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1999 Kensington and Chelsea by-election

The Member of Parliament for Kensington and Chelsea, Alan Clark (Conservative), died of a brain tumour on 5 September 1999.

Kensington and Chelsea by-election

← 1997 25 November 1999 2001 →
  Michael Portillo by Regents College cropped.jpg No image.svg No image.svg
Candidate Michael Portillo Robert Atkinson Robert Woodthorpe Browne
Party Conservative Labour Liberal Democrat
Popular vote 11,004 4,298 1,831
Percentage 56.4% 22.0% 9.4%

MP before election

Alan Clark

Subsequent MP

Michael Portillo

This was the first safe Conservative seat to have a by-election in the 1997–2001 UK Parliament. There was immediate speculation that Michael Portillo, the most high-profile casualty of the 1997 general election, would use it to return to frontline politics. Portillo immediately confirmed his interest in the seat, but was then confronted with the publication of an interview he had given previously that summer in which he had confirmed that while at Peterhouse, Cambridge he had had homosexual affairs.

Portillo was selected as Conservative candidate but faced demonstrations organised by gay rights group OutRage! and its principal campaigner Peter Tatchell who protested against his vote for an unequal age of consent for gay and straight sex, and support for the ban on homosexuality in the UK armed forces while Secretary of State for Defence. Tatchell continued to try to confront Portillo throughout the election, not assuaged by Portillo saying that he had changed his mind on the age of consent.

The Labour Party selected Robert Atkinson, who had fought the 1997 election and was a local councillor. The Liberal Democrats also renominated their general election candidate, Robert Woodthorpe Browne. Because of the prominence of the byelection in central London and the big political name, there were a wide variety of fringe and minor party candidates. Polling day was set for 25 November. Michael Portillo returned safely to Parliament.



1999 by-election: Kensington and Chelsea[1]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Michael Portillo 11,004 56.4 +2.8
Labour Robert Atkinson 4,298 22.0 -5.9
Liberal Democrat Robert Woodthorpe Browne 1,831 9.4 -5.9
Pro-Euro Conservative John Stevens 740 3.8
UKIP Damian Hockney 450 2.3 +0.9
Green Hugo Charlton 446 2.3
Democratic Party The Earl of Burford 182 0.9
Legalise Cannabis Colin Paisley 141 0.7
Independent Michael Irwin 97 0.5
UK Pensioners Party Paul Oliver 75 0.4 -0.1
Referendum Stephen Scott-Fawcett 57 0.3
Independent Louise Hodges 48 0.3
Natural Law Gerard 'Ged' Valente 35 0.2 0.1
People's Net Dream Ticket Party Lisa Lovebucket 26 0.1
Environmentalist John Davies 24 0.1
Equal Parenting Party Peter May 24 0.1
Monster Raving Loony Howling Laud Hope 20 0.1
Independent Tonysamuelsondotcom 15 0.1
Majority 6,706 34.4 +8.7
Turnout 29.7
Conservative hold Swing

General Election result, 1997Edit

General election 1997: Kensington and Chelsea
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Alan Clark 19,887 53.6 -14.6
Labour Robert Atkinson 10,368 27.9 +11.3
Liberal Democrat Robert Woodthorpe Browne 5,668 15.3 +2.1
Teddy Bear Alliance Edward Bear 218 0.6
United Kingdom Pensioners Party Paul Oliver 176 0.5
Natural Law Susan Hamza 122 0.3
Rainbow Dream Ticket Paul Sullivan 65 0.2
Independent Pete Parliament 44 0.1
Majority 9,519 25.7
Turnout 54.7
Conservative hold Swing

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Boothroyd, David. "Results of Byelections in the 1997-2002 Parliament". United Kingdom Election Results. Retrieved 5 October 2015.

External linksEdit