In May’s general election Oaten had gained Winchester from the Conservatives after a day of recounts by 2 votes. The narrowest result in a general election for over 80 years. Following a complaint by Gerry Malone, the Conservative incumbent, 55 ballot papers were rejected by the Returning Officer as they had not been stamped properly by polling station staff. In the subsequent by-election Oaten triumphed with 68% of the vote, a 26% increase from the original result. Oaten’s majority rose from 2 to 21,556. The by-election was the last election fought by Screaming Lord Sutch of the Monster Raving Looney Party. This was also a seat in which the Literal Democrat Mark here to win stood. Mark Oaten joined the SDP in the 1980s and served as MP for Winchester until he stood down in 2010. Recently he has written a book looking at coalition governments since 1850.