81 seats to the European Parliament
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The European Assembly Election, 1979, was the first European election to be held in the United Kingdom after the European Communities (EC) decided to directly elect representatives to the European Parliament. It was held on 7 June. Elections were also held in eight other EC states. European elections were incorporated into UK law by the European Assembly Elections Act 1978. Out of the 410 members of the European Parliament, 81 were elected from the UK. The electoral system was First Past the Post in England, Scotland and Wales (electing 78 MEPs in total) and Single Transferable Vote in Northern Ireland (electing 3 MEPs).
The result was a landslide victory for the Conservative Party, which won 60 of the 78 seats available in England, Wales and Scotland. Their decisive victory in the general election of the previous month and divisions within the Labour party on whether to stay in the EC probably helped the Conservatives to such a comprehensive victory. There was a very low turnout in the election compared with other states, the lowest in Europe. Voter apathy was an explanation, but it is likely the large number of elections in 1979 had a significant negative effect on turnout. There were referendums in Scotland and Wales on devolution in March and the general election in May, as well as local elections in England (not including London) and Wales.
Source: UK Parliament Briefing
|Party||Votes won||% of vote||Seats||% of seats|
|United Against |
the Common Market
|Unionist Party NI||3,712||0.0||0|
|Ulster Liberal Party||932||0.0||0|
Source: UK Parliament Briefing
|Party||Votes won||% of vote||Seats||% of seats|
|United Against |
the Common Market
Total votes cast – 12,873,852.
Source Northern Ireland Social and Political Archive
|Party||Candidate(s)||Seats||First Preference Votes|
|Number||% of vote|
|UUP||John Taylor, Harry West||1||125,169||21.9|
|Independent Unionist||James Kilfedder||0||38,198||6.7|
|Independent Republican||Bernadette McAliskey||0||33,969||5.9|
|United Community||David Bleakley||0||9,383||1.6|
|United Labour||Paddy Devlin||0||6,122||1.1|
|Workers' Party||Brian Brennan, Francis Donnelly||0||4,418||0.8|
|Unionist Party NI||Eddie Cummings||0||3,712||0.6|
|Ulster Liberal||James Murray||0||932||0.2|
Total votes cast – 572,239.
|Cornwall and Plymouth||94,650||55.1||36,681||21.4||23,105||13.5||17,164||10.0|
|Essex North East||99,137||60.7||33,496||20.5||26,298||16.1||4,497||2.7|
|Essex South West||78,059||53.9||46,244||31.9||20,516||14.2|
|Greater Manchester North||62,456||39.2||79,920||50.2||16,910||10.6|
|Greater Manchester South||70,688||47.5||63,214||42.5||14,869||10.0|
|Greater Manchester West||67,127||43.3||66,825||43.1||21,021||13.6|
|Hereford and Worcester||106,271||58.5||49,888||27.5||25,421||14.0|
|Highlands and Islands||30,776||26.1||10,846||9.2||36,109||30.7||39,991||34.0|
|London North East||36,200||34.2||61,004||57.5||8,839||8.3|
|London North West||87,596||55.3||49,268||31.1||21,618||13.6|
|London South East||94,180||55.0||54,798||32.0||21,494||12.5||890||0.5|
|London South Inner||60,652||43.6||67,830||48.8||10,509||7.6|
|London South West||83,498||52.0||51,742||32.2||21,251||13.2||3,810||2.6|
|Mid and West Wales||67,226||36.0||77,474||41.4||17,628||9.4||22,730||12.2||1,826||1.0|
|Mid Scotland and Fife||66,255||35.1||58,768||31.2||18,112||9.6||45,426||24.1|
|North East Scotland||51,930||33.0||38,139||24.2||38,516||24.5||28,886||18.3|
|Salop and Stafford||90,545||57.5||45,547||28.9||16,469||10.5||4,804||3.1|
|South East Wales||51,478||30.3||93,093||54.8||10,534||6.2||12,469||7.4||2,182||1.3|
|South of Scotland||66,816||43.0||43,145||27.7||16,825||10.8||28,694||18.5|
|Tyne South and Wear||67,475||44.9||73,936||49.2||8,958||5.9|
|Wight and Hampshire East||128,414||64.7||34,901||17.6||35,248||17.7|
|Yorkshire South West||52,157||35.8||75,473||51.9||17,850||12.3|
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