Election candidates 1945-2019: West Midlands region

The Liberal challenge was weak in the West Midland Region over the period 1945 to 1959 in common with most regions of Britain. The number of constituencies fought fluctuated wildly; 1945, 21; 1950, 31; 1951, 3; 1955, 4. The number of parliamentary constituencies in the region averaged just short of 60, a large proportion urban in character. Over 1951-55 only one Birmingham constituency was fought, virtually none in the adjoining Black Country conurbation. There was an encouraging increase in the number fought in 1959, 1964 and 1966. There were few by-elections locally over the immediate post-war decade, the Liberals always standing aside until Frank Owen fought Hereford in 1956. The record at by-elections improved dramatically from 1960 but occasional by-elections in the region went unfought until the 1970s. The front narrowed again in the General Election of 1970.

After a record showing in February 1974, the party fought every constituency in the region for the first time at the General Election in the following October. The front narrowed in 1979 when an electoral set back was anticipated after the Thorpe affair and the controversial Lib-Lab agreement of 1977-78. In 1983 and 1987 the Liberal Party and the SDP fought all the constituencies on a shared basis. Since the merger of 1988, the Liberal Democrats have contested virtually every constituency in the West Midland Region at by-elections and at the General Elections of 1992-2015. Exceptions were at West Bromwich West in 1997, where, by convention, the main parties did not nominate a candidate to oppose the Speaker and at Wyre Forest in 2001 and 2005, where the Liberal Democrats declined to oppose the Independent, Richard Taylor, who represented that constituency 2001-10 under the designation Health Concern, closely associating himself with the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary party and many of its policies in the Commons.

By prior agreement with the Green Party at the General Election of 2019, the Liberal Democrats did not nominate a candidate for the Cannock Chase constituency.

Lionel King