At by-elections the Conservative vote almost always collapsed; but at the following general election it almost always recovered. The Tayside seat of Kincardine and Deeside provides a striking example. It had been Conservative since 1923, but in 1987 the Liberals, building on local election successes and their strength elsewhere in Grampian, had come within 2,063 votes (4.3 per cent) of winning. In the November 1991 by-

election caused by the death of its long-standing MP, Alick Buchanan Smith, the Liberal Democrats, fielding an experienced local candidate, comfortably gained the seat with an 18.4 per cent majority on a high turnout. Yet at the general election only five months later, the Conservatives regained the seat with a larger majority (8.6 per cent) than in 1987. The by-election had left not a trace.