North West Durham MP and former Chief Whip Hilary Armstrong tells how she has cherished childhood memories of helping her father Ernest Armstrong in his elections, but in one instance at least her memory is seriously at fault. Born in Sunderland in 1945, Hilary claims she remembers (at the age of nine) her father Ernest Armstrong being narrowly defeated “in the constituency she now represents.” [source: Times on Line]. A Labour man “narrowly defeated” in North West Durham – then a rock-solid Labour seat - in 1954/55? Not possible, my friends.
In the general election of 1955, Ernest WAS narrowly defeated, but not in North West Durham. It was in fact in Sunderland South (a Tory gain). Ernest was again defeated in Sunderland South in 1959, even more narrowly, but was finally elected as MP for North West Durham in 1964 with almost 70% of the votes cast. Daughter Hilary “inherited” her father’s parliamentary seat in 1987.