1708 British general election

Last updated

1708 British general election
Union flag 1606 (Kings Colors).svg
  1702 (Scotland only)
1705 (England only)
30 April – 7 July 1708 (1708-04-30 1708-07-07) 1710  

All 558 seats in the House of Commons
280 seats needed for a majority
 First partySecond party
  John Somers, Baron Somers by Sir Godfrey Kneller, Bt lowres color.jpg Sidney Godolphin, 1st Earl of Godolphin by Sir Godfrey Kneller, Bt (2).jpg
Leader Lord Somers Earl of Godolphin
Party Whig Tory
Leader sincec.1695c.1707
Seats won291222
Seat changeIncrease2.svg45Decrease2.svg45

The 1708 British general election was the first general election to be held after the Acts of Union had united the Parliaments of England and Scotland.

Contents

The election saw the Whigs finally gain a majority in the House of Commons, and by November the Whig-dominated parliament had succeeded in pressuring the Queen into accepting the Junto into the government for the first time since the late 1690s. The Whigs were unable to take full control of the government, however, owing to the continued presence of the moderate Tory Godolphin in the cabinet and the opposition of the Queen. Contests were held in 95 of the 269 English and Welsh constituencies and 28 of the 45 Scottish constituencies.

Summary of the constituencies

See 1796 British general election for details. The constituencies used were the same throughout the existence of the Parliament of Great Britain.

Dates of election

The first general election held since the Union took place between 30 April 1708 and 7 July 1708. At this period elections did not take place at the same time in every constituency. The returning officer in each county or borough fixed the precise date (see hustings for details of the conduct of the elections).

Results

The House of Commons following the 1708 General Election English Parliament of General Election 1708.svg
The House of Commons following the 1708 General Election

1708 British general election results.svg

Seats summary

Parliamentary seats
Whig
56.7%
Tory
43.3%

See also

Related Research Articles

Inverness Burghs was a district of burghs constituency of the House of Commons of the Parliament of Great Britain from 1708 to 1801 and of the Parliament of the United Kingdom from 1801 to 1918. It elected one Member of Parliament (MP).

Inverness-shire was a county constituency of the House of Commons of the Parliament of Great Britain from 1708 to 1801 and of the Parliament of the United Kingdom from 1801 until 1918.

Dunbartonshire was a county constituency of the House of Commons of Great Britain from 1708 to 1801 and of the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom from 1801 to 1950.

Dysart Burghs was a district of burghs constituency of the House of Commons of Great Britain from 1708 to 1801 and of the House of Commons of the United Kingdom from 1801 to 1832. It elected one Member of Parliament (MP).

Tain Burghs, was a constituency of the House of Commons of the Parliament of Great Britain from 1708 to 1801 and of the Parliament of the United Kingdom from 1801 to 1832, sometimes known as Northern Burghs. It was represented by one Member of Parliament (MP).

Kincardineshire was a constituency of the House of Commons of the Parliament of Great Britain from 1708 to 1801 and of the Parliament of the United Kingdom from 1801 to 1918. It was represented by one Member of Parliament (MP).

Kirkcudbright Stewartry, later known as Kirkcudbright or Kirkcudbrightshire, was a Scottish constituency of the House of Commons of the Parliament of Great Britain from 1708 to 1801 and of the Parliament of the United Kingdom from 1801 to 1918. It was represented by one Member of Parliament (MP).

Wigtownshire, was a Scottish constituency of the House of Commons of the Parliament of Great Britain from 1708 to 1801 and of the Parliament of the United Kingdom from 1801 to 1918. It was represented by one Member of Parliament.

Perth Burghs (UK Parliament constituency) Parliamentary constituency in the United Kingdom, 1801–1832

Perth Burghs was a district of burghs constituency of the House of Commons of the Parliament of Great Britain from 1708 to 1801 and of the Parliament of the United Kingdom from 1801 until 1832, representing a seat for one Member of Parliament (MP)

1727 British general election Election in Great Britain

The 1727 British general election returned members to serve in the House of Commons of the 7th Parliament of Great Britain to be summoned, after the merger of the Parliament of England and the Parliament of Scotland in 1707. The election was triggered by the death of King George I; at the time, it was the convention to hold new elections following the succession of a new monarch. The Tories, led in the House of Commons by William Wyndham, and under the direction of Bolingbroke, who had returned to the country in 1723 after being pardoned for his role in the Jacobite rising of 1715, lost further ground to the Whigs, rendering them ineffectual and largely irrelevant to practical politics. A group known as the Patriot Whigs, led by William Pulteney, who were disenchanted with Walpole's government and believed he was betraying Whig principles, had been formed prior to the election. Bolingbroke and Pulteney had not expected the next election to occur until 1729, and were consequently caught unprepared and failed to make any gains against the government party.

