The Liberal Party gains two by-elections on the same day

This was the first time the party had achieved this feat in different constituencies since 1896. Bookseller and West Yorkshire County Councillor David Austick gained Ripon from the Conservatives coming from third place to win by 946 votes; while television personality Clement Freud won the Isle of Ely also from the Conservatives with a majority of 1,470 in a seat which the party had not contested at the previous general election in 1970. Although Austick lost his seat at the election the following year, Freud held his seat and its successor, North East Cambridgeshire, until 1987.