As our pre-election coverage steps up a gear we look to past ballots

FMB breaks apolitical stance in 'vote Tory' call

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FMB breaks apolitical stance in ‘vote Tory’ call

Building’s 27 April 1979 issue came out before the fateful vote that would see the fall of Jim Callaghan’s Labour government and the ascendance of Europe’s first elected female leader, the right honourable MP for Finchley. The front of the news section led with “FMB breaks apolitical stance in ‘vote Tory’ call”. Another headline declared “Labour MPs differ over meaning of manifesto” (that can hardly have built faith in the incumbents), and there was a guide to “Who’s who in next week’s contest”, which listed candidates standing from the industry. These included architectural assistant and Liberal Party candidate Andrew Stunell (Stunell would finally be elected as a Liberal Democrat MP in the 1997 election and serve a stint as minister for Building Regulations, as well as writing a column for this magazine). The lead story describes how the Federation of Master Builders advised members to vote Tory as they would “offer the most hope to the industry”, while the Federation of Associations of Specialists and Subcontractors (FASS) backed Labour on the premise that: “The Conservatives are committed to cutting public expenditure and it is unlikely that construction work would be immune from the cuts.” How times change …