All 615 seats in the House of Commons
308 seats needed for a majority
Colours denote the winning party—as shown in as shown in § Results
The 1924 United Kingdom general election was held on Wednesday 29 October 1924, as a result of the defeat of the Labour minority government, led by Ramsay MacDonald, in the House of Commons on a motion of no confidence. It was the third general election to be held in less than two years.
The Conservatives, led by Stanley Baldwin, performed better, in electoral terms, than in the 1923 general election and obtained a large parliamentary majority of 209. Labour, led by Ramsay MacDonald, lost 40 seats. The election also saw the Liberal Party, led by H. H. Asquith, lose 118 of their 158 seats which helped to polarise British politics between the Labour Party and Conservative Party.
The Conservative landslide victory and the Labour defeat in this general election has been, in part, attributed to the Zinoviev letter, a forgery, which was published in the Daily Mail four days before the election. The Labour vote increased by around one million in comparison to the 1923 general election, but this was largely due to the party putting up 87 more candidates than did previously.
The Conservatives had called the previous 1923 election early to get a mandate for moving to a protectionist trade policy of imperial preference, but had lost their majority. In 1924 they reverted to free trade and regained power. They would subsequently propose protectionism in the next elections in 1929, again losing.
After the previous general election, the Labour Party had finished as the second-largest party, but formed their first-ever government with the support of the Liberal Party, after the ruling Conservative Party's shock loss of their majority made it untenable for Baldwin to continue as Prime Minister. However, relations between Labour and the Liberals proved stormy, eventually resulting in Liberal M.P. Sir John Simon calling a motion of no confidence in MacDonald's government, which was carried by a large majority. Asquith had gambled that neither Baldwin nor MacDonald would want to put the country through a third general election in two years, and that one of them would be forced to enter into a formal coalition with the Liberals. However, the gambit backfired when MacDonald instead called an election, knowing full well that a Conservative landslide was the only likely outcome, but himself gambling that it would be primarily at the expense of the Liberals. MacDonald's judgement proved correct, as the Liberals, who were still mostly dependent on former Prime Minister David Lloyd George for funds, ended up financially crippled from the very start of the campaign, while Labour were actually able to expand the scope of their own campaign thanks to increasing support from the workers' unions.
It is speculated that the combination of Labour forming its first government in January 1924 and the Zinoviev letter helped to stir up anti-socialist fears in Britain among many traditional anti-socialist Liberal voters, who then switched their support to the Conservative Party. This partly helps to explain the poor performance of the Liberal Party in the general election. The party also had financial difficulties which allowed it to contest only 339 seats, a lack of distinctive policies after the Conservative Party dropped their support for protected trade, and poor leadership under Asquith, who lost his own seat for the second time in six years. It would be the final election for Asquith, who was subsequently forced to lead the party from the House of Lords after being elevated to the Earldom of Oxford and Asquith the following year, with Lloyd George as Liberal chairman in the House of Commons. Declining health saw Asquith replaced as party leader by Lloyd George in 1926.
The fourth party in terms of number of candidates, number of seats and number of votes were not a party but a group of former National Liberals standing under the Constitutionalist label, led by Winston Churchill. They favoured Conservative/Liberal co-operation and had intended to formally organize as a party, but the election was called before they had the opportunity to actually do so. Three of the seven Constitutionalists elected, including Churchill, had been opposed by official Liberal candidates, and sat as Conservatives after the election. The other four sat as Liberals.
The refounded Sinn Féin ran Westminster candidates for the first time since March 1919; none came close to winning, with six of the eight losing their deposits. Its next Westminster election was in 1950.
