The Returning Officer: Portsmouth Sth IV

The Revolutionary Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist) stood here in both 1974 elections, recording their highest vote when A D Rifkin won 612 votes in the October contest.

In the 1983 general election and the 1984 by-election, Alan Evens stood as an Independent Liberal. In 1983, he finished ahead of the National Front and the suspiciously named D W Fry of the Traditional English Food Party. Evens was still standing in local elections in Central Southsea 24 years later. In 1987, Martyn “Docker” Hughes stood for the 657 Party – representing Portsmouth’s football hooligan crew. His speech at the count featured in a documentary, on which the researcher was Phil Woolas, later MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth.

This article first appeared in the 17 September 2014 issue of the New Statesman, Scotland: What Next?

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Cabinet audit: what does the appointment of Liam Fox as International Trade Secretary mean for policy?

The political and policy-based implications of the new Secretary of State for International Trade.

Only Nixon, it is said, could have gone to China. Only a politician with the impeccable Commie-bashing credentials of the 37th President had the political capital necessary to strike a deal with the People’s Republic of China.

Theresa May’s great hope is that only Liam Fox, the newly-installed Secretary of State for International Trade, has the Euro-bashing credentials to break the news to the Brexiteers that a deal between a post-Leave United Kingdom and China might be somewhat harder to negotiate than Vote Leave suggested.

The biggest item on the agenda: striking a deal that allows Britain to stay in the single market. Elsewhere, Fox should use his political capital with the Conservative right to wait longer to sign deals than a Remainer would have to, to avoid the United Kingdom being caught in a series of bad deals. 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. He usually writes about politics.