action which happens outside normal political channels via indirect actions such as electing representatives. This article came to the attention of James Wellbeloved, a London Labour MP who had defected to the Social Democratic Party; Wellbeloved then referred to it in a Parliamentary Question to Margaret Thatcher on December 3. Alfred James Wellbeloved (born 29 July 1926) was a British politician This is about the UK Social Democratic Party which existed between 1981 and 1988 Margaret Hilda Thatcher Baroness Thatcher LG, OM, PC, FRS (born 13 October 1925 Events 1800 - War of the Second Coalition: Battle of Hohenlinden, French
Labour Party leader Michael Foot denounced the article and declared "the individual concerned is not an endorsed member of the Labour Party and as far as I'm concerned never will be". Michael Mackintosh Foot (born 23 July 1913 is a British politician and writer (It was suggested by some that Foot had confused Peter Tatchell with Peter Taaffe, then the leader of the Trotskyist Militant Tendency, and that his denunciation was so strong that he could not later retract it without appearing weak. Peter Taaffe (born 1942 is the General secretary of the Socialist Party of England and Wales and a member of the International Executive Committee of the Committee Trotskyism is the theory of Marxism as advocated by Leon Trotsky. The Militant tendency was an entryist group within the UK Labour Party founded in 1964 ) Foot later changed "endorsed member" to "endorsed candidate", and at the next meeting of the Labour Party National Executive Committee, Tatchell was narrowly rejected as a candidate. Mellish was not reassured about the future direction of the Labour Party and resigned from it on August 2, 1982, a clear preliminary to resigning his seat, which he did by taking the Chiltern Hundreds on November 1. Events 338 BC - A Macedonian army led by Philip II defeated the combined forces of Athens and Thebes in the Year 1982 ( MCMLXXXII) was a Common year starting on Friday (link displays the 1982 Gregorian calendar) Appointment to the office of Crown Steward and Bailiff of the three Chiltern Hundreds of Stoke Desborough and Burnham or Manor of Northstead is a Sinecure appointment Events 996 - Emperor Otto III issues a deed to Gottschalk Bishop of Freising which is the oldest known document using the name Ostarrîchi The left wing of the Labour Party, defending the right of Bermondsey to select a candidate of its own choosing, managed to get agreement that Tatchell would be eligible for selection, and Tatchell was duly selected again in January 1983.
Tabloid newspapers opposed to the Labour left had begun investigating Tatchell's background when he was denounced by Michael Foot, and in particular his activities with the Gay Liberation Front in the early 1970s. Gay Liberation Front (GLF was the name of a number of Gay Liberation groups the first of which was formed in New York City in 1969 immediately after the Stonewall Several stories were published which made it inferentially clear that he was gay. Homosexuality refers to sexual behavior with or attraction to people of the same sex or to a Homosexual orientation.
At the 1981 Greater London Council election, the Liberal Party had come second in Bermondsey. The Liberal Party was one of the two major British political parties from the early 19th century until the rise of the Labour Party in the 1920s and a third party They chose their GLC candidate Simon Hughes, a Barrister who moved to the constituency earlier that year, to fight the byelection. Simon Henry Ward Hughes (born 17 May 1951) is a British politician and Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament for North Southwark A barrister is a Lawyer found in many Common law Jurisdictions that employ a split profession (as opposed to a Fused profession) in relation The Conservatives chose Robert Hughes (no relation), who was a Greater London Council (GLC) Councillor in Croydon. The Conservative Party (officially the Conservative and Unionist Party) is a Political party in the United Kingdom. Robert Gurth Hughes (born 14 July 1951) is a British Conservative Party politician The Greater London Council (GLC was the top-tier Local government administrative body for Greater London from 1965 to 1986 Croydon is a large town and major commercial centre in South London, and the principal settlement of the London Borough of Croydon. Among those who applied for the Conservative nomination but were not chosen was Sara Keays, then having an affair with Cecil Parkinson. Sara Keays (born c 1948 was the mistress and secretary of Cecil Parkinson, the United Kingdom's Secretary of State for Trade and Industry in the government of Cecil Edward Parkinson Baron Parkinson, PC (born 1 September 1931 in Carnforth, Lancashire) is a British Conservative politician
The right-wing former Labour leader of Southwark Borough Council, John O'Grady, who had been a target for the left-wing faction locally, also decided to stand under the banner 'Real Bermondsey Labour' with Robert Mellish's support and encouragement. The London Borough of Southwark ( is a London borough in south east London, England. His campaign was dominated by personal opposition to Tatchell and defence of his leadership of the Council. Twelve other candidates stood, including Screaming Lord Sutch and Dowager Lady Jane Birdwood. Screaming Lord Sutch 3rd Earl of Harrow, known as Screaming Lord Sutch, born David Edward Sutch ( 10 November 1940 &ndash Jane Birdwood Baroness Birdwood ( May 18 1913 - June 28 2000) was the wife of Lord Birdwood and a leading figure on the Far right
Esmond Bevan intended to stand as an independent Labour candidate, but erroneously entered his occupation in the section on the nomination papers headed 'description', thus appearing on ballot papers as "Systems Designer". A ballot is a device (originally a small ball—see blackball) used to record choices made by Voters Each voter uses one ballot and ballots are not
The Labour campaign started disastrously when it was discovered that the first leaflets had been printed at Cambridge Heath Press, owned by the Militant Tendency (a far left group practising entryism in the Labour Party which the party leadership was determined to remove; its five key members were expelled two days before polling day). The Militant tendency was an entryist group within the UK Labour Party founded in 1964 Entryism (or entrism or enterism) is a political tactic by which an organisation encourages members to infiltrate another organisation in an attempt to gain recruits The leaflets were all pulped and reprinted, but the cost of the first printing still counted against the limit for election spending.