|Party||Leader||Stood||Elected||Gained||Unseated||Net||% of total||%||No.||Net %|
|Liberal||H. H. Asquith||339||40||10||128||−118||6.5||17.8||2,818,717||−11.9|
|Sinn Féin||Éamon de Valera||8||0||0||0||0||0.2||34,181||N/A|
|NI Labour||Sam Kyle||1||0||0||0||0||0.1||21,122||N/A|
|Scottish Prohibition||Edwin Scrymgeour||1||1||0||0||0||0.1||14,596||0.0|
|Irish Nationalist||T. P. O'Connor||1||1||0||0||0||0.0||0||−0.4|
|Labour||16||Stirling and Falkirk, Paisley, Edinburgh East, Gateshead, Rochdale, Bermondsey West, Southwark Central, Newcastle upon Tyne East, Newcastle upon Tyne West, Burslem, Middlesbrough East, Elland, Keighley, Penistone, Bradford South, Dewsbury|
|Conservative||7||Motherwell, Barrow-in-Furness, Liverpool West Toxteth, Lincoln, Peckham, Wolverhampton Bilston, Birmingham King's Norton|
|Liberal||Labour||8||Walthamstow West, Bristol North, Hackney South, Norwich (one of two), Bradford East, Batley and Morley, Wrexham, Swansea West|
|Independent Liberal||1||Cardiganshire *|
|Conservative||Labour||55||Stirlingshire West, Renfrewshire East, Dunbartonshire, Lanark, Glasgow Partick, Lanarkshire North, Renfrewshire West, Glasgow Maryhill, Kilmarnock, Midlothian & Peebles North, Linlithgow, Berwick & Haddington, Reading, Birkenhead West, Crewe, Carlisle, Whitehaven, Derby (one of two), Barnard Castle, Leyton East, East Ham North, Essex SE, Maldon, Upton, Dartford, Gravesend, Bolton (one of two), Eccles, Oldham (one of two), Salford North, Salford South, Salford West, Warrington, Leicester East, Holland with Boston†, Greenwich, Kennington, Hammersmith North, St Pancras North, St Pancras South East, Norfolk South, Norwich (one of two), Kettering, Northampton, Enfield, Tottenham South, The Wrekin, Frome, Lichfield, Ipswich, Coventry, Wakefield, Bradford Central, Pontefract, Cardiff South|
|Liberal||106||Bodmin, Cornwall North, Penryn and Falmouth, St Ives, Banff, East Aberdeenshire & Kincardineshire, Aberdeen and Kincardine Central, Forfarshire, Perth, Fife East, Argyll, Edinburgh West, Edinburgh North, Dumfriesshire, Galloway, Bedfordshire Mid, Luton, Abingdon, Newbury, Aylesbury, Wycombe, Huntingdonshire, Isle of Ely, Altrincham, Birkenhead East, Stalybridge and Hyde, Stockport (one of two), Wirral, Barnstaple, South Molton, Tavistock, Tiverton, Torquay, Totnes, Dorset North, Stockton-on-Tees, The Hartlepools, Chelmsford, Harwich, Stroud, Thornbury, Basingstoke, Portsmouth Central, Isle of Wight, Hemel Hempstead, Kingston upon Hull South West, Sevenoaks, Blackpool, Darwen, Lancaster, Lonsdale, Preston (one of two), Manchester Blackley, Manchester Exchange, Manchester Moss Side, Manchester Rusholme, Manchester Withington, Royton, Bootle, Liverpool Wavertree, Liverpool West Derby, Southport, Bosworth, Harborough, Leicester South, Gainsborough, Horncastle, Louth, Hackney North, Brixton, Islington East, Camberwell North-West, Hackney Central, Stoke Newington, Great Yarmouth, King's Lynn, Norfolk East, Hexham, Nottingham Central, Nottingham East, Finchley, Willesden East, Oxford†, Shrewsbury, Bath, Bridgwater, Taunton, Wells, Weston-super-Mare, Walsall, Sudbury, Chichester, Nuneaton, Rugby, Chippenham, Westbury, Devizes, Salisbury, Cleveland, Bradford North, Sowerby, Flintshire, Pembrokeshire, Brecon and Radnor, Cardiff East|
|Constitutionalist||Liberal||5||Accrington, Heywood and Radcliffe, Stretford, Stoke, Camborne|
|Conservative||2||Epping, Walthamstow East|
|UUP||Nationalist||2||Fermanagh and Tyrone (both seats)|
The Liberal Party was one of the two major political parties in the United Kingdom with the opposing Conservative Party in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The party arose from an alliance of Whigs and free trade-supporting Peelites and the 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 then won a landslide victory in the following year's general election.
James Ramsay MacDonald was the first Prime Minister of the United Kingdom who belonged to the Labour Party, leading minority Labour governments for nine months in 1924 and again between 1929–1931. From 1931 to 1935, he headed a National Government dominated by the Conservative Party and supported by only a few Labour members. MacDonald was expelled from the Labour Party as a result.
The 1935 United Kingdom general election was held on Thursday 14 November 1935 and resulted in a large, albeit reduced, majority for the National Government now led by Stanley Baldwin of the Conservative Party. The greatest number of members, as before, were Conservatives, while the National Liberal vote held steady. The much smaller National Labour vote also held steady but the resurge in the main Labour vote caused over a third of their MPs, including National Labour leader Ramsay MacDonald, to lose their seats.
