All 630 seats in the House of Commons
316 seats needed for a majority
Colours denote the winning party—as shown in § Results
Composition of the House of Commons after the election
The 1955 United Kingdom general election was held on Thursday 26 May 1955, four years after the previous general election in 1951. It was a snap election: after Winston Churchill retired in April 1955, Anthony Eden took over and immediately called the election in order to gain a mandate for his government. It resulted in a majority of 60 seats for the government under new leader and Prime Minister Anthony Eden; the result remains the largest party share of the vote at a post-war general election. This was the first general election to be held with Elizabeth II as monarch. She had succeeded her father George VI a year after the previous election.
The election was fought on new boundaries, with five seats added to the 625 fought in 1951. At the same time, the Conservative Party had returned to power for the first time since World War II and increased its popularity by accepting the mixed economy and welfare state created by the previous Labour Party government. It also was lauded for its economic policy after ending rationing, improving foreign trade, and even outperforming Labour in the construction of public housing. : 137 On election day, the Daily Mirror had printed the front-page headline "Don't Let the Tories Cheat Our Children", urging its readers to elect Labour on the basis that it had "built a better Britain for us all" ( Daily Mirror 2012 ).
The BBC later described the election as one of the "dullest" after World War II. : 140–141 It was the fifth and last general election fought by Labour leader Clement Attlee, who by this time was 72 years old. Eden had only become Leader of the Conservative Party a few weeks before the election, after the retirement of former Prime Minister Winston Churchill, but he had long been considered the heir apparent to the Conservative leadership. Eden called a dissolution of parliament and a new general election as soon as he took office in April 1955. The Conservatives were hoping to take advantage of the end of food rationing and the positive atmosphere created by the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. Eden himself was telegenic (although not as great a public speaker as Churchill) and gradual economic growth benefited the party greatly. Parliament was dissolved on 6 May.The Daily Express wrote that the British people were more interested in Princess Margaret's romance with Peter Townsend. The Labour Party, then in its twentieth year of leadership under Clement Attlee, steadily lost ground owing to infighting between the left-wing (Bevanites) and the right-wing (Gaitskellites), resulting in an unclear election message. It pledged equal pay for women, renationalization of the steel industry and road haulage, comprehensive secondary education, and vague guarantees of greater industrial democracy and workers' control of nationalized industries as demanded by Bevanites but otherwise offered little new policy.
The result showed very little change from 1951, with fewer than 25 seats changing hands and only a small swing from Labour to the Conservatives. The only real highlight of the night was in Northern Ireland, where Sinn Féin won two seats at a UK election for the first time since 1918 (before the secession of Southern Ireland).
The Labour Party suffered at this time from deep internal divisions, yet for it this election was not the disaster it could have been.
Although little changed, this was a strong victory for the Conservatives, who won the largest share of seats for a single party at a post-war general election. It became the first party since the passage of the Reform Act 1867 to increase its parliamentary majority after a term in office. : 141
The Liberal Party had yet another poor performance, only slightly improving their popular vote total from the previous election, and again winning just six seats. Five of their six seats did not have Conservative challengers, as per local-level agreements to avoid vote-splitting which likely would have thrown the seats to Labour; the only Liberal candidate to be victorious against both Conservative and Labour challengers was Orkney and Shetland MP Jo Grimond, who was first elected in 1950. The poor national showing was widely viewed as the death knell for the embattled leadership of Clement Davies, who resigned the following year and was replaced by Grimond.
Future Labour leader Michael Foot lost his seat of Plymouth Devonport at this election; he returned for Ebbw Vale at a 1960 by-election.
For the first time, television took a prominent role in the campaign; this is the earliest UK general election of which television coverage survives (the 1950 and 1951 election nights were broadcast on television live, but the footage was not recorded). Only three hours of the coverage, presented by Richard Dimbleby, was kept; this was rebroadcast on BBC Parliament on the fiftieth and sixtieth anniversaries of the date of the election.
|Party||Leader||Stood||Elected||Gained||Unseated||Net||% of total||%||No.||Net %|
|Sinn Féin||Paddy McLogan||12||2||2||0||+2||0.3||0.6||152,310||+0.5|
|Plaid Cymru||Gwynfor Evans||11||0||0||0||0||0.2||45,119||+0.2|
|Irish Labour||William Norton||1||0||0||1||−1||0.1||16,050||0.0|
|Ind. Labour Party||Annie Maxton||2||0||0||0||0||0.0||3,334||0.0|
|Government's new majority||60|
|Total votes cast||26,759,729|
|Labour||Labour (HOLD)||many||Ashfield (replaced Broxtowe), Barons Court (replaced Hammersmith South), Blackburn (replaced Blackburn East), Fulham (replaced Fulham East), Glasgow Provan (replaced Glasgow Camlachie), Hackney Central (replaced Hackney South), Kingston upon Hull West (replaced Kingston upon Hull Central), Manchester Openshaw (replaced Droylsden), Midlothian (replaced Midlothian and Peebles), Nottingham North (replaced Nottingham East), Nottingham West (replaced Nottingham North West), Reading (replaced Reading South), Walsall North (replaced Walsall), et al.|
|National Liberal||2||Bradford West (replaced Bradford Central), Plymouth Devonport|
|Conservative||19||Ayrshire Central, Carlisle, Ealing North, Gloucestershire South, Gravesend, Halifax, Hornchurch, Leeds North East, Liverpool Kirkdale, Maldon, Nottingham Central, Nottingham South, Preston South, Southampton Test, Sunderland South†, Walthamstow East, Wandsworth Central, Watford, The Wrekin|
|abolished||6||Birmingham Erdington, Fulham West, Glasgow Tradeston, Leeds Central, Manchester Clayton, Sheffield Neepsend|
