Texts, speeches, homilies
17 August 2017
Obituary: Kevin McNamara, 1934-2017
By Mike Craven
As UK City of Culture, Hull is currently in the national spotlight; as it was in 1966, when Kevin McNamara was the Labour candidate in a crucial by-election. The then prime minister, Harold Wilson, was running a Labour Government on a four-seat majority; when the constituents of Hull North went to the polls in January, the election brought the city some much-needed stardust.
Transport Minister Barbara Castle headlined with her promise of a Humber Bridge; the appearance of Richard Gott as an anti-Vietnam independent candidate brought support acts in the form of a dozen more cabinet ministers, so great were the fears that Gott would steal the seat.
In the event, McNamara, who has died aged 82, secured a fivefold increase in the Labour majority, the largest swing to a governing party since 1924. Gott lost his deposit, and Wilson felt able to call a general election in which he secured a majority just short of 100 seats.
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