The 1931 United Kingdom general election was held on Tuesday 27 October 1931 and saw a landslide election victory for the National Government which had been formed two months previously after the collapse of the second Labour government. Collectively, the parties forming the National Government won 67% of the votes and 554 seats out of 615. The bulk of the National Government's support came from the Conservative Party, and the Conservatives won 470 seats. The Labour Party suffered its greatest defeat, losing four out of every five seats compared with the previous election. The Liberal Party, split into three factions, continued to shrink and the Liberal National faction never reunited. Ivor Bulmer-Thomas said the results "were the most astonishing in the history of the British party system". It is the most recent election in which one party received an absolute majority of the votes cast, and the last UK general election not to take place on a Thursday. It would be the last election until 1997 in which a party won over 400 seats in the House of Commons.
The 1929 United Kingdom general election was held on Thursday 30 May 1929 and resulted in a hung parliament. It stands as the fourth of six instances under the secret ballot, and the first of three under universal suffrage, in which a party has lost on the popular vote but won the highest number of seats versus all other parties. In 1929, Ramsay MacDonald's Labour Party won the most seats in the House of Commons for the first time. The Liberal Party re-led by ex-Prime Minister David Lloyd George regained some ground lost in the 1924 election and held the balance of power.
The 1923 United Kingdom general election was held on Thursday 6 December 1923. The Conservatives, led by Stanley Baldwin, won the most seats, but Labour, led by Ramsay MacDonald, and H. H. Asquith's reunited Liberal Party gained enough seats to produce a hung parliament. It is the most recent UK general election in which a third party won over 100 seats. The Liberals' percentage of the vote, 29.7%, has not been exceeded by a third party at any general election since.
The 1922 United Kingdom general election was held on Wednesday 15 November 1922. It was won by the Conservatives led by Bonar Law, who gained an overall majority over Labour, led by J. R. Clynes, and a divided Liberal Party.
The 1918 United Kingdom general election was called immediately after the Armistice with Germany which ended the First World War, and was held on Saturday, 14 December 1918. The governing coalition, under Prime Minister David Lloyd George, sent letters of endorsement to candidates who supported the coalition government. These were nicknamed "Coalition Coupons", and led to the election being known as the "coupon election". The result was a massive landslide in favour of the coalition, comprising primarily the Conservatives and Coalition Liberals, with massive losses for Liberals who were not endorsed. Nearly all the Liberal MPs without coupons were defeated, although party leader H. H. Asquith managed to return to Parliament in a by-election.
In the United Kingdom, a National Government is a coalition of some or all of the major political parties. In a historical sense, it refers primarily to the governments of Ramsay MacDonald, Stanley Baldwin and Neville Chamberlain which held office from 1931 until 1940.
William Allen Jowitt, 1st Earl Jowitt, was a British Liberal Party, National Labour and then Labour Party politician and lawyer who served as Lord Chancellor under Clement Attlee from 1945 to 1951.
At the 1931 general election, a small group of official Liberal candidates led by former Liberal Party leader, David Lloyd George, and mostly related to him, stood on a platform of opposition to the National Government and were sometimes referred to as Independent Liberals.
The first MacDonald ministry of the United Kingdom lasted from January to November 1924. The Labour Party, under Ramsay MacDonald, had failed to win the general election of December 1923, with 191 seats, although the combined Opposition tally exceeded that of the Conservative government creating a hung parliament. Stanley Baldwin remained in office until January 1924.
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.
The Westminster Abbey by-election, 1924 was a parliamentary by-election held on 19 March 1924 for the British House of Commons constituency of Westminster Abbey in London. It was notable for the challenge of Winston Churchill to the party system.
Richard Thomas Evans was a British Liberal Party politician.
The Bosworth by-election, 1927 was a parliamentary by-election for the House of Commons constituency of Bosworth in Leicestershire on 31 May 1927.
The Southwark North by-election, 1927 was a parliamentary by-election for the British House of Commons constituency of Southwark North held on 28 March 1927.
The National Liberal Party was a liberal political party in the United Kingdom from 1922–23. It was created as a formal party organisation for those Liberals, led by Prime Minister David Lloyd George, who supported the Coalition Government (1918–22) and subsequently a revival of the Coalition, after it ceased holding office. It was officially a breakaway from the Liberal Party. The National Liberals ceased to exist in 1923 when Lloyd George agreed to a merger with the Liberal Party.
The Ilford by-election, 1928 was a parliamentary by-election for the British House of Commons constituency of Ilford, London on 23 February 1928.
David Cleghorn Thomson, was a Scottish journalist, author, poet, playwright, and Liberal and Labour Party politician. He was notably Director of the BBC's Scottish Region.