LAST week’s Page in History featured The Northern Echo’s front page as the results of the 1950 General Election were coming in.

“Labour makes strong start” was the headline of the edition printed at 2.30am, although when all the results were in, Labour had faded badly.

Clement Attlee was still Prime Minister, but his 146 majority had been reduced to just five by Winston Churchill’s resurgent Conservatives.

“For an anorak like me, the 1950 election results were like King Tut’s grave – fascinating,” says David Walsh in east Cleveland.

He draws our attention to the result from Bexley, in Kent, where the Conservative candidate had polled 25,851 votes, and so was 133 votes ahead of the Labour candidate on 25,721.

“It would seem that the intervention of Mr Charlie Job, a Communist candidate who got 481 votes, gifted the seat to a Tory taking it away from Labour,” says David.

And who was the Conservative winner? One “E Heath”, winning his first seat in Parliament.

So this one line on the front page of the 1950 paper has profound implications for us today: if Communist Charlie hadn’t stood, Edward Heath would not have been elected and so may not have become Prime Minister and taken us into the EEC which we are now struggling to leave.

The Northern Echo:

George Chetwynd, MP for Stockton from 1945 to 1962, who lived in a house in Darlington

SUSAN BAILEY’S eye was drawn to the Stockton-on-Tees result where Captain George Chetwynd had held the seat for Labour – he had won it in 1945 by defeated Harold Macmillan.

“The Chetwynd family rented my father’s house in Aysgarth Road, Darlington, when he was MP in the 1950s,” says Susan. “His daughter, Paddy, would have been about ten and she played with my cousins. I can remember visiting the Houses of Parliament when I was about 11 and being shown around by Mr Chetwynd and having tea there.”

Mr Chetwynd was an ardent pro-European who championed a law banning the sale of toy weapons. He finished as Stockton MP in 1962 and became chair of the North-East Development Council, and frequently railed at how the region gained fewer grants than other regions. He was knighted a few years before he died in 1982.