1722 British general election Election in Great Britain

The 1722 British general election elected members to serve in the House of Commons of the 6th Parliament of Great Britain. This was the fifth such election since the merger of the Parliament of England and the Parliament of Scotland in 1707. Thanks to the Septennial Act of 1715, which swept away the maximum three-year life of a parliament created by the Meeting of Parliament Act 1694, it followed some seven years after the previous election, that of 1715.

The 1715 British general election returned members to serve in the House of Commons of the 5th Parliament of Great Britain to be held, after the 1707 merger of the Parliament of England and the Parliament of Scotland. In October 1714, soon after George I had arrived in London after ascending to the throne, he dismissed the Tory cabinet and replaced it with one almost entirely composed of Whigs, as they were responsible for securing his succession. The election of 1715 saw the Whigs win an overwhelming majority in the House of Commons, and afterwards virtually all Tories in central or local government were purged, leading to a period of Whig ascendancy lasting almost fifty years during which Tories were almost entirely excluded from office. The Whigs then moved to impeach Robert Harley, the former Tory first minister. After he was imprisoned in the Tower of London for two years, the case ultimately ended with his acquittal in 1717.

1713 British general election Election in Great Britain

The 1713 British general election produced further gains for the governing Tory party. Since 1710 Robert Harley had led a government appointed after the downfall of the Whig Junto, attempting to pursue a moderate and non-controversial policy, but had increasingly struggled to deal with the extreme Tory backbenchers who were frustrated by the lack of support for anti-dissenter legislation. The government remained popular with the electorate, however, having helped to end the War of the Spanish Succession and agreeing on the Treaty of Utrecht. The Tories consequently made further gains against the Whigs, making Harley's job even more difficult. Contests were held in 94 constituencies in England and Wales, some 35 per cent of the total, reflecting a decline in partisan tension and the Whigs' belief that they were unlikely to win anyway.

1710 British general election Election in Great Britain

The 1710 British general election produced a landslide victory for the Tories. The election came in the wake of the prosecution of Henry Sacheverell, which had led to the collapse of the previous government led by Godolphin and the Whig Junto.

1705 English general election

The 1705 English general election saw contests in 110 constituencies in England and Wales, roughly 41% of the total. The election was fiercely fought, with mob violence and cries of "Church in Danger" occurring in several boroughs. During the previous session of Parliament the Tories had become increasingly unpopular, and their position was therefore somewhat weakened by the election, particularly by the Tackers controversy. Due to the uncertain loyalty of a group of 'moderate' Tories led by Robert Harley, the parties were roughly balanced in the House of Commons following the election, encouraging the Whigs to demand a greater share in the government led by Marlborough

1702 English general election

The 1702 English general election was the first to be held during the reign of Queen Anne, and was necessitated by the demise of William III. The new government dominated by the Tories gained ground in the election, with the Tory party winning a substantial majority over the Whigs, owing to the popularity of the new monarch and a burst of patriotism following the coronation. Despite this, the government found the new Parliament difficult to manage, as its leading figures Godolphin and Marlborough were not sympathetic to the more extreme Tories. Contests occurred in 89 constituencies in England and Wales.

January 1701 English general election

After the downfall of the Whig Junto during the previous Parliament, King William III had appointed a largely Tory government, which was able to gain ground at the election, exploiting the decline in Whig popularity follow the end of hostilities with France. During the election, the rival East India Companies attempted to secure the election of MPs sympathetic with their interests by interfering in the electoral process to some extent in at least 86 constituencies. Contests were held in 92 of the constituencies, just over a third of the total. The new Parliament lasted less than a year, and its proceedings were dominated by the attempt to confer the succession of the Crown on the House of Hanover.

After the conclusion of the 1698 English general election the government led by the Whig Junto believed it had held its ground against the opposition. Over the previous few years, divisions had emerged within the Whig party between the 'court' supporters of the junto and the 'country' faction, who disliked the royal prerogative, were concerned about governmental corruption, and opposed a standing army. Some contests were therefore between candidates representing 'court' and 'country', rather than Whig and Tory. The Whigs made gains in the counties and in small boroughs, but not in the larger urban constituencies.

1695 English general election

The 1695 English general election was the first to be held under the terms of the Triennial Act of 1694, which required parliament to be dissolved and fresh elections called at least every three years. This measure helped to fuel partisan rivalry over the coming decades, with the electorate in a constant state of excitement and the Whigs and Tories continually trying to gain the upper hand. Despite the potential for manipulation of the electorate, as was seen under Robert Walpole and his successors, with general elections held an average of every other year, and local and central government positions frequently changing hands between parties, it was impossible for any party or government to be certain of electoral success in the period after 1694, and election results were consequently genuinely representative of the views of at least the section of the population able to vote.

1690 English general election

The 1690 English general election occurred after the dissolution of the Convention Parliament summoned in the aftermath of the Glorious Revolution, and saw the partisan feuds in that parliament continue in the constituencies. The Tories made significant gains against their opponents, particularly in the contested counties and boroughs, as the electorate saw the Whigs increasingly as a source of instability and a threat to the Church of England.

References