1859 United Kingdom general election

Last updated

1859 United Kingdom general election
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg
  1857 28 April – 18 May 1859 (1859-04-28 1859-05-18) 1865  

All 654 seats in the House of Commons
328 seats needed for a majority
 First partySecond party
  Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston.jpg Edward Smith-Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby (cropped).jpg
Leader Viscount Palmerston Earl of Derby
Party Liberal Conservative
Leader since6 February 1855July 1846
Leader's seat Tiverton House of Lords
Last election377 seats, 64.8%264 seats, 33.5%
Seats won356298
Seat changeDecrease2.svg21Increase2.svg34
Popular vote372,117193,232
Percentage65.8%34.2%
SwingIncrease2.svg1.0%Increase2.svg0.7%

1859 UK general election map.svg
Colours denote the winning party—as shown in § Results

Prime Minister before election

Earl of Derby
Conservative

Prime Minister after election

Viscount Palmerston
Whig

In the 1859 United Kingdom general election returned no party a majority of seats in the House of Commons. The Earl of Derby's Conservatives formed a minority government, but despite making overall gains, Derby's government was defeated in a confidence vote by an alliance of Palmerston's Whigs together with Peelites, Radicals and the Irish Brigade. Palmerston subsequently formed a new government from this alliance which is now considered to be the first Liberal Party administration.

Contents

There is no separate tally of votes or seats for the Peelites. They did not contest elections as an organised party but more as independent Free trade Conservatives with varying degrees of distance from the two main parties.

It was also the last general election entered by the Chartists, before their organisation was dissolved. As of 2022, this is the last election in which the Conservatives won the most seats in Wales, [1] as well as being the last election to date in which the Conservative Party took less than a third of the vote in England.

The election was the quietest and least competitive between 1832 and 1885, with most county elections being uncontested. The election also saw the lowest number of candidates between 1832 and 1885, with Tory gains potentially being the result of a lack of opposition as much as a change in public opinion. [2] According to A.J.P. Taylor:

the government which Palmerston organized in June 1859 was a coalition of a different kind : not a coalition of groups which looked back to the past, but a coalition which anticipated the future. Had it not been for Palmerston himself^too individual, too full of personality to be fitted into a party-pattem—it would have been the first Liberal government in our history. Everything that was important in it was Liberal—finance, administrative reform, its very composition : the first government with unmistakable middle-class Free Traders as members. [3]

Results

1859 UK parliament.svg
1859 United Kingdom general election
PartyCandidatesVotes
StoodElectedGainedUnseatedNet % of total %No.Net %
  Liberal 4653562154.4365.80372,1170.2
  Conservative 394298+3445.5734.17193,232+0.3
  Chartist 1000000.031510.1

Regional results

Great Britain

PartyCandidatesUnopposedSeatsSeats changeVotes % % change
Liberal 392157306314,70866.6
Conservative & Peelites 327160245157,97433.4
Chartist 1001510.0
Total720317551Equals-sign-blue.gif472,833100
England
PartyCandidatesUnopposedSeatsSeats changeVotes % % change
Liberal 330109251307,94967.1
Conservative & Peelite 286129209152,59132.9
Chartist 1001510.0
Total617238460Equals-sign-blue.gif460,691100
Scotland
PartyCandidatesUnopposedSeatsSeats changeVotes % % change
Liberal 4434405,17466.4
Conservative & Peelite 1711132,61633.6
Total614553Equals-sign-blue.gif7,790100
Wales
PartyCandidatesUnopposedSeatsSeats changeVotes % % change
Conservative & Peelite 1814172,76763.6
Liberal 1814151,58536.4
Total362832Equals-sign-blue.gif4,352100

Ireland

PartyCandidatesUnopposedSeatsSeats changeVotes % % change
Conservative & Peelite 67365335,25838.9
Liberal 73265057,40961.1
Total1406210392,667100

Universities

PartyCandidatesUnopposedSeatsSeats changeVotes % % change
Conservative & Peelite 666
Total666Equals-sign-blue.gif100

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Liberal Party (UK)</span> Major political party in the United Kingdom from 1859 to 1988

The Liberal Party was one of the two major political parties in the United Kingdom, along with the Conservative Party, in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Beginning as an alliance of Whigs, free trade–supporting Peelites and reformist Radicals in the 1850s, by the end of the 19th century it had formed four governments under William Gladstone. Despite being divided over the issue of Irish Home Rule, the party returned to government in 1905 and won a landslide victory in the 1906 general election.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">1983 United Kingdom general election</span>

The 1983 United Kingdom general election was held on Thursday 9 June 1983. It gave the Conservative Party under the leadership of Margaret Thatcher the most decisive election victory since that of the Labour Party in 1945, with a majority of 144 seats.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">John Russell, 1st Earl Russell</span> Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1846 to 1852 and 1865 to 1866

