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BBC News Vote 2001 Vote2001 | Audio Video 
Election Battles 1945-1997
Intro 1945 1950 1951 1955 1959 1964
1966
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Feb
1974
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1979 1983 1987 1992 1997
1966: Wilson's Labour landslide
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Overview
Battlefield
Campaign
Personalities
Issues
Results
1966: George Brown
Wilson's deputy George Brown on his speaking tour

Watch and listen 1966
The election results, complete with swingometer
quicktime 56k real 56k
Ted Heath takes to the crowds
quicktime 56k real 56k
Jo Grimond campaigns for the Liberals
quicktime 56k real 56k
Harold Wilson takes on the hecklers in Birmingham
real 28k
Harold Wilson enters Downing Street
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What they spent
Conservatives
£350,000
Labour
£196,000

I hope no one is going to bring sterling into this election …sterling should be above politics
Harold Wilson

One of the most boring I have ever experienced
Labour minister Barbara Castle on 1966 election

A Labour collapse had seemed possible after the slender victory of 1964, but by the time the politicians hit the campaign trail in the spring of 1966 Gallup was giving Labour a double-figure poll lead.

But this campaign lacked the spark of the previous contest. Labour minister Barbara Castle later described it as "one of the most boring I have ever experienced".

Nevertheless George Brown, Wilson's deputy, took up his by now traditional national speaking tour in the hope of stirring up the voters.

The Conservatives had not had the chance to recover from their defeat and neither had their new leader been given enough time to bed in and win the public round.

But the party had begun a radical shake-up of its organisation in preparation for the election that everyone knew was coming and its campaign was much more professional as a result.

For the Liberals a second election in such a short space of time was a severe financial blow, but they soldiered on, offering the voters a non-socialist alternative to Labour.

For Wilson the campaign was simple. Labour had set out its stall in 1964 and now the party was asking for a mandate sufficient to enable Wilson to put his policies into practice.

The voters seemed willing to oblige despite Conservative warnings that backing Wilson would see Britain "vote now and pay later".