There was much controversy over Tatchell's homosexuality. The Labour party persuaded Tatchell to keep quiet about his sexual orientation, although he had previously declared himself 'out'. Various campaigners for opposition candidates, as well as many within the Labour party, made homophobic comments about Tatchell. Widespread graffiti throughout the constituency referred to him in derogatory terms, whilst some of those putting up posters in his support found their windows attacked. Graffiti (singular graffito; the plural is used as a Mass noun) is the name for images or lettering scratched scrawled painted or marked in any manner on property Tatchell received hate mail, including a live bullet, and was attacked when out in the street.
Some of the other by-election candidates joined in: John O'Grady (Southwark Council leader, who was promoted as the 'official' Labour candidacy by the previous MP, Bob Mellish) was filmed touring the constituency on the back of a horse and cart, singing a song which referred to Tatchell 'wearing his trousers back to front'. Southwark or The Borough is an area of south-east London in the London Borough of Southwark, situated 1 Robert Joseph Mellish Baron Mellish, PC ( 3 March 1913 &ndash 9 May 1998) was a British politician On the last weekend of the campaign, an anonymous leaflet was sent round the constituency headed "Which Queen will you vote for?", contrasting the republican Tatchell, who was pictured looking very effeminate, with Queen Elizabeth II. Republicanism is the Ideology of governing a nation as a Republic, with an emphasis on Liberty, Rule of law, Popular sovereignty For the ship see RMS Queen Elizabeth 2 Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Context States headed by Elizabeth II The leaflet gave Tatchell's home address and telephone number.
An alternative analysis of Tatchell's eventual defeat was given by David Sutch, the Official Monster Raving Loony Party candidate, in his 1991 autobiography 'Life As Sutch' (ISBN 0-00-637805-6). Screaming Lord Sutch 3rd Earl of Harrow, known as Screaming Lord Sutch, born David Edward Sutch ( 10 November 1940 &ndash The Official Monster Raving Loony Party (OMRLP is a registered Political party established in the United Kingdom in 1983 by musician and politician David When being interviewed on TV at the by-election count, Sutch related to Tatchell how horrified he was at the treatment Tatchell had received, but added that "what I did not tell him was that he had been so bad a candidate that he had largely brought it on himself". Sutch criticised Tatchell's preference for press conferences and press releases rather than traditional meeting-and-greeting, which was generally regarded as the best way to win hearts and minds at a by-election. In a later interview, when the subject of Bermondsey came up, Sutch said that Tatchell "seemed to think all he needed to do to become the MP was turn up at the count. "
During the by-election, members of the Liberal Party were accused of having joined in homophobic attacks on Tatchell, which Roy Hattersley criticised at a Labour news conference: male canvassers for the party were seen wearing badges reading "I've been kissed by Peter Tatchell". Roy Sydney George Hattersley Baron Hattersley, PC, (born 28 December 1932 is a British Labour Party Politician, published author and journalist One Liberal campaigner, John Hein (who subsequently refused to join the Liberal Democrats and became a member of the Liberal Party instead), wrote in the usenet newsgroup uk. John Hein is publisher and former editor of ScotsGay magazine - a monthly magazine that reports on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and The Liberal Democrats, often shortened to Lib Dems, are a liberal Political party in the United Kingdom, formed in 1988 by merging the The Liberal Party is a United Kingdom Political party. It was formed in 1989 by a group of people who felt that the merger of the old Liberal Usenet, a Portmanteau of "user" and "network" is a world-wide distributed Internet discussion system politics. electoral on May 19, 1997:
