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Last Updated: Wednesday, 29 March 2006, 17:29 GMT 18:29 UK
Election replay 1966
Harold Wilson campaigning in 1966
Harold Wilson shows his common touch in Lancashire on polling day
On the fortieth anniversary of the 1966 general election BBC Parliament offers highlights of the election night broadcast.

The slim majority - of just five - that brought Harold Wilson to power in 1964 meant that he needed to return to the polls quickly to strengthen Labour's ability to govern.

Spring 1966 augured well for a Labour victory, as winning the crucial Hull North by election in January indicated the Party had recovered from its poor showing at the local elections of the previous year.

And the Conservatives appeared to be in some disarray, facing the prospect of a campaign under a new and untested leader.

Yet there was a sense that the Conservatives had found their answer to the avuncular Mr Wilson in Edward Heath, who was elected leader after the surprise resignation of Sir Alec Douglas-Home in July 1965.

The Liberals were set to find a campaign so soon after the 1964 ballot financially challenging and leader Jo Grimond failed to bolster his party's position by drawing Labour into a tactical pact.

Campaign ground

Labour offered a clear message, with a manifesto entitled 'Time for a Decision', they repeated their commitment to renationalising the steel industry and drawing closer to Europe, with National Plans for the economy, transport and the regions.

Mr Heath played on fears about joining the Common Market and focused his efforts on the domestic economy, which he described as "9-5-1", meaning a 9% rise in wages, a 5% rise in prices and a 1% increase in production.

The Liberals added their voice to Conservative pledges to reform the trade unions, as well as joining in the debate on Europe.

For the first time since 1955 the House of Commons continued to sit as the campaign progressed.

Coverage on election night was anchored by Cliff Michelmore, with the support of David Butler, Robert McKenzie and Robin Day and news bulletins read by Michael Aspel.

You can watch the full election night broadcast on BBC Parliament on Saturday 8 April from 0820 to 0000 BST.

Cliff Michelmore in the studio, Alan Wicker on the street



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