|Irish Labour||Ulster Unionist||1||Belfast West|
|Nationalist||Sinn Féin||1||Fermanagh and South Tyrone 2|
|Independent Republican||1||Mid Ulster 1|
|Liberal||Liberal (HOLD)||6||Bolton West, Cardiganshire, Carmarthen, Huddersfield West, Montgomery, Orkney and Shetland|
|National Liberal||National Liberal (HOLD)||17||Angus North and Mearns, Angus South, Bedfordshire South, Bradford North, Denbigh, Dumfriesshire, Fife East, Harwich, Holland with Boston, Huntingdonshire, Luton, Newcastle upon Tyne North, Norfolk Central, Renfrewshire West, Ross and Cromarty, St Ives, Torrington|
|Conservative||Labour||4||Bristol North West, Glasgow Govan, Norfolk South West, Romford|
|Conservative (HOLD)||many||Birmingham Selly Oak (replaced Birmingham King's Norton), Croydon NE (replaced Croydon East), Croydon NW (replaced Croydon North), Croydon South (replaced Croydon West), Howden (replaced Beverley), Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles (replaced Roxburgh and Selkirk), Stroud (replaced Stroud & Thornbury), et al.|
|Speaker||Cirencester and Tewkesbury*|
|abolished||2||Blackburn West, Leeds North, Reading North|
|Ulster Unionist||Ulster Unionist||9||North Antrim, South Antrim, Armagh, Belfast East, Belfast North, Belfast South, Down North, Down South, Londonderry|
|Seat created||Labour||5||Birmingham All Saints, Erith and Crayford, Feltham, Leeds East, Meriden|
|Seat created||Conservative||9||Chigwell, Eastleigh, Essex South East, Glasgow Craigton, Hertfordshire East, Nantwich, Rye, Surbiton, Walsall South|
The 2001 United Kingdom general election was held on Thursday 7 June 2001, four years after the previous election on 1 May 1997, to elect 659 members to the House of Commons. The governing Labour Party was re-elected to serve a second term in government with another landslide victory with a 167 majority, returning 413 members of Parliament versus 419 from the 1997 general election, a net loss of six seats, though with a significantly lower turnout than before—59.4%, compared to 71.6% at the previous election. The number of votes Labour received fell by nearly three million. Tony Blair went on to become the only Labour Prime Minister to serve two consecutive full terms in office. As Labour retained almost all of their seats won in the 1997 landslide victory, the media dubbed the 2001 election "the quiet landslide".
The 1918 Irish general election was the part of the 1918 United Kingdom general election which took place in Ireland. It is now seen as a key moment in modern Irish history because it saw the overwhelming defeat of the moderate nationalist Irish Parliamentary Party (IPP), which had dominated the Irish political landscape since the 1880s, and a landslide victory for the radical Sinn Féin party. Sinn Féin had never previously stood in a general election, but had won six seats in by-elections in 1917–18. The party had vowed in its manifesto to establish an independent Irish Republic. In Ulster, however, the Unionist Party was the most successful party.
The 1950 United Kingdom general election was the first ever to be held after a full term of Labour government. The election was held on Thursday 23 February 1950, and was the first held following the abolition of plural voting and university constituencies. The government's 1945 lead over the Conservative Party shrank dramatically, and Labour was returned to power but with an overall majority reduced from 146 to just 5. There was a 2.8% national swing towards the Conservatives, who gained 90 seats. Labour called another general election in 1951, which the Conservative Party won.
The 1951 United Kingdom general election was held twenty months after the 1950 general election, which the Labour Party had won with a slim majority of just five seats. The Labour government called a snap election for Thursday 25 October 1951 in the hope of increasing its parliamentary majority. However, despite winning the popular vote and achieving both the highest-ever total vote and highest percentage vote share, Labour won fewer seats than the Conservative Party. This was mainly due to the collapse of the Liberal vote, which enabled the Conservatives to win seats by default. The election marked the return of Winston Churchill as Prime Minister, and the beginning of Labour's thirteen-year spell in opposition. This was the third and final general election to be held during the reign of King George VI, for he died the following year on 6 February and was succeeded by his daughter, Elizabeth II. It was the last election in which the Conservatives did better in Scotland than in England.
The 1959 United Kingdom general election was held on Thursday, 8 October 1959. It marked a third consecutive victory for the ruling Conservative Party, now led by Harold Macmillan. For the second time in a row, the Conservatives increased their overall majority in Parliament, this time to a landslide majority of 100 seats, having gained 20 seats for a return of 365. The Labour Party, led by Hugh Gaitskell, lost 19 seats and returned 258. The Liberal Party, led by Jo Grimond, again returned only six MPs to the House of Commons, but managed to increase its overall share of the vote to 5.9%, compared to just 2.7% four years earlier.
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. Parliament was dissolved on 9 October.
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, including party leader H. H. Asquith.
The 2004 European Parliament election was the United Kingdom's part of the wider 2004 European Parliament election which was held between 10 and 13 June 2004 in the 25 member states of the European Union. The United Kingdom's part of this election was held on Thursday 10 June 2004. The election also coincided with the 2004 local elections and the London Assembly and mayoral elections. In total, 78 Members of the European Parliament were elected from the United Kingdom using proportional representation.
Fermanagh and South Tyrone is a parliamentary constituency in the British House of Commons. The current MP is Michelle Gildernew of Sinn Féin.
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The 1951 United Kingdom general election in Northern Ireland was held on 25 October as part of the wider general election with 12 MPs elected in single-seat constituencies using first-past-the-post.
The 1955 United Kingdom general election in Northern Ireland was held on 26 May as part of the wider general election with 12 MPs elected in single-seat constituencies using first-past-the-post.
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