‘Honoured that you are writing my father’s biography’ the late Tony Benn, ‘...wonderfully written’ Hilary Benn

‘Sparkles with fascinating detail…a remarkable story of Liberal and Labour politics in the first half of the twentieth century.’ Michael Crick, Political Correspondent, Channel 4 News

‘Casts much light both on the evolution of British radicalism, and on the legacy which he bequeathed to his son, Tony. Professor Vernon Bogdanor, King's College, London

‘Brilliant biography…wonderful reading about the father and...discovering more about the son.’ Steve Richards of The Independent

‘Well-written and carefully researched, this fascinating biography brings to life a major figure in British political history…an excellent job of weaving together the strands of a complex life…as well as filling in the background of the Benn family’ Richard Doherty, military historian

Thursday, 4 July 2013

4th July - anniversary of Brecon by-election

Today is the anniversary of the Liberal victory in the Brecon and Radnor by-election of 1985. The by-election was caused by the death of the Conservative MP, Tom Hooson at the age of only 52. He was a cousin of Emlyn Hooson, the Liberal MP for Montgomeryshire. Emlyn lost his seat in 1979 – the year Tom was first elected.

The by-election on 4 July 1985 was won by agricultural expert, Richard Livsey, standing for the Liberals under the Alliance with the SDP, by a margin of just 559 votes. The Labour candidate, Richard Willey came second.

The seat has remained a knife-edge Lib Dem/Conservative seat at most elections since then. At the next general election in 1987, Livesy held the seat by a mere 56 votes. In 1992 it swung back to the Conservatives, with a majority of 130. Livsey then wrested it back in 1997 and it has remained a Lib Dem-held seat since then.

Richard Livsey retired in 2001 and became Lord Livsey of Talgarth. He died in 2010. The seat is now held by Roger Williams for the Liberal Democrats – one of three Williamses in the parliamentary party – the others being Mark Williams MP for Ceredigion and Stephen Williams MP for Bristol West.

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