The 1963 Labour Party leadership election was held following the death of Hugh Gaitskell, party leader since 1955. He died on 18 January 1963 and was succeeded (on a temporary basis) by deputy leader George Brown.
In 1963 the Labour leader was elected by the Parliamentary Labour Party (the members of the House of Commons in receipt of the Labour whip). To be elected the winning candidate required more than half the votes. If no candidate was elected in a ballot then the last placed candidate was eliminated and a new ballot held contested by the continuing candidates. This process, known as the exhaustive ballot, was repeated until a candidate was elected.
Three candidates were nominated.
An overall majority was required for election. The results of the ballots of Labour MPs were as follows:
|First ballot: 7 February 1963|
|Second ballot required|
As a result of the first ballot, Callaghan was eliminated. The remaining two candidates would face each other in a second ballot, seven days later.
|Second ballot: 14 February 1963|
|Harold Wilson elected|
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