LIKE the rest of the country, Warrington will be going to the polls next month.

A snap election was called by Rishi Sunak in May with the General Election taking place on July 4.

But all eyes were on the town more than 40 years ago when Warrington’s place in political history was sealed as last century’s most famous by-election took place in the town.

And this week in Looking Back, the Warrington Guardian looks back on the vote.

The eventual winner of the seat Doug Hoyle – who became Lord Hoyle – recalled that former foreign secretary Margaret Beckett had been short-listed to stand as a Labour Party candidate for the Warrington North seat back in 1981.

But she lost out to Mr Hoyle, who sadly died earlier this year.

Warrington Guardian:

Lord Hoyle told the Warrington Guardian in 2010: “She was involved in the campaign and had indeed been short-listed as a candidate for the seat but I was fortunate to get the call. I think Warrington would have benefited from either of us.”

The election made national and international headlines when Roy Jenkins, a former Labour chancellor, stood as a candidate for the newly formed Social Democrat Party, which eventually paved the way for the creation of the Liberal Democrat party.

After a closely fought battle, Labour held on to the seat with a majority of less than 2,000.

The campaign saw some of the biggest political heavyweights in the country visit the town from Harold Wilson to David Owen and Geoffrey Howe to David Steele.

There has never been another campaign like it in Warrington North which has now become a safe Labour seat. Although the Conservatives nearly sprung a huge surprise at the last General Election in 2019.

Lord Hoyle, who was MP for the constituency until he stepped down in 1997, added: “We weren’t only talking about Warrington nationally but internationally as well.

“The election brought me to Warrington and I must say, it was the finest thing to ever happen as it enabled me to come to the town and be part of a community which was growing and transforming.

“I am very proud to have been part of that change and something so historic.

“That by-election was the most famous of the last century.”