Candidates, despite a necessary belief in their own importance, contribute little to the outcome of British general elections. They are the mere bearers of party labels, the anonymous footsoldiers in a battle waged far away in television studios. Yet they have always had a symbolic value, their social, occupational and ideological characteristics saying much about the parties they represent. Moreover, candidates not only voice the issues in a campaign, they can become one of the issues themselves, as in 1987 when the Conservative and Alliance parties pointed to what they claimed would the the most left-wing Parliamentary Labour Party ever.


Candidate Selection Labour Party Local Government Officer Campaign Group Local Party 
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  1. 14.
    See E. Vallance, ‘Women Candidates in the 1983 General Election’, Parliamentary Affairs, vol. 37, No. 3 (1984) pp. 301–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 17.
    See Patrick Bishop, ‘Labour MP seeks action over reselection tactics’, The Sunday Times, 13 January 1985.Google Scholar
  3. 18.
    See G. Alderman, ‘London Jews and the 1987 General Election’, Jewish Quarterly, vol. 34, No. 3, pp. 13–16, September 1987.Google Scholar
  4. 23.
    See M. Burch and M. Moran ‘Who are the new Tories?’, New Society, 11 October 1984.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© David Butler and Dennis Kavanagh 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Byron Criddle

There are no affiliations available

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