Alternate History

Finchley by-election, 1984 (Successful Brighton Bombing)

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Finchley by-election, 1984
1984 ←                             December 13 1984                             → 1988
The Finchley seat in the House of Commons
Turnout 88.2%
Candidate Judith Warner Karen Buck Kenneth Hunter
Party Conservative Labour SDP/Liberal Alliance
Popular vote 24,622 13,162 7,893
Percentage 52 28 16
Map of the Finchley constituency within the English county of Greater London (boundaries used 1983-1997)
Incumbent MP

Margaret Thatcher

Subsequent MP

Judith Warner

The Finchley by-election of 1984 was a parliamentary by-election in the Finchley constituency in Greater London. Judith Warner of the Conservative Party won with a 24.5% majority.


The Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher had been assassinated on October 13 in a event later known as the "Brighton Hotel Bombing". After her state funeral on October 27, the writ was officially moved for a by-election on December 13, held simultaneously with a by-election in Enfield Southgate.


The Conservatives nominated Judith Warner, a local councillor for the area. Labour and the SDP/Liberal Alliance also nominated local people, Karen Buck and Kenneth Hunter, who had stood in local elections two years earlier. Other candidates were Stanley Jones of the Ecology Party, frequent perennial candidate and Pop singer David Sutch who stood for his joke Monster Raving Loony Party, Independents James Hopkins (who had contested the neighbouring Chipping Barnet constituency) and Leonard Hall, and Christina Ott who stood for the Communists.


Because the seat had been held by Margaret Thatcher, the by-election received a large amount of media coverage. It is notable in that it has the biggest recorded increase in turnout in a by-election and the sixth highest turnout overall.

Finchley by-election, 1984
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Judith Warner 24,622 52 +0.9
Labour Karen Buck 13,161 28 +1.2
SDP/Liberal Alliance Kenneth Hunter 7,891 16 -4.2
Ecology Stanley Jones 821 1 -0.3
Monster Raving Loony David Sutch 102 0.1 -0.5
Independent James Hopkins 49 0.0 NA
Independent Labour Leonard Hall 21 0.0 NA
Communist Christina Ott 8 0.0 NA
Majority 11,461 24.5 +0.3
Turnout 46,671 88.2 +19.2
Conservative hold Swing +1.5 From Lab to Con

Share of the vote

Opinion Polling

Date conductedPolling organisation/Election ConLabLib/SDPOthers Lead
Dec 13 1984Finchley by-election, 198452%28%16%4%24%
Dec 2 1984Marplan/Sunday Mirror49%27%23%1%22%
Nov 18 1984MORI/Sunday Times44%28%26%2%11%
Jun 9 19831983 General Election: Finchley51%26%20%3%25%

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