John Russell, 1st Earl Russell,, known by his courtesy title Lord John Russell before 1861, was a British Whig and Liberal statesman who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1846 to 1852 and again from 1865 to 1866.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Edward Smith-Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby</span> British Prime Minister

Edward George Geoffrey Smith-Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby, was a British statesman, three-time Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and, to date, the longest-serving leader of the Conservative Party. He was a scion of one of Britain's oldest, wealthiest and most powerful families. He is one of only four British prime ministers to have three or more separate periods in office. However, his ministries each lasted less than two years and totalled three years and 280 days. Derby introduced the state education system in Ireland, and reformed Parliament.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">1922 United Kingdom general election</span>

The 1922 United Kingdom general election was held on Wednesday 15 November 1922. It was won by the Conservative Party, led by Bonar Law, which gained an overall majority over the Labour Party, led by J. R. Clynes, and a divided Liberal Party.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">1906 United Kingdom general election</span> Last UK Liberal party electoral parliamentary majority result

The 1906 United Kingdom general election was held from 12 January to 8 February 1906.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">1857 United Kingdom general election</span>

In the 1857 United Kingdom general election, the Whigs, led by Lord Palmerston, won a majority in the House of Commons as the Conservative vote fell significantly. The election had been provoked by a vote of censure in Palmerston's government over his approach to the Arrow affair which led to the Second Opium War.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">1852 United Kingdom general election</span>

The 1852 United Kingdom general election was a watershed in the formation of the modern political parties of Britain. Following 1852, the Tory/Conservative party became, more completely, the party of the rural aristocracy, while the Whig/Liberal party became the party of the rising urban bourgeoisie in Britain. The results of the election were extremely close in terms of the numbers of seats won by the two main parties.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">1847 United Kingdom general election</span>

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 Peelites were a breakaway dissident political faction of the British Conservative Party from 1846 to 1859. Initially led by Robert Peel, the former Prime Minister and Conservative Party leader in 1846, the Peelites supported free trade whilst the bulk of the Conservative Party remained protectionist. The Peelites later merged with the Whigs and Radicals to form the Liberal Party in 1859.

The Radicals were a loose parliamentary political grouping in Great Britain and Ireland in the early to mid-19th century who drew on earlier ideas of radicalism and helped to transform the Whigs into the Liberal Party.

In the United Kingdom, the word liberalism can have any of several meanings. Scholars use the term to refer to classical liberalism; the term can also mean economic liberalism, social liberalism or political liberalism; it can simply refer to the politics of the Liberal Democrat party; it can occasionally have the imported American meaning, however, the derogatory connotation is much weaker in the UK than in the US, and social liberals from both the left and right wing continue to use liberal and illiberal to describe themselves and their opponents, respectively.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">History of the Conservative Party (UK)</span> Aspect of history

The Conservative Party is the oldest political party in the United Kingdom and arguably the world. The current party was first organised in the 1830s and the name "Conservative" was officially adopted, but the party is still often referred to as the Tory party. The Tories had been a coalition that more often than not formed the government from 1760 until the Reform Act 1832. Modernising reformers said the traditionalistic party of "Throne, Altar and Cottage" was obsolete, but in the face of an expanding electorate 1830s–1860s it held its strength among royalists, devout Anglicans and landlords and their tenants.

Cambridge University was a university constituency electing two members to the British House of Commons, from 1603 to 1950.

Oxford University was a university constituency electing two members to the British House of Commons, from 1603 to 1950. The last two members to represent Oxford University when it was abolished were A. P. Herbert and Arthur Salter.

In parliamentary politics, balance of power is a situation in which one or more members of a parliamentary or similar chamber can by their uncommitted vote enable a party to attain and remain in minority government. The term may also be applied to the members who hold that position. The members holding the balance of power may guarantee their support for a government by either joining it in a coalition government or by an assurance that they will vote against any motion of no confidence in the government or will abstain in such a vote. In return for such a commitment, such members may demand legislative or policy commitments from the party they are to support. A person or party may also hold a balance of power in a chamber without any commitment to government, in which case both the government and opposition groupings may on occasion need to negotiate for that person's or party's support.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">John Morgan Cobbett</span> Conservative Party and Liberal Party politician

John Morgan Cobbett was a Conservative Party and Liberal Party politician.

References

  1. Scully, Roger (4 May 2017). "Why Wales decided to forgive the Tories". The Spectator . Retrieved 4 May 2017.
  2. Hawkins, A. (18 June 1987), Parliament, Party and the Art of Politics in Britain, 1855–59, p. 377, ISBN   9781349089253
  3. A. J. P. Taylor, "Lord Palmerston," History Today (1951) 1#7 pp 35-41 at p. 39 online

Sources