1983 United Kingdom general election

Last updated

1983 United Kingdom general election
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg
  1979 9 June 1983 1987  

All 650 seats in the House of Commons
326 seats needed for a majority
Opinion polls
Turnout72.7%, Decrease2.svg3.3%
 First partySecond partyThird party
  Margaret Thatcher (1983).jpg Michael Foot (1981).jpg DavidSteel1987 cropped.jpg
Roy Jenkins 1977 (cropped).jpg
Leader Margaret Thatcher Michael Foot
Party Conservative Labour Alliance
Leader since 11 February 1975 10 November 1980
Leader's seat Finchley Blaenau Gwent
Last election339 seats, 43.9%269 seats, 36.9%11 seats, 13.8% [lower-alpha 1]
Seats before33926111
Seats won39720923
Seat changeIncrease2.svg58 [lower-alpha 2] Decrease2.svg60 [lower-alpha 2] Increase2.svg12 [lower-alpha 2]
Popular vote13,012,3168,456,9347,780,949
Percentage42.4%27.6%25.4%
SwingDecrease2.svg1.5%Decrease2.svg9.3%Increase2.svg11.6%

UK General Election, 1983.svg
Colours denote the winning party—as shown in § Results

House of Commons elected members, 1983.svg
Composition of the House of Commons after the election

Prime Minister before election

Margaret Thatcher
Conservative

Prime Minister after election

Margaret Thatcher
Conservative

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.

Contents

Thatcher's first term as Prime Minister had not been an easy time. [1] Unemployment increased during the first three years of her premiership and the economy went through a recession. However, the British victory in the Falklands War led to a recovery of her personal popularity, and economic growth had begun to resume.

By the time Thatcher called the election in May 1983, opinion polls pointed to a Conservative victory, with most national newspapers backing the re-election of the Conservative government. The resulting win earned the Conservatives their biggest parliamentary majority of the post-war era, and their second-biggest majority as a single-party government, behind only the 1924 election (they earned even more seats in the 1931 election, but were part of the National Government). [2]

The Labour Party had been led by Michael Foot since the resignation of former Prime Minister James Callaghan in 1980, and its new policies were considered more left-wing than usual. [2] [3] Several "moderate" Labour MPs had defected from the party to form the Social Democratic Party (SDP), which then formed the SDP–Liberal Alliance with the existing Liberal Party.

The opposition vote split almost evenly between the Alliance and Labour. With its worst electoral performance since 1931, the Labour vote fell by over 3 million votes from 1979, accounting for both a national swing of almost 4% towards the Conservatives and their larger parliamentary majority of 144 seats, even though the Conservatives' total vote fell by almost 700,000. This was the last general election until 2015 in which a governing party increased its number of seats.

The Alliance finished in third place but came within 700,000 votes of out-polling Labour; by gaining 25.4% of the vote it won the largest percentage for any third party since 1923. Despite this, it won only 23 seats, whereas Labour won 209. The Liberals argued that a proportional electoral system would have given them a more representative number of MPs. Changing the electoral system had been a long-running campaign plank of the Liberal Party and would later be adopted by its successor, the Liberal Democrats.

The election night was broadcast live on the BBC and was presented by David Dimbleby, Sir Robin Day and Peter Snow. [4] It was also broadcast on ITV and presented by Alastair Burnet, Peter Sissons and Martyn Lewis.

Three future leaders of the Labour Party (Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and Jeremy Corbyn) were first elected during this election; Blair and Brown went on to hold the office of Prime Minister.

As the likes of Blair, Brown and Corbyn entered parliament, a string of prominent members of parliament stepped aside or lost their seats. Former Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson stood down from parliament after 38 years, while the SDP's Shirley Williams and Bill Rodgers lost their seats only a short time after winning them. Joan Lestor, Tony Benn as well as Speaker of the House of Commons and former Labour cabinet minister George Thomas also departed from parliament at this election, although Benn would return after winning a by-election in Chesterfield the following year, and Lestor returned to parliament after winning a seat at the following general election in 1987. In addition, two future Leaders of the Liberal Democrats were first elected—Paddy Ashdown and Charles Kennedy. Michael Howard, who later served the Conservatives as Home Secretary in government and as party leader in opposition, was also elected to parliament in 1983.

