1832 United Kingdom general election

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1832 United Kingdom general election
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg
  1831 8 December 1832 – 8 January 1833 (1832-12-08 1833-01-08) 1835  

All 658 seats in the House of Commons
330 seats needed for a majority
 First partySecond partyThird party
  Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey after Sir Thomas Lawrence copy.jpg Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington by John Jackson cropped.jpg Portrait gallery of eminent men and women of Europe and America - embracing history, statesmanship, naval and military life, philosophy, the drama, science, literature and art, with biographies (1873) (14587944860).jpg
Leader Earl Grey Duke of Wellington Daniel O'Connell
Party Whig Tory Irish Repeal
Leader since22 November 183022 January 18281830
Leader's seat House of Lords House of Lords Dublin City
Seats won44117542
Seat changeIncrease2.svg71Decrease2.svg60Increase2.svg42
Popular vote554,719241,28431,773
Percentage67.0%29.2%3.8%

United Kingdom general election 1832.svg
Colours denote the winning party

Prime Minister before election

Earl Grey
Whig

Prime Minister after election

Earl Grey
Whig

The 1832 United Kingdom general election, the first after the Reform Act, saw the Whigs win a large majority, with the Tories winning less than 30% of the vote.

Contents

Political situation

The Earl Grey had been Prime Minister since November 1830. He headed the first predominantly Whig administration since the Ministry of All the Talents in 1806–07.

In addition to the Whigs themselves, Grey was supported by Radical and other allied politicians. The Whigs and their allies were gradually coming to be referred to as liberals, but no formal Liberal Party had been established at the time of this election, so all the politicians supporting the ministry are referred to as Whig in the above results.

The Leader of the House of Commons since 1830 was Viscount Althorp (heir of the Earl Spencer), who also served as Chancellor of the Exchequer.

The last Tory prime minister, at the time of this election, was the Duke of Wellington. After leaving government office, Wellington continued to lead the Tory peers and was the overall Leader of the Opposition.

The Tory Leader of the Opposition in the House of Commons was Sir Robert Peel, Bt.

John Wilson Croker had used the term "conservative" in 1830, but the Tories at the time of this election had not yet become generally known as the Conservative Party. This distinction would finally take hold after the Liberal Party was officially created.

In Irish politics, Daniel O'Connell was continuing his campaign for repeal of the Act of Union. He had founded the Irish Repeal Association and it presented candidates independent of the two principal parties.

Dates of election

Following the passage of the Reform Act 1832 and related legislation to reform the electoral system and redistribute constituencies, the tenth United Kingdom Parliament was dissolved on 3 December 1832. The new Parliament was summoned to meet on 29 January 1833, for a maximum seven-year term from that date. The maximum term could be and normally was curtailed, by the monarch dissolving the Parliament, before its term expired.

At this period there was not one election day. After receiving a writ (a royal command) for the election to be held, the local returning officer fixed the election timetable for the particular constituency or constituencies he was concerned with. Polling in seats with contested elections could continue for many days.

The general election took place between December 1832 and January 1833. The first nomination was on 8 December, with the first contest on 10 December and the last contest on 8 January 1833. It was usual for polling in the university constituencies and in Orkney and Shetland to take place about a week after other seats. Disregarding contests in the Universities and Orkney and Shetland, the last poll was on 1 January 1833.

Summary of the constituencies

For the distribution of constituencies in the unreformed House of Commons, before this election, see the 1831 United Kingdom general election. Apart from the disenfranchisement of Grampound for corruption in 1821 and the transfer of its two seats as additional members for Yorkshire from 1826, there had been no change in the constituencies of England since the 1670s. In some cases the county and borough seats had remained unaltered since the 13th century. Welsh constituencies had been unchanged since the 16th century. Those in Scotland had remained the same since 1708 and in Ireland since 1801.

In 1832 politicians were facing an unfamiliar electoral map, as well as an electorate including those qualified under a new uniform householder franchise in the boroughs. However the reform legislation had not removed all the anomalies in the electoral system.

Table of largest and smallest electorates 1832–33, by country, type and number of seats

CountryTypeSeatsLargest
constituency
Largest
electorate
Smallest
constituency
Smallest
electorate
EnglandBorough1 Salford 1,497 Reigate 153
2 Westminster 11,576 Thetford 146
4 City of London 18,584
County1 Isle of Wight 1,167
2 West Riding of Yorkshire 18,056 Rutland 1,296
3 Cambridgeshire 6,435 Oxfordshire 4,721
University2 Oxford University 2,496 Cambridge University 2,319
WalesBorough1 Flint Boroughs 1,359 Brecon 242
County1 Pembrokeshire 3,700 Merionethshire 580
2 Carmarthenshire 3,887 Denbighshire 3,401
ScotlandBurgh1 Aberdeen 2,024 Wigtown Burghs 316
2 Glasgow 6,989 Edinburgh 6,048
County1 Perthshire 3,180 Sutherland 84
IrelandBorough1 Carrickfergus 1,024 Lisburn 91
2 Dublin 7,008 Waterford 1,241
County2 County Cork 3,835 County Kildare 1,112
University2 Dublin University 2,073

Monmouthshire (1 County constituency with 2 MPs and one single member Borough constituency) is included in Wales in these tables. Sources for this period may include the county in England.

Table 1: Constituencies and MPs, by type and country

CountryBCCCUCTotal CBMPCMPUMPTotal MPs
Flag of England.svg  England 1866822563221424468
Flag of Wales (1807-1953).svg  Wales 15130281517032
Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland 21300512330053
  Ireland 333216639642105
 Total25514334013992536658

Table 2: Number of seats per constituency, by type and country

CountryBCx1BCx2BCx4CCx1CCx2CCx3UCx2Total C
Flag of England.svg  England 52133116072256
Flag of Wales (1807-1953).svg  Wales 1500940028
Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland 19203000051
  Ireland 27600320166
 Total1131411409673401

Results

1832 UK parliament.svg
UK General Election 1832
PartyCandidatesVotes
StoodElectedGainedUnseatedNet % of total %No.Net %
  Whig 63644167.0267.01554,719
  Tory 35017526.6029.15241,284
  Irish Repeal 51426.383.8431,773
PartyCandidatesUnopposedSeats
Whig 636109441
Tory 35066175
Irish Repeal 511442
Total1,037189658

Voting summary

Popular vote
Whig
67.01%
Tory
29.15%
Irish Repeal
3.84%

Seats summary

Parliamentary seats
Whig
67.02%
Tory
26.6%
Irish Repeal
6.38%

Regional results

Great Britain

PartySeatsSeats changeVotes % % change
Whig 408525,70671.1
Tory 147213,25428.9
Total555738,960100
England
PartySeatsSeats changeVotes % % change
Whig 347474,54270.8
Tory 117193,44229.2
Total464667,984100
Scotland
PartySeatsSeats changeVotes % % change
Whig 4344,00379.0
Tory 109,75221.0
Total5353,755100
Wales
PartySeatsSeats changeVotes % % change
Whig 186,34846.6
Tory 147,46653.4
Total3213,814100

Ireland

PartySeatsSeats changeVotes % % change
Irish Repeal 4231,77334.6
Whig 3329,01333.3
Tory 2828,03032.1
Total10388,816100

Universities

PartySeatsSeats changeVotes % % change
Tory 62,59476.2
Whig 081323.8
Total63,407100

See also

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References