1847 United Kingdom general election

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1847 United Kingdom general election
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg
  1841 29 July – 26 August 1847 (1847-07-29 1847-08-26) 1852  

All 656 seats in the House of Commons
329 seats needed for a majority
 First partySecond partyThird party
  Frederick Richard Say (1805-1868) - Edward Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby - NPG 1806 - National Portrait Gallery.jpg John Russell, 1st Earl Russell by Sir Francis Grant detail.jpg No image.svg
Leader Lord Stanley Lord John Russell John O'Connell
Party Conservative Whig Irish Repeal
Leader sinceJuly 1846October 184215 May 1847
Leader's seat House of Lords City of London Limerick City
Last election367 seats, 51.6%271 seats, 46.2%20 seats, 1.9%
Seats won325 [1] 29236
Seat changeDecrease2.svg42Increase2.svg21Increase2.svg16
Popular vote205,481259,31114,128
Percentage42.6% [n 1] 53.8% [n 1] 2.9%

Prime Minister before election

Lord John Russell

Prime Minister after election

Lord John Russell

The 1847 United Kingdom general election was conducted between 29 July 1847 and 26 August 1847 and resulted in the Whigs in control of government despite candidates calling themselves Conservatives winning the most seats. The Conservatives were divided between Protectionists, led by Lord Stanley, and a minority of free-trade Tories, known also as the Peelites for their leader, former prime minister Sir Robert Peel. This left the Whigs, led by Prime Minister Lord John Russell, in a position to continue in government.


The Irish Repeal group won more seats than in the previous general election, while the Chartists gained the only seat they were ever to hold, Nottingham's second seat, held by Chartist leader Feargus O'Connor.

The election also witnessed the election of Britain's first Jewish MP, the Liberal Lionel de Rothschild in the City of London. Members being sworn in were however required to swear the Christian Oath of Allegiance, meaning Rothschild was unable actually to take his seat until the passage of the Jews Relief Act in 1858. The constituency of Sudbury (UK Parliament constituency), which elected two members, was disfranchised for this election. This accounts for the fact that there were two fewer seats in the House of Commons as compared to the previous election, though no redistribution took place.


1847 UK parliament.svg
UK General Election 1847
PartySeatsGainsLossesNet gain/lossSeats %Votes %Votes+/−
  Whig 292+2144.5153.75259,311+6.9
  Conservative 3254249.5442.59205,4818.2
  Irish Repeal 36+165.492.9314,128+1.0
  Chartist 1 1 0+10.150.592,8480
  Irish Confederation 220+20.300.14661N/A

Voting summary

Popular vote
Irish Repeal

Seats summary

Parliamentary seats
Irish Repeal

Regional results

Great Britain

PartyCandidatesUnopposedSeatsSeats changeVotes % % change
Conservative & Liberal Conservatives 373180285194,22343.1
Whig 360125267253,37656.2
Chartist 901+12,8480.6
PartyCandidatesUnopposedSeatsSeats changeVotes % % change
Conservative & Liberal Conservatives 319149239170,40742.1
Whig 29792222230,65657.2
Chartist 901+12,8480.7
PartyCandidatesUnopposedSeatsSeats changeVotes % % change
Whig 482133+220,09281.7+20.9
Conservative & Liberal Conservatives 23162023,50918.320.0
PartyCandidatesUnopposedSeatsSeats changeVotes % % change
Conservative & Liberal Conservatives 22152011,11489.5
Whig 1312121,39410.5


PartyCandidatesUnopposedSeatsSeats changeVotes % % change
Conservative 382429110,29431.06.1
Peelite 119119643.0
Irish Repeal 51183614,12843.6
Whig 3311255,93520.2
Irish Confederate 3026292.0
independent politician 1 00320.2


PartyCandidatesUnopposedSeatsSeats changeVotes % % change
Conservative & Liberal Conservatives 906Equals-sign-blue.gif9,19388.2
Whig 200Equals-sign-blue.gif1,23411.8


  1. 1 2 Several country and university seats held by Conservatives were uncontested, and many urban multi-member constituencies that tended to vote Liberal had multiple candidates, so this is an misleading figure. Therefore, national swing is not applicable to elections in this era.

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  1. Including Peelites.
  2. Conservative totals include Liberal Conservatives.

Further reading