Background and campaign

Michael Foot was elected leader of the Labour Party at the end of 1980, replacing James Callaghan. The election of Foot signalled that the core of the party was swinging to the left and the move exacerbated divisions within the party. During 1981, a group of senior figures including Roy Jenkins, David Owen, Bill Rodgers and Shirley Williams left Labour to found the Social Democratic Party (SDP). The SDP agreed to a pact with the Liberals for the 1983 election and stood as "The Alliance". For a while the Alliance topped the opinion polls and looked capable of achieving their goal of forming a coalition government at the next general election, but the success of the Falklands campaign in 1982 saw the political tide turn in favour of the Conservative government.

The election did not have to be held until 1984. Although political circumstances were clearly favourable for the government and opposition parties anticipated that Mrs Thatcher would go to the country in June, earlier in 1983 the Conservatives were split on the timing of the election. One faction favoured a June election, but another group wanted to wait until October before going to the country, while some within the Party even advocated delaying the contest until 1984. Supporters of waiting to a later time to hold an election included Thatcher's deputy and Home Secretary Willie Whitelaw and John Biffen who was then serving as Leader of the House of Commons. [5] On 27 April it was reported that all the Conservative party's regional agents had unanimously expressed a preference to Thatcher for a June election, although some members of her cabinet were advising her to wait until October. [6] On 8 May senior Conservatives met at Chequers and agreed to go to the country on 9 June. The election was formally called the next day and Parliament was dissolved on 13 May for a four-week official election campaign. [5]

The campaign displayed the huge divisions between the two major parties. Thatcher had been highly unpopular during her first two years in office until the swift and decisive victory in the Falklands War, coupled with an improving economy, considerably raised her standings in the polls. The Conservatives' key issues included reducing unemployment (which had increased from 1.5 million in 1979 to more than 3 million by 1982), continuing economic growth following the recent recession, and defence. Labour's campaign manifesto involved leaving the European Economic Community, abolishing the House of Lords, abandoning the United Kingdom's nuclear deterrent by cancelling Trident and removing cruise missiles — a programme dubbed by Labour MP Gerald Kaufman "the longest suicide note in history"; "Although, at barely 37 pages, it only seemed interminable", noted Roy Hattersley. Pro-Labour political journalist Michael White, writing in The Guardian , commented: "There was something magnificently brave about Michael Foot's campaign but it was like the Battle of the Somme." [7]

The Alliance had had a setback ahead of the campaign at the Darlington by-election in March. The contest was one that had looked promising ground for the SDP, but despite heavily campaigning in the Labour-held seat, the SDP candidate, who struggled when interviewed for television by Vincent Hanna finished a poor third, which stalled the momentum of the Alliance. [8] During the campaign, on Sunday 29 May, David Steel held a meeting with Jenkins and other Alliance leaders at his Ettrickbridge home. Steel, who polls showed was more popular proposed that Jenkins take a lower profile and that Steel take over as leader of the campaign. Jenkins rejected Steel's view and remained "Prime Minister designate", but Steel did have a heightened role on television for the last 10 days of the election campaign. According to Steve Richards the meeting meant Jenkins' "confidence was undermined and he staggered to the finishing line with less verve than he had displayed in the early days of the SDP" and showed little sign of his earlier "exuberance". [9] [10]

Notional election, 1979

Following boundary changes in 1983, the BBC and ITN (Independent Television News) co-produced a calculation of how the 1979 general election would have gone if fought on the new 1983 boundaries. The following table shows the effects of the boundary changes on the House of Commons: [11]

