All 558 seats in the House of Commons
280 seats needed for a majority
The 1710 British general election produced a landslide victory for the Tories in the wake of the prosecution of Henry Sacheverell and the collapse of the previous Whig government led by Godolphin and the Whig Junto. In November 1709 the clergyman Henry Sacheverell had delivered a sermon fiercely criticising the government's policy of toleration for Protestant dissenters and attacking the personal conduct of the ministers. The government had Sacheverell impeached, and he was narrowly found guilty but received only a light sentence, making the government appear weak and vindictive; the trial enraged a large section of the population, and riots in London led to attacks on dissenting places of worship and cries of "Church in Danger".
The government's unpopularity was further increased by its enthusiasm for the war with France, as peace talks with the French king Louis XIV had broken down over the government's insistence that the Bourbons hand over the Spanish throne to the Habsburgs. The Tories' policy of pursuing peace appealed to a country worn out by constant war. Queen Anne, disliking the Junto and sensing that the government could not survive long, gradually replaced it with a Tory ministry throughout the summer of 1710. The overwhelming Tory victory surprised few, and following the election most remaining Whigs resigned from office. The new government was led by the moderate Tory Robert Harley who was unpopular among the more partisan Tories, and his ministry faced increasing pressure from the extremists whose position in Parliament had been enormously strengthened by the result. Contests occurred in 131 constituencies in England and Wales, around half the total; the election was bitterly contested in almost all the counties and "open" boroughs, even when a poll was not held.
See 1796 British general election for details. The constituencies used were the same throughout the existence of the Parliament of Great Britain.
The general election was held between 2 October 1710 and 16 November 1710. At this period elections did not take place at the same time in every constituency. The returning officer in each county or parliamentary borough fixed the precise date (see hustings for details of the conduct of the elections).
The Tories were members of two political parties which existed sequentially in the Kingdom of England, the Kingdom of Great Britain and later the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from the 17th to the early 19th centuries. The first Tories emerged in 1678 in England, when they opposed the Whig-supported Exclusion Bill which set out to disinherit the heir presumptive James, Duke of York, who eventually became James II of England and VII of Scotland. This party ceased to exist as an organised political entity in the early 1760s, although it was used as a term of self-description by some political writers. A few decades later, a new Tory party would rise to establish a hold on government between 1783 and 1830, with William Pitt the Younger followed by Robert Jenkinson, 2nd Earl of Liverpool.
The 1830 United Kingdom general election was triggered by the death of King George IV and produced the first parliament of the reign of his successor, William IV. Fought in the aftermath of the Swing Riots, it saw electoral reform become a major election issue. Polling took place in July and August and the Tories won a plurality over the Whigs, but division among Tory MPs allowed Earl Grey to form an effective government and take the question of electoral reform to the country the following year.
The 2nd Parliament of Great Britain was the first British Parliament to actually be elected, as the 1st Parliament of Great Britain had been drawn from the former Parliament of England and Parliament of Scotland.
The 1761 British general election returned members to serve in the House of Commons of the 12th Parliament of Great Britain to be summoned, after the merger of the Parliament of England and the Parliament of Scotland in 1707. This was the first Parliament chosen after the accession to the throne of King George III. It was also the first election after George III had lifted the conventional proscription on the employment of Tories in government. The King prevented the Prime Minister, the Duke of Newcastle, from using public money to fund the election of Whig candidates, but Newcastle instead simply used his private fortune to ensure that his ministry gained a comfortable majority.
The 1734 British general election returned members to serve in the House of Commons of the 8th Parliament of Great Britain to be summoned, after the merger of the Parliament of England and the Parliament of Scotland in 1707. Robert Walpole's increasingly unpopular Whig government lost ground to the Tories and the opposition Whigs, but still had a secure majority in the House of Commons. The Patriot Whigs were joined in opposition by a group of Whig members led by Lord Cobham known as the Cobhamites, or 'Cobham's Cubs'
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.
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 merger of the Parliament of England and the Parliament of Scotland in 1707. 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 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.
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.
Elections in the Kingdom of Great Britain were principally general elections and by-elections to the House of Commons of Great Britain. General elections did not have fixed dates, as parliament was summoned and dissolved within the royal prerogative, although on the advice of the ministers of the Crown. The first such general election was that of 1708, and the last that of 1796.
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
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.
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.
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.
Robert Monckton was an English landowner and Whig politician who sat in the English and British House of Commons between 1695 and 1713. He took an active part supporting William of Orange in the Glorious Revolution, and was notable for his involvement in a number of exceptionally bitter and prolonged electoral disputes.
Sir John Conway, 2nd Baronet of Bodrhyddan Hall, Rhuddlan, Denbighshire was a British landowner and Tory politician who sat in the House of Commons between 1685 and 1721.
Thomas Pelham (c.1678–1759) was an English politician, a member of the Pelham family of Sussex. Returned on the family's electoral interest at Lewes in 1705, he provided a reliable Whig vote in the House of Commons, and a rather more sporadic attendance on the Board of Trade. Due to his neglect of the family electoral interest, he was nearly turned out in the 1734 election, and stood down in favor of his eldest son at the next election in 1741.
Sidney Wortley Montagu, of Wortley, Yorkshire and Walcot, Northamptonshire, was a British coal-owner and Whig politician who sat in the English and British House of Commons between 1679 and 1727. He was one of the leading coal owners in the North-East and a member of powerful coal cartels. Although he served in Parliament over a long period, his contributions there were limited.