Opposition parties always had a tough time of it in the Labour stronghold of Huyton.
Conservatives and Liberals were little more than also-rans in the parliamentary constituency created in 1950 and dissolved in 1983.
Even Screaming Lord Sutch, the future founder of the Monster Raving Loony Party, tried his luck in 1966!
But, like so many other candidates in Huyton’s short history, he failed to make any kind of impact.
For Huyton elected only one MP in three decades – Labour leader and front-bencher Harold Wilson.
The former British prime minister won every one of the ten elections contested for the seat, with majorities ranging from 834 in 1950 to a whopping 21,074 in 1970.
The Huyton constituency was originally formed from the north part of the former Widnes seat. It included elements of Huyton-with-Roby and Prescot, as well as Eccleston, Kirby, Knowsley and Windle.
In the 1950s, the area was more suburban than today with relatively low unemployment. Cheaper homes were built through the 1970s to help ease Liverpool’s housing shortage.
The M57 motorway, crossing the new constituency, and M62 were completed in 1974.
Back in 1950, the stage was set for Labour’s new high flyer Harold Wilson to battle for the newly created Huyton seat. He’d represented Ormskirk, its boundaries also redrawn, since 1945.
Wilson, a brilliant academic, had already reached dizzy heights in politics. In 1947, he became the youngest member of a British Cabinet in the 20th century when he was appointed President of the Board of Trade. He was just 31.
The general election of February 1950, however, was a tight affair. Wilson faced a strong Conservative candidate in Sydney Smart and only scraped home by 834 votes. He polled 21,536 votes to Smart’s 20,702.
The next election came 20 months later in October 1951. The ruling Labour party, with a majority of five seats, called a snap poll hoping to strengthen their position.
The gamble backfired. The Conservatives under Winston Churchill swept back into power by a margin of 23 seats and Labour were consigned to 13 years in opposition.
Wilson increased his majority to 1,193 over Conservative challenger Francis Leslie Neep. He defeated Tory Geraint Morgan by 2,558 votes in the 1955 general election and was made Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer by Labour leader Hugh Gaitskell.
A three-way leadership election followed Gaitskell’s death in January 1963, with Wilson pitted against George Brown and James Callaghan. Wilson prevailed and then made one of his most famous speeches to the Labour conference.
He promised that Britain would be forged in the ‘white heat’ of technical revolution and there would be no place for restrictive practices or outdated measures on either side of industry.
The 1964 general election saw Labour win with a narrow majority of four seats. Wilson himself became the youngest Prime Minister since Lord Roseberry seven decades earlier.
With the government’s majority reduced to a single seat, Wilson called another general election in March 1966. Labour defeated the Tories, now led by Edward Heath, by 96 seats.
Back in Huyton, Wilson polled 41,222 votes compared to Tory Thomas Lyrian Hobday’s 20,182. Lord Sutch, standing for the National Teenage Party, secured 585 votes.
After losing the 1970 general election to Heath, Wilson was back in office as Prime Minister from 1974 until his resignation as leader on April 5th 1976.
He stood once more for election in Huyton in 1979, winning the seat with a majority of 7,510 over his Conservative challenger Garnet Harrison.
Four years later, the Huyton seat was no more. The constituency was largely replaced by Knowsley South in the 1983 boundary changes.
Wilson retired from Parliament too at the age of 67. A great partnership had come to an end.
*Hundreds of pictures from an unforgettable decade are packed into Clive Hardy’s fascinating book Around Merseyside in the 1960s. It’s available at £9.99 plus postage and packaging.
Just go to inostalgia.co.uk to place your order or ring the hotline on 01928 503777.