UK General Election 1979
PartySeatsGainsLossesNet gain/lossSeats %Votes %Votes+/−
  Conservative 359+205544.913,703,429
  Labour 261−84037.711,512,877
  Liberal 9−2114.24,324,936
  SNP 2001.6497,128
  Plaid Cymru 2000.4135,241
  Other parties 17+533.41,063,263

Timeline

The Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher visited Buckingham Palace on the afternoon of 9 May and asked the Queen to dissolve Parliament on 13 May, announcing that the election would be held on 9 June. The key dates were as follows:[ citation needed ]

Friday 13 MayDissolution of the 48th Parliament and campaigning officially begins
Monday 23 MayLast day to file nomination papers; 2,579 candidates enter
Wednesday 8 JuneCampaigning officially ends
Thursday 9 JunePolling day
Friday 10 JuneThe Conservative Party wins with a majority of 144 to retain power
Wednesday 15 June 49th Parliament assembles
Wednesday 22 June State Opening of Parliament

Results

The election saw a landslide victory for the Conservatives, achieving their best results since 1935. Although there was a slight drop in their share of the vote, they made significant gains at the expense of Labour. The Tories have yet to match their 1983 seat total in any subsequent general election, although they recorded a higher share of the popular vote in 2019.

The night was a disaster for the Labour Party; their share of the vote fell by over 9%, which meant they were only 700,000 votes ahead of the newly-formed third party, the SDP–Liberal Alliance. The massive increase of support for the Alliance at the expense of Labour meant that, in many seats,[ which? ] the collapse in the Labour vote allowed the Conservatives to gain. Despite winning over 25% of the national vote, the Alliance got fewer than 4% of seats, 186 fewer than Labour. The most significant Labour loss of the night was Tony Benn, who was defeated in the revived Bristol East seat. SDP President Shirley Williams, then a prominent leader in the Social Democratic Party, lost her Crosby seat which she had won in a by-election in 1981. Bill Rodgers, another leading figure in the Alliance (like Williams, one of the "Gang of Four") also failed to win his old seat that he previously held as a Labour MP.

In Scotland, both Labour and the Tories sustained modest losses to the Alliance. Labour remained by far the largest party, with 41 seats to 21 for the Scottish Conservatives. The Scottish Conservatives have been unable to match their 1983 Westminster seat total since, although they did record a slightly larger share of the Scottish vote in 2017, by which time the Scottish National Party had become the dominant party in Scotland with the Tories being the largest unionist party.

On a UK-wide basis, the 1983 election was the worst result in Labour's modern history until the 2019 election, in terms of seats won. The 1983 result remains the worst-ever modern performance for Labour in England.

