The Emergence of Candidates

  • David Butler
  • Michael Pinto-Duschinsky


During the 1966–70 parliament, the established procedures of candidate selection once again worked straightforwardly in the majority of cases. The usual pattern in both major parties was for a short list of two to five names to emerge from lengthy winnowing by a small sub-committee of the local constituency party. A body generally between 20 and 60 (the Executive Council of the Conservative constituency association or the General Management Committee of the constituency Labour party) then balloted after each aspirant had made a brief speech and answered questions. Their choice was then ratified at a general meeting. On only one occasion was the decision of the Executive Council (General Management Committee) reversed at this late stage. This occurred at Nelson and Colne where the former Conservative candidate, David Waddington, put his name forward at the last moment to fight the by-election and was preferred at a general meeting to David Penfold, whose name had been forwarded by the Executive Council. The Conservatives at times varied the procedure at the short-list stage, usually against Central Office advice; in the extreme case there was a well-publicised if misnamed ‘primary’ at Reigate, where 500 members of the Conservative Association assembled to hear the two finalists and their wives each make a political speech before television cameras.1


General Meeting Candidate Selection Labour Party Executive Council Labour Side 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    For two views on Conservative candidate selection see Anthony King, ‘The Changing Tories’, New Society, May 2, 1968.Google Scholar
  2. Andrew Alexander, ‘Where are the bright young Tories?’, Sunday Telegraph, January 26, 1969.Google Scholar
  3. More generally, see Michael Rush, The Selection of Parliamentary Candidates (Nelson, 1969).Google Scholar
  4. 1.
    For the earlier history of sponsored candidates see Martin Harrison, Trade Unions and the Labour Party (Longmans, 1960).Google Scholar
  5. 1.
    See Denis Kavanagh, Constituency Electioneering in Britain (Longman, 1970).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© David Butler and Michael Pinto-Duschinsky 1971

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Butler
    • 1
  • Michael Pinto-Duschinsky
    • 2
  1. 1.Nuffield CollegeOxfordUK
  2. 2.Pembroke CollegeOxfordUK

Personalised recommendations