General Election 1979 - Southwest

The 1979 General Election was contested on 3rd May. The outgoing government was Labour led by Jim Callaghan, since 1977 then had operated as a minority government with support from Welsh & Scottish nationalists and Ulster Unionists but following the referendum on a Scottish Assembly which a majority of those voting supported, but failed to gain the support of 40% of the electorate, the SNP refused to support Labour in a no-confidence vote. The Conservatives under their new leader, Margaret Thatcher, went on to win a clear majority in the election.

This was the first General Election that the new Ecology Party had faced since its formation from PEOPLE and Movement for Survival in 1976. There was a threshold of 50 candidates to be entitled to a Party Political Broadcast (PPB) - in 1979 there were only three TV channels in the UK and the election PPBs were broadcast simultaneously on all channels.

Ecology was determined to achieve the 50 candidate threshold, and the Southwest Area (which at that time included the New Forest) made an important contribution, putting up 18 candidates, even after 2 withdrew at quite a late stage.

1979 SW Candidates and others at campaign launch event.
SW Election Candidates
Back row:  Geoff Garbett - Tony Whittaker - Chris Retallack - Liz Hopkins - Jeremy Faul
- Richard Carder - Bert Pettit - Maurice Weekes - Howard Hoptrough - Jim Keeling
Front row: Julia Leydon - Sally Rodwell - Hilary Bacon - David Taylor - Gundula Dorey - John Ingham
The non-candidates in the photo above are Liz Hopkins (W.Wilts), Maurice Weekes (Bristol EP Chair), Julia Leydon (Chippenham) and David Taylor (Regional Organiser).

In the event there were 18 candidates from the SW, 4 female (22%), youngest 22, eldest 55, average age 36.
Peter Frings (Exeter), Don Grimes (Bath), Jacky Demsey (Bournemouth) were not at the launch meeting

There is a Gallery of candidate photos in the resources section or click on the thumbnails below the results table here.

Candidate List and results

Cornwall  
St.Ives:  Howard Hoptrough (55)
427 votes, 1.0%, last behind MK
Cornwall North: Jeremy Faull (49)
442 votes, 0.9%. Beat NF
Bodmin: Chris Retallack (32)
465 votes, 0.9%. Beat NF but beaten by MK
Teddy Goldsmith was due to stand in Falmouth/Camborne but pulled out late
Devon  
Exeter:  Peter Frings (22)
1053 votes, 1.88%.
Devon North: Tony Whittaker (46)
729 votes, 1.2% ahead of 5 others
Honiton:  Hilary Bacon (43)
1423 votes, 2.35%
Torbay:  David Abrahams (31)
1161 votes, 1.8%
Somerset  
Taunton:  Geoffrey Garbett (26)
1403 votes 2.6%
Somerset North:  Richard Carder (36)
1254 votes, 1.6%
Bath  Don Grimes:  (35)
1082 votes, 2.2%
 
Wiltshire  
Chippenham:  Bert Pettitt  (52)
521 votes, 0.9%
Devizes:  Ray Burcham (28)
713 votes, 1.1%
Westbury : Sally Rodwell (30)
554 votes, 0.9% behind Wessex Regionalist
 
Dorset  

Bournemouth East:  Jacky Dempsey (25)
523 votes, 1.3%

Lymington & Christchurch:  Jim Keeling (46)
975 votes, 2.2%
Bristol  
Bristol West:  John Ingham (26)
1154 votes, 2.7%
Bristol North East : Gundula Dorey (36)
469 votes, 1.3%
Gloucestershire  
Gloucestershire South:  David Kerridge (35)
695 votes, 1.0%
 

Best result in Bristol West with 2.7% share (although Torbay, Taunton and Honiton all gave more green votes with a lower share). We have stood in Bristol West in every General Election since with share slowly increasing (with setbacks) and then leaping from 3.8% in 2010 to 26.8% in 2015 on the back of building a successful team of councillors and the voters finally realising that Greens can win...

SW Candidates 1979
SW Candidates 1979 SW Candidates 1979
Bob Pettit
Bob Pettit Bob Pettit
Gundula Dorey
Gundula Dorey Gundula Dorey
John Ingham
John Ingham John Ingham
Ray Burcham
Ray Burcham Ray Burcham
Sally Rothwell
Sally Rothwell Sally Rothwell
Tony Whittaker
Tony Whittaker Tony Whittaker
Richard Carder - J...
Richard Carder - Jim Keeling Richard Carder - Jim Keeling
Hoptrough, Retalla...
Hoptrough, Retallack, Faull Hoptrough, Retallack, Faull
Jim Keeling - Davi...
Jim Keeling - David Taylor Jim Keeling - David Taylor
David Taylor
David Taylor David Taylor

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