3972092321
ConservativeLabourAllianceO
1983 UK parliament.svg

1983 UK general election
CandidatesVotes
PartyLeaderStoodElectedGainedUnseatedNet % of total %No.Net %
  Conservative Margaret Thatcher 6333974710+3761.142.413,012,316−1.5
  Labour Michael Foot 633209455−5132.227.68,456,934−9.3
  Alliance David Steel & Roy Jenkins 636 [lower-alpha 3] 23120+124.525.47,794,770+11.6
  SNP Gordon Wilson 7220000.31.1331,975−0.5
  Ulster Unionist James Molyneaux 161131+21.70.8259,9520.0
  DUP Ian Paisley 1432 1 +10.50.5152,749+0.3
  SDLP John Hume 17 1 0 1 −10.20.4137,0120.0
  Plaid Cymru Dafydd Wigley 3820000.30.4125,3090.0
  Sinn Féin Ruairí Ó Brádaigh 14 1 1 1 00.20.3102,701N/A
  Alliance Oliver Napier 1200000.00.261,275−0.1
  Ecology Jonathon Porritt 10900000.00.254,299+0.1
  Independent N/A7300000.00.130,422N/A
  National Front Andrew Brons 6000000.00.127,065−0.5
  UPUP James Kilfedder 1 1 1 0+10.20.122,861N/A
  Independent Labour N/A800000.00.116,4470.0
  Workers' Party Tomás Mac Giolla 1400000.00.014,650−0.1
  BNP John Tyndall 5400000.00.014,621N/A
  Communist Gordon McLennan 3500000.00.011,606−0.1
  Independent Socialist N/A 1 00000.00.010,326N/A
  Ind. Conservative N/A1000000.00.09,4420.0
 Independent CommunistN/A200000.00.04,760N/A
  Workers Revolutionary Michael Banda 2100000.00.03,798−0.1
  Monster Raving Loony Screaming Lord Sutch 1100000.00.03,015N/A
  Wessex Regionalist N/A1000000.00.01,7500.0
  Mebyon Kernow Richard Jenkin 200000.00.01,151N/A
  Independent DUP N/A 1 00000.00.01,134N/A
  Licensees N/A400000.00.0934N/A
  Nationalist Party N/A500000.00.0874N/A
  Labour and Trade Union Peter Hadden 1 00000.00.0584N/A
  Revolutionary Communist Frank Furedi 400000.00.0581N/A
  Freedom Party N/A100000.00.0508N/A
All parties with more than 500 votes shown. [lower-alpha 4] [lower-alpha 5] [lower-alpha 6] [lower-alpha 7]
Government's new majority144
Total votes cast30,671,137
Turnout72.7%

Votes summary

Seats won in the election (outer ring) against number of votes (inner ring)
Results of the UK General Election, 1983.svg
Popular vote
Conservative
42.43%
Labour
27.57%
SDP–Liberal
25.41%
Others
2.4%

Seats summary

Parliamentary seats
Conservative
61.08%
Labour
32.15%
SDP–Liberal
3.54%
Others
3.23%
Election 1983 Polls.jpg
Data from Guardian daily polls published in The Guardian between May and June 1983. Colour key:
  •   Conservative
  •   Labour
  •   Alliance
  •   Others
1983 UK General Election-Gallagher Index.svg
The disproportionality of the House of Commons in the 1983 election was "20.62" according to the Gallagher Index, mainly between the Conservatives and the Alliance.