In an interview with Simon Edge of The Independent published on December 17, 1996, the Liberal agent in the by-election, Andy Ellis, was asked whether he approved of the activity undertaken by the Liberal Gay Action Group, and replied "Nothing went on in Bermondsey that we were unhappy with". The Independent is a British compact Newspaper published by Tony O'Reilly 's Independent News & Media. Events 546 - Gothic War (535–554: The Ostrogoths of King Totila Year 1996 ( MCMXCVI) was a Leap year starting on Monday (link will display full 1996 Gregorian calendar) Andrew Ellis may refer to Andrew Ellis (rugby player, rugby player from New Zealand Andy Ellis (bassist, bassist of American metal band
Though Liberal campaigners criticised Tatchell for being 'in the closet' it emerged during campaigning for the leadership of the Liberal Democrats in January 2006 that Hughes had had homosexual relationships himself, and had used a gay chat service known as 'Man Talk' (see interview with Trevor Kavanagh in The Sun . In the 2006 Liberal Democrats leadership election, Sir Menzies Campbell was elected to succeed Charles Kennedy as Leader of the Liberal Democrats, the third-largest Trevor Michael Thomas Kavanagh (born 19 January 1943) is a Journalist and formerly the Political Editor of the Sun The Sun is a Tabloid daily newspaper published in the United Kingdom and Ireland with the highest circulation of any daily English-language ) Hughes apologised in the interview for not being honest about his sexuality, having denied that he was gay in an interview a week earlier , admitting that he "gave a reply that wasn’t untrue but was clearly misleading" as he is in fact bisexual having "had both homosexual and heterosexual relationships in the past. Bisexuality refers to sexual behavior with or attraction to people of both sexes or to a bisexual orientation "
Hughes also apologised for the actions of Liberals in the campaign, saying that "I regret that in a campaign, actually run often by agents and organisers, the candidate does not have nearly as much say as perhaps they should have, but I take responsibility". "I have never been comfortable about the whole of that campaign, as Peter knows, and I said that to him in the past. . . . Where there were things that were inappropriate or wrong, I apologise for that. "
The one controversial issue that was linked to Hughes was a leaflet describing the contest as a "STRAIGHT CHOICE" between Liberal and Labour. The same slogan is regularly used by candidates from all parties in elections, in an attempt to suggest to the electors that the party was the only credible challenger to the incumbent party  , as a result of Duverger's Law and to encourage tactical voting. In Political science, Duverger's law is a principle which asserts that a plurality rule election system tends to favor a Two-party system. In Voting systems tactical voting (or strategic voting or sophisticated voting) occurs when a voter supports a candidate other than his or her However, when challenged on Newsnight about it in 2006 Hughes admitted that it was 'an unacceptable form of language', and 'those are the sort of things that shouldn't have happened' , appearing to acknowledge that the slogan had acted as an inadvertent slur against Tatchell.
When asked for his opinions on the Liberal Democrat leadership candidates in 2006, Tatchell, by then a member of the Green Party, said that he had forgiven Hughes, saying "Simon benefited from these dirty tricks, but that was 23 years ago - I don't hold a grudge. The Green Party of England and Wales (GPEW (Plaid Werdd Cymru a Lloegr is the principal Green political party in England and Wales. It's time to forgive and move on. "  He added "if I were a Lib Dem member, I would vote for Simon Hughes as party leader".
Bermondsey was one of the first byelections to be extensively polled. The polls showed, at first, that the Labour vote was substantially down on the 1979 election figures, but that none of the rival candidates were particularly close. As the campaign went on, the Liberal candidate began to move into a clear second position and the other candidates faded. Later in the campaign, there were rumours which claimed that the right-wing of the Labour Party nationally wished to lose the seat, as it would prove that left-wing Labour candidates were unelectable. By the eve of poll, it was clear that large numbers of previously Labour voters were defecting to other parties, and that non-Labour voters were lining up in support of the Liberal candidate as the one most likely to beat Labour.
