The earlier Dudley constituency, consisting of Dudley and Netherton, was more prominent a generation ago. Colonel George Wigg (later Lord Wigg), Prime Minister Harold Wilson's adviser on security matters and later a Minister of State, held the seat for many years until elevated to the peerage in 1968. At a famous by-election in March of that year, Don Williams (Conservative) won the seat with a swing of 20%. In 1970, however, the seat reverted to Labour with the election of Dr John Gilbert, who subsequently represented Dudley East from February 1974 until 1997. Gilbert served as a Minister of State under both James Callaghan and (as a peer) Tony Blair.