1963 Dundee West by-election

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 fifty year-old David Bowman, a local engine driver who had contested the seat at 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 list 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 in the West Lothian by-election the previous year.[4]


Dundee West by-election, 1963[5][6]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Peter Doig 22,449 50.56 +0.92
Unionist Robert R. Taylor[7] 17,494 39.40 -8.87
SNP James C. Lees 3,285 7.40 New
Communist David P. Bowman 1,170 2.64 +0.55
Majority 4,955 11.16 +9.81
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 Western Perthshire by-election was now a closed book and predicted the Conservatives’ 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. ^ a b "Labour Party Choice for By-Election — Dundee City Treasurer". The Glasgow Herald. 23 September 1963. Retrieved 21 March 2016.
  2. ^ a b c "Communist 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 25 February 2012. Retrieved 17 August 2015.
  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.