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.

Huyton Village shopping area,in Liverpool, Merseyside. Picture shows Lord Harold Wilson statue.
Harold Wilson was the MP for Huyon from the 1950 General Election, to 1983. 33 years.
He died in 1995.
Picture taken 10th July 2019

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.

Harrold Willson MP for Huyton at the home of Mr Arthur Parkinson and his wife Margaret Parkinson June 1962

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.

British Prime Minister Harold Wilson photo-call outside Number Ten Downing Street, London, Monday 28th August 1967. He plans to announce details of cabinet reshuffle later today. Also pictured, wife Mary Wilson.

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.

Harold Wilson (a future Prime Minister) canvassing for votes in Huyton Liverpool where he is the Labour Candidate 1955

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.

Prime Mister Harold Wilson toasting with the Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Mrs Ethel Wormald, at last nights Lancashire and Cheshire Signal Regiments Annual Ball. Held at Alamein Barracks, Liverpool Road, Huyton.
27th October 1967

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.

Mike Yarwood with Harold Wilson. 22nd January 1977.

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.

Harold Wilson (1916-1995) announces his resignation as Prime Minister during a press conference at the Ministry of Defence in London. He had told his cabinet colleagues earlier in the day of his intention to step down.16th March 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.