1972 Labour Party deputy leadership election
← 1971 20–25 April 1972 (1972-04-20 – 1972-04-25) 1976 →
Michael Foot (1981).jpg
Candidate Edward Short Michael Foot Anthony Crosland
First ballot 111 (42.5%) 89 (34.1%) 61 (23.4%)
Second ballot 145 (55.6%) 116 (44.4%) Eliminated

Deputy Leader before election

Roy Jenkins

Elected Deputy Leader

Edward Short

The 1972 Labour Party deputy leadership election took place in April 1972 after Roy Jenkins resigned as deputy leader over the decision to hold a referendum on Britain's entry into the Common Market.[1]

Edward Short, formerly Education Secretary in the government of Harold Wilson, was regarded as a "unity" candidate,[2] and won the election over his main rival, the left-winger Michael Foot, who had unsuccessfully stood for the deputy leadership in 1970 and 1971.



First ballot: 20 April 1972
Candidate Votes %
Edward Short 111 42.5
Michael Foot 89 34.1
Anthony Crosland 61 23.4
Second ballot required

As a result of the first round, Crosland was eliminated. The remaining two candidates would face each other in a second round. The next day's The Glasgow Herald reported that both Short and Crosland attracted more votes than had been expected and that Short was the favourite to pick up most of Crosland's votes.[3]

Second ballot: 25 April 1972
Candidate Votes %
Edward Short 145 55.6
Michael Foot 116 44.4
Edward Short elected

Reporting on the result, The Glasgow Herald's political correspondent John Warden stated that Short was "reckoned to be the least divisive of the three candidates for the post". The same report noted that Short called for "unity and toleration in the Labour Party" in the wake of his victory.[4] An editorial in the same newspaper argued the result was a foregone conclusion after the first ballot, but warned that be settling for a compromise candidate "Labour may not have solved their difficulties".[5]


  1. ^ "How Labour can learn from Roy Jenkins". The Guardian, 4 January 2013. Accessed 26 October 2014
  2. ^ Obituary: Lord Glenamara, The Daily Telegraph, 11 May 2012. Accessed 26 October 2014
  3. ^ Warden, John (21 April 1972). "Short leads by one vote in first ballot". The Glasgow Herald. p. 1. Retrieved 18 March 2021.
  4. ^ Warden, John (26 April 1972). "Unity call as Short wins by 29 votes". The Glasgow Herald. p. 1. Retrieved 17 March 2021.
  5. ^ "Compromise?". The Glasgow Herald. 26 April 1972. p. 10. Retrieved 17 March 2021.