Dundee West by-election, 1963

The Dundee West by-election was held on 21 November 1963 due to the death of the incumbent Labour MP John Strachey. It was won by the Labour candidate, Peter Doig.


Dundee West had been held by the Labour Party since its creation in 1950. In 1959 the Unionist candidate Robert Taylor had reduced the Labour majority to just 714 votes, thereby coming close to a surprise victory.[1][2] The 43 year old Dr Taylor was selected again as the Unionist and National Liberal candidate. The Communist Party selected 50 year old David Bowman, a local engine driver who had contested the seat in the previous three elections.[2]

On 22 September 1963, local councillor Peter Doig was chosen ahead of five other people to be the Labour Party candidate. Doig, a bakery supervisor, was chairman of the Labour group on Dundee Town Council. He was also deputy chairman of the council and honorary city treasurer of Dundee.[1] The short leet of six had been drawn up from a field of at least ten candidates. This included three other Dundee-based aspirants, one of whom was Doig's fellow councillor Bailie James L. Stewart.[2][3]

The Scottish National Party selected James C. Lees and were reported to have high hopes of achieving a good result following their strong showing the West Lothian by-election the previous year.[4]


Dundee West by-election, 1963[5][6]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour Peter Muir Doig 22,449 50.56 +0.92
Unionist Dr. Robert R. Taylor[7] 17,494 39.40 -8.87
SNP Dr. James C. Lees 3,285 7.40 N/A
Communist David P. Bowman 1,170 2.64 +0.55
Majority 4,955
Turnout 44,398 71.6
Labour hold Swing

After his victory Doig declared that Sir Alec Douglas-Home's claim of a new chapter following his victory in the recent Kinross and West Perthshire by-election was now a closed book and predicted the Conservative's hopes of holding their seats at the forthcoming St Marylebone and Dumfries contests were in danger. He also called on Home to call a general election.[8]


  1. 1 2 "LABOUR PARTY CHOICE FOR BY-ELECTION - Dundee City Treasurer". The Glasgow Herald. 23 September 1963. Retrieved 21 March 2016.
  2. 1 2 3 "COMMMUNIST TO STAND AT DUNDEE - No Dearth of Candidates". The Glasgow Herald. 10 August 1963. Retrieved 23 March 2016.
  3. "10 LABOUR NOMINEES FOR WEST DUNDEE". The Glasgow Herald. 13 September 1963. Retrieved 23 March 2016.
  4. "QUIET WEEKEND FOR DR TAYLOR - But Opponents Open Fire on White Paper". The Glasgow Herald. 18 November 1963. Retrieved 21 March 2016.
  5. The Times, 22 Nov 1963
  6. "1963 By Election Results". Archived from the original on 2012-02-25. Retrieved 2015-08-17.
  7. and National Liberal
  8. "Labour Retain Seat at Dundee - TWO LOST DEPOSITS IN REDUCED POLL". The Glasgow Herald. 22 November 1963. Retrieved 23 March 2016.

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