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The South Ayrshire by-election of 19 March 1970 was held after the death of Labour Member of Parliament (MP) Emrys Hughes on 18 October 1969. The seat was retained by the Labour Party.

In what was a fairly common occurrence at the time the Scottish Liberal Party did not run a candidate for the by-election. However, in this case the move had been in part instigated by former party leader Jo Grimond who had privately mooted the idea of an electoral pact with the Scottish National Party. Whilst Grimond's idea was rejected by the Scottish Liberal Party as they opposed Scottish independence they did nonetheless agree to give the SNP a free run in this instance.[1]


South Ayrshire, 1970[2]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour Jim Sillars 20,664 52.68 -14.57
Conservative Christopher Graves 9,778 24.93 -7.82
SNP Sam Purdie 7,785 19.85 N/A
Majority 10,886 27.75 -6.75
Turnout 39,227
Labour hold Swing


  1. ^ Michael McManus, Jo Grimond: Towards the Sound of Gunfire, Edinburgh, 2001, p. 308
  2. ^ "1969 By Election Results". Archived from the original on 14 March 2012. Retrieved 27 August 2015.