The 1964 General Election saw a victory for Harold Wilson’s Labour party who secured an overall majority in the House of Commons by 4 seats.
Tony Benn in his book ‘Last Time’ by authors Austin Mitchell and David Wienir, reflects on those early days and the precarious position the majority party had with such a small margin.
“There is an MP for Hartlepool, Ted Leadbetter. He was elected in 1964 and we’d been in power about a week when he wrote to me. He said, “I’m writing to complain about a telegraph pole that is outside the house of a constituent. I’ve decided to withdraw support from the government until the telegraph pole is removed.”
We had a majority of four. I wrote to him asking him to come and have a talk about it. He said, “I’m not coming to see you until the telegraph pole is removed.”
So i told the Chief Whip. Ted Leadbetter is a lovely guy, former headmaster, and i said to him, “If the government fell after we’d been out of office for thirteen years, and people asked why it fell, it wouldn’t go down too well that it was because Mr. Benn wouldn’t remove a telegraph pole from outside a house of a constituent.” That’s the sort of pressure there was.”