Today is the anniversary of the Torrington by-election of 1958. It was the first post-war Liberal by-election victory and the first time the party had captured a new seat at a by-election since 1929.
The by-election occurred when the Liberal Party was at its lowest ever representation in the House of Commons, with just five MPs. At the previous general election in 1955, the Liberals had won six seats, but one of the MPs, Sir Rhys Hopkin Morris, died in 1956 and the party lost the at seat at Carmarthen in the resulting by-election.
Torrington was won by Mark Bonham Carter, Asquith’s grandson and brother-in-law of party leader, Jo Grimond. Bonham Carter would have been well-prepared for the campaign as he had (according to the Dictionary of Liberal Biography) walked 500 miles after he escaped from a prison camp in Italy during the war. Talk about sore feet - campaigners today just don’t realise how easy life is!