Sunday, December 03, 2017

Michael Meadowcroft's obituary of Bill Pitt

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Bill Pitt, who was Liberal MP for Croydon North-West between 1981 and 1983, died a couple of weeks ago at the age of 80.

He had fought the seat at three Seventies general elections, but 1981 was the dawn of the brief era of the Liberal-SDP Alliance.

So when the sitting Conservative member died it was widely expected that Pitt would step aside in favour of Shirley Williams.

But he insisted on fighting the by-election and won it.

As Michael Meadowcroft says in his Guardian obituary of Pitt:
Naturally the alliance made the most of Bill’s subsequent victory, claiming that if the alliance could win such an unprepossessing seat without a celebrity candidate such as Williams, it could win anywhere.
He also remembers Pitt's political career before his short spell in the limelight:
Bill was always a convivial and popular figure in the Liberal party, having joined in the 1960s after a few years in the Norwood Young Conservatives. He served on many party committees both regionally and nationally, and at one point edited the internal Liberal scandal sheet, Radical Bulletin. 
He polled creditably in Croydon North West in the two general elections of 1974 but lost his deposit at the 1979 contest. He did, however, more than double the Liberal vote in the 1981 Greater London council election covering the same area.

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