The Liberals made huge gains and took the seat, with a majority of votes cast. Tatchell came a distant second, while O'Grady took third. The Conservatives managed only fourth place, for the first time since the Newham South by-election, 1974, and the last in Britain until the Liverpool Walton by-election, 1991. The Newham South by-election was a By-election held on 23 May 1974 for the British House of Commons constituency of Newham South. The Liverpool Walton by-election was held on 4 July 1991, following the death of the Labour Party Member of Parliament Eric Heffer
|Bermondsey by-election, 1983|
|Liberal||Simon Hughes||17,017||57. The Liberal Party was one of the two major British political parties from the early 19th century until the rise of the Labour Party in the 1920s and a third party Simon Henry Ward Hughes (born 17 May 1951) is a British politician and Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament for North Southwark 7||+50. 9|
|Labour||Peter Tatchell||7,698||26. The Labour Party is a Political party in the United Kingdom. Founded at the start of the 20th century it has been since the 1920s the principal party of the Peter Gary Tatchell (born 25 January 1952) is an Australian born British Human rights activist who gained international celebrity 1||-37. 5|
|Real Bermondsey Labour||John O'Grady||2,243||7. 6||N/A|
|Conservative||Robert Hughes||1,631||5. The Conservative Party (officially the Conservative and Unionist Party) is a Political party in the United Kingdom. Robert Gurth Hughes (born 14 July 1951) is a British Conservative Party politician 5||-19. 4|
|National Front||James Sneath||426||1. The British National Front (most commonly called the National Front, and often known as the NF) is a British Political party whose major political 4||-2. 4|
|Monster Raving Loony||David Sutch||97||0. The Official Monster Raving Loony Party (OMRLP is a registered Political party established in the United Kingdom in 1983 by musician and politician David Screaming Lord Sutch 3rd Earl of Harrow, known as Screaming Lord Sutch, born David Edward Sutch ( 10 November 1940 &ndash 3||N/A|
|Independent Patriot||Dowager Lady Birdwood||69||0. Jane Birdwood Baroness Birdwood ( May 18 1913 - June 28 2000) was the wife of Lord Birdwood and a leading figure on the Far right 2||N/A|
|New Britain||Michael Keulemans||62||0. New Britain is a Right wing Political party in the United Kingdom, founded in 1976 2||N/A|
|Independent Labour||Barry Giddings||50||0. In Politics, an independent is a Politician who is not Affiliated with any Political party. 2||N/A|
|Communist||Robert Gordon||50||0. The Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB was the largest Communist party in the United Kingdom, though it never became a mass party like the Communist parties of 2||N/A|
|Ecology||George Hannah||45||0. The Green Party was a Green Political party in the United Kingdom 2||N/A|
|Revolutionary Communist||Fran Eden||38||0. The Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP started as a Trotskyist political organisation in 1978, creating what its founding members saw as a revolutionary Bolshevik 1||N/A|
|National Labour Party||Ann King||25||0. The National Labour Party was a Far right Political party founded in 1957 by John Bean. 1||N/A|
|United Democratic Party||Alan Baker||15||0. The United Democratic Party was a minor Political party in the United Kingdom. 1||N/A|
|Anti-Common Market Free Trade Party||David Wedgwood||15||0. 1||N/A|
|Systems Designer||Esmond Bevan||8||0. 0||N/A|
|Turnout||29,489||57. Voter turnout is the percentage of eligible voters who cast a Ballot in an Election. 7||-1. 6|
|Liberal gain from Labour||Swing|
The results for the previous election were:
|1979 General Election: Bermondsey|
|Labour||Robert Mellish||19,338||63. The Liberal Party was one of the two major British political parties from the early 19th century until the rise of the Labour Party in the 1920s and a third party The Labour Party is a Political party in the United Kingdom. Founded at the start of the 20th century it has been since the 1920s the principal party of the Swing in a British political context is a single figure used as an indication of the scale of voter change between two political parties Background Callaghan had succeeded Harold Wilson as Labour Prime Minister after the latter's surprise resignation in April 1976 The Labour Party is a Political party in the United Kingdom. Founded at the start of the 20th century it has been since the 1920s the principal party of the Robert Joseph Mellish Baron Mellish, PC ( 3 March 1913 &ndash 9 May 1998) was a British politician 6||-9. 8|
|Conservative||Alexander Duma||7,582||24. The Conservative Party (officially the Conservative and Unionist Party) is a Political party in the United Kingdom. 9||+11. 1|
|Liberal||Thomas Taylor||2,072||6. The Liberal Party was one of the two major British political parties from the early 19th century until the rise of the Labour Party in the 1920s and a third party 8||-1. 3|
|National Front||James Sneath||1,175||3. The British National Front (most commonly called the National Front, and often known as the NF) is a British Political party whose major political 9||-0. 9|
|Workers' Revolutionary||Anthony Moore||239||0. The Workers' Revolutionary Party is a small Trotskyist Political party in the United Kingdom. 8||N/A|
|Majority||11,756||38. 7||-20. 9|
|Turnout||30,406||59. Voter turnout is the percentage of eligible voters who cast a Ballot in an Election. 3||-2. 9|
|Labour hold||Swing||-10. The Labour Party is a Political party in the United Kingdom. Founded at the start of the 20th century it has been since the 1920s the principal party of the Swing in a British political context is a single figure used as an indication of the scale of voter change between two political parties 5|