Incumbents defeated

PartyNameConstituencyOffice held whilst in ParliamentYear electedDefeated byParty
Labour Tony Benn Bristol South East (contested Bristol East) Secretary of State for Energy (1975–1979) 1950 [lower-alpha 8] Jonathan Sayeed Conservative
Albert Booth Barrow and Furness Secretary of State for Employment (1976–1979) 1966 Cecil Franks Conservative
Arthur Davidson Accrington (contested Hyndburn) Shadow Attorney General (1982–1983) 1966 Ken Hargreaves Conservative
Neil Carmichael Glasgow Kelvingrove (contested Glasgow Hillhead)Parliamentary Under-Secretary at the Department of Industry (1975-1976) 1962 Roy Jenkins MP SDP
Bob Cryer Keighley 1974 Gary Waller Conservative
Joseph Dean Leeds West Lord Commissioner of the Treasury (1978–1979) 1974 Michael Meadowcroft Liberal
David Ennals Norwich North Secretary of State for Social Services (1976–1979) 1974 Patrick Thompson Conservative
John Garrett Norwich South 1974 John Powley Conservative
Ted Graham Edmonton Lord Commissioner of the Treasury (1976–1979) 1974 Ian Twinn Conservative
William Homewood Kettering (contested Corby) 1979 William Powell Conservative
Frank Hooley Sheffield Heeley (contested Stratford-on-Avon) 1966 Alan Howarth Conservative
Russell Kerr Feltham and Heston 1966 Patrick Ground Conservative
Joan Lestor Eton and Slough (contested Slough) Chair of the Labour Party (1977–78) 1966 John Watts Conservative
Alex Lyon York 1966 Conal Gregory Conservative
Jim Marshall Leicester South 1974 Derek Spencer Conservative
Roland Moyle Lewisham East Minister of State for Health (1976–1979) 1966 Colin Moynihan Conservative
Stan Newens Harlow 1974 Jerry Hayes Conservative
Oswald O'Brien Darlington 1983 Michael Fallon Conservative
Christopher Price Lewisham West 1974 John Maples Conservative
Gwilym Roberts Cannock (contested Cannock and Burntwood) 1974 Gerald Howarth Conservative
John Sever Birmingham Ladywood, contested (Meriden) 1977 Iain Mills Conservative
John Spellar Birmingham Northfield 1982 Roger Douglas King Conservative
David Stoddart Swindon Lord Commissioner of the Treasury (1975-1978) 1970 Simon Coombs Conservative
Shirley Summerskill Halifax Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (1976-1979) 1964 Roy Galley Conservative
Ann Taylor Bolton West (contested Bolton North East) 1974 Peter Thurnham Conservative
John Tilley Lambeth Central (contested Southwark and Bermondsey) 1978 Simon Hughes MP Liberal
Frank White Bury and Radcliffe (contested Bury North) 1974 Alistair Burt Conservative
Phillip Whitehead Derby North 1970 Greg Knight Conservative
William Whitlock Nottingham North Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (1968-1969) 1959 Richard Ottaway Conservative
Kenneth Woolmer Batley and Morley (contested Batley and Spen) 1979 Elizabeth Peacock Conservative
SDP Tom Bradley [12] Leicester East 1962 Peter Bruinvels Conservative
Christopher Brocklebank-Fowler [13] North West Norfolk 1970 Henry Bellingham Conservative
Ronald Brown [12] Hackney South and Shoreditch 1964 Brian Sedgemore Conservative
Richard Crawshaw [12] Liverpool Toxteth (contested Liverpool Broadgreen) Second Deputy Chairmen of Ways and Means (1979–1981) 1964 Terry Fields Labour
George Cunningham [12] Islington South and Finsbury 1970 Chris Smith Labour
Tom Ellis [12] Wrexham (contested Clwyd South West) 1970 Robert Harvey Conservative
David Ginsburg [12] Dewsbury 1959 John Whitfield Conservative
John Grant [12] Islington Central (contested Islington North) Under-Secretary of State for Employment (1976-1979) 1970 Jeremy Corbyn Labour
John Horam [12] Gateshead West (contested Newcastle upon Tyne Central) Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (1976-1979) 1970 Piers Merchant Conservative
Ednyfed Hudson Davies [12] Caerphilly (contested Basingstoke) 1979 Andrew Hunter Conservative
Edward Lyons [12] Bradford West 1966 Max Madden Labour
Dickson Mabon [12] Greenock and Port Glasgow (contested Inverclyde) Minister for Energy (1976–1979) 1955 Anna McCurley Conservative
Tom McNally [12] Stockport South (contested Stockport) 1979 Anthony Favell Conservative
Bryan Magee [12] Leyton 1974 Harry Cohen Labour
Bob Mitchell [12] Southampton Itchen 1971 Christopher Chope Conservative
Eric Ogden [12] Liverpool West Derby 1964 Bob Wareing Labour
William Rodgers [12] Stockton-on-Tees (contested Stockton North) Secretary of State for Transport (1976–1979) 1962 Frank Cook Labour
John Roper [12] Farnworth (contested Worsley) SDP Chief Whip (1981–83) 1970 Terry Lewis Labour
Neville Sandelson [12] Hayes and Harlington 1971 Terry Dicks Conservative
Jeffrey Thomas [12] Abertillery (contested Cardiff West) 1970 Stefan Terlezki Conservative
Michael Thomas [12] Newcastle-upon-Tyne East 1974 Nick Brown Labour
James Wellbeloved [12] Erith and Crayford 1965 David Evennett Conservative
Shirley Williams Crosby (elected as SDP) Secretary of State for Education and Science (1976–1979) 1981 Malcolm Thornton Conservative
Conservative David Myles Banffshire (contested Orkney and Shetland) 1979 Jim Wallace Liberal
Iain Sproat Aberdeen South (contested Roxburgh and Berwickshire) 1970 Archy Kirkwood Liberal
Delwyn Williams Montgomeryshire 1979 Alex Carlile Liberal
Hamish Gray Ross and Cromarty (contested Ross, Cromarty and Skye) Minister of State for Energy (1979–1983) 1970 Charles Kennedy SDP
Independent Ben Ford [12] Bradford North 1964 Geoffrey Lawler Conservative
Arthur Lewis [12] Newham North West 1945 Tony Banks Labour
Michael O'Halloran [12] Islington North 1969 Jeremy Corbyn Labour
Gerry Fitt [14] Belfast West 1966 Gerry Adams Sinn Féin
Sinn Féin Owen Carron Fermanagh and South Tyrone 1981 Ken Maginnis Ulster Unionist
Liberal Bill Pitt Croydon North West 1981 Humfrey Malins Conservative

