1967 Liberal Party (UK) leadership election

The 1967 Liberal Party leadership election was called following the resignation of Jo Grimond, in the wake of disappointing results in the 1966 general election.

Liberal Party leadership election, 1967
Liberal Party logo (pre1988).png
18 January 1967
Candidate Jeremy Thorpe Emlyn Hooson Eric Lubbock
Popular vote 6 3 3
Percentage 50% 25% 25%

Leader before election

Jo Grimond

Elected Leader

Jeremy Thorpe


There were three candidates (Jeremy Thorpe, Emlyn Hooson and Eric Lubbock), who were elected by a ballot of the Liberal Parliamentary Party using Alternative Vote. Jeremy Thorpe secured the most votes in the first round, but did not win overall, as the rules said that he needed to win more than half of votes cast. Both Hooson and Lubbock's second preferences voted for one another, cancelling one another out, so faced with a deadlock, both other candidates withdrew from the contest to endorse Thorpe who was consequentially elected unopposed.

Although the vote was by a secret ballot, Liberal MP Peter Bessell later published a memoir in which he asserted that Jo Grimond, John Pardoe, David Steel, James Davidson and himself all voted for Thorpe; Alasdair Mackenzie and Russell Johnston voted for Hooson; and Michael Winstanley and Richard Wainwright voted for Lubbock. All three candidates voted for themselves. Bessell also confesses to having caused some confusion by pledging his vote to both Thorpe and Hooson, although he ultimately cast his vote for Thorpe after realising that he had greater momentum.[1]

First round results

Candidate Votes %
Jeremy Thorpe Green tick 6 50
Emlyn Hooson 3 25
Eric Lubbock 3 25


  1. ^ Bessell 1980, pp. 104-110.


  • Peter Bessell (1980), Cover-Up: The Jeremy Thorpe Affair, New York: Simon Books
  • David Boothroyd, Liberal Party Leaders, retrieved 2006-01-16
Leadership election

A leadership election is a political contest held in various countries by which the members of a political party determine who will be the leader of their party.

Generally, any political party can determine its own rules governing how and when a leadership election is to be held for that party. In the United Kingdom, for example:

Leadership elections are generally caused by the death or resignation of the incumbent (that is, the person already holding the post), although there are also formal and informal methods to remove a party's leader and thus trigger an election contest to find a replacement. There is, however, no common procedure whereby the main parties choose their leader.

A leadership election may be required at intervals set by party rules, or it may be held in response to a certain proportion of those eligible to vote expressing a lack of confidence in the current leadership. In the UK Conservative Party, for example, "a leadership election can be triggered by a vote of no confidence by Conservative MPs in their current leader".

List of elections in 1967

The following elections occurred in 1967.

Dutch general election, 1967

Icelandic parliamentary election, 1967

Liberian general election, 1967

Mauritian general election, 1967

Nicaraguan general election, 1967

Norwegian local elections, 1967

Philippine Senate election, 1967

Salvadoran presidential election, 1967

Sierra Leonean general election, 1967

Swazi parliamentary election, 1967

Liberal, Social Democrat and Liberal Democrat leadership elections
Liberal Democrats

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