Tables of target seats

Conservative targets

RankConstituency1983 winner
1 Isle of Wight Alliance
2 Oxford East Conservative
3 Cunninghame North Conservative
4 Corby Conservative
5 Nottingham East Conservative
6 Hertfordshire West Conservative
7 Mitcham and Morden Conservative
8 Derbyshire South Conservative
9 Leicestershire North West Conservative
10 Southampton Itchen Conservative
11 Halifax Conservative
12 Stockton South Alliance
13 Lewisham West Conservative
14 Edmonton Conservative
15 Stevenage Conservative
16 York Conservative
17 Darlington Conservative
18 Ceredigion and Pembroke North Alliance
19 Inverness, Nairn and Lochaber Alliance
20 Bridgend Conservative

Labour targets

To regain an overall majority, Labour needed to make at least 65 gains.

RankConstituency1983 winner
1 Birmingham Northfield Conservative
2 Bury South Conservative
3 Dulwich Conservative
4 Liverpool Broadgreen Labour
5 Nottingham South Conservative
6 Aberdeen South Conservative
7 Stirling Conservative
8 Hornchurch Conservative
9 Luton South Conservative
10 Calder Valley Conservative
11 Pendle Conservative
12 Bolton North East Conservative
13 Cardiff Central Conservative
14 Croydon North West Conservative
15 Fulham Conservative
16 Cambridge Conservative
17 Birmingham Erdington Labour
18 Dudley West Conservative
19 Welwyn Hatfield Conservative
20 Glasgow Cathcart Labour

SDP–Liberal Alliance targets

RankConstituency1983 winner
1 Roxburgh and Berwickshire Alliance
2 Richmond and Barnes Conservative
3 Montgomeryshire Alliance
4 Chelmsford Conservative
5 Wiltshire North Conservative
6 Cornwall North Conservative
7 Hereford Conservative
8 Colne Valley Alliance
9 Gordon Alliance
10 Southport Conservative
11 Salisbury Conservative
12 Devon North Conservative
13 Gainsborough and Horncastle Conservative
14 Cornwall South East Conservative
15 Clwyd South West Conservative
16 Liverpool Broadgreen Labour
17 Newbury Conservative
18 Yeovil Alliance
19 Pudsey Conservative
20 Ross, Cromarty and Skye Alliance

See also

Notes

  1. Results for the Liberals only. The SDP did not contest
  2. 1 2 3 Includes boundary change—so this is a nominal figure.
  3. Includes official Liberal candidates who were not given national Alliance endorsement in three constituencies: Liverpool Broadgreen, Hackney South and Shoreditch, and Hammersmith.
  4. The SDP–Liberal Alliance vote is compared with the Liberal Party vote in the 1979 election.
  5. The Independent Unionist elected in the 1979 election defended and held his seat for the Ulster Popular Unionist Party. The United Ulster Unionist Party dissolved and its sole MP did not re-stand.
  6. The Independent Republican elected in the 1979 election died in 1981. In the ensuring by-election the seat was won by Bobby Sands, an Anti-H-Block/Armagh Political Prisoner who then died and was succeeded by an Anti-H-Block Proxy Political Prisoner candidate Owen Carron. He defended and lost his seat standing for Sinn Féin who contested seats in Northern Ireland for the first time since 1959.
  7. This election was fought under revised boundaries. The changes reflect those comparing to the notional results on the new boundaries. One significant change was the increase in the number of seats allocated to Northern Ireland from 12 to 17.
  8. Benn did not serve during his Viscountcy between 1960 and 1963.

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Roy Jenkins</span> British politician, historian and writer (1920–2003)

Roy Harris Jenkins, Baron Jenkins of Hillhead, was a British politician who served as President of the European Commission from 1977 to 1981. At various times a Member of Parliament (MP) for the Labour Party, Social Democratic Party (SDP) and the Liberal Democrats, he was Chancellor of the Exchequer and Home Secretary under the Wilson and Callaghan Governments.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Politics of the United Kingdom</span> Political system of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

The United Kingdom is a unitary state with devolution that is governed within the framework of a parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarchy in which the monarch, currently Charles III, King of the United Kingdom, is the head of state while the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, currently Liz Truss, is the head of government. Executive power is exercised by the British government, on behalf of and by the consent of the monarch, and the devolved governments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Legislative power is vested in the two chambers of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, the House of Commons and the House of Lords, as well as in the Scottish and Welsh parliaments. The British political system is a two party system. Since the 1920s, the two dominant parties have been the Conservative Party and the Labour Party. Before the Labour Party rose in British politics, the Liberal Party was the other major political party, along with the Conservatives. While coalition and minority governments have been an occasional feature of parliamentary politics, the first-past-the-post electoral system used for general elections tends to maintain the dominance of these two parties, though each has in the past century relied upon a third party, such as the Liberal Democrats, to deliver a working majority in Parliament. A Conservative–Liberal Democrat coalition government held office from 2010 until 2015, the first coalition since 1945. The coalition ended following parliamentary elections on 7 May 2015, in which the Conservative Party won an outright majority of seats, 330 of the 650 seats in the House of Commons, while their coalition partners lost all but eight seats.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">1992 United Kingdom general election</span> April 1992 general election

The 1992 United Kingdom general election was held on Thursday 9 April 1992, to elect 651 members to the House of Commons. The election resulted in the fourth consecutive victory for the Conservative Party since 1979 and would be the last time that the Conservatives would win an overall majority at a general election until 2015. It was also the last general election to be held on a day which did not coincide with any local elections until 2017. This election result took many by surprise, as opinion polling leading up to the election day had shown the Labour Party, under leader Neil Kinnock, consistently, if narrowly, ahead.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">1987 United Kingdom general election</span>

The 1987 United Kingdom general election was held on Thursday, 11 June 1987, to elect 650 members to the House of Commons. The election was the third consecutive general election victory for the Conservative Party, and second landslide under the leadership of Margaret Thatcher, who became the first Prime Minister since the Earl of Liverpool in 1820 to lead a party into three successive electoral victories.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">SDP–Liberal Alliance</span> Electoral alliance in the United Kingdom

The SDP–Liberal Alliance was a centrist and social liberal political and electoral alliance in the United Kingdom.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">David Owen</span> British politician (born 1938)

David Anthony Llewellyn Owen, Baron Owen, is a British politician and physician who served as Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs as a Labour Party MP under James Callaghan from 1977 to 1979.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">2005 United Kingdom general election</span>

The 2005 United Kingdom general election was held on Thursday 5 May 2005, to elect 646 members to the House of Commons. The Labour Party, led by Tony Blair, won its third consecutive victory, with Blair becoming the second Labour leader after Harold Wilson to form three majority governments. However, its majority fell to 66 seats compared to the 167-seat majority it had won four years before. This was the first time the Labour Party had won a third consecutive election, and remains the party's most recent general election victory.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Social Democratic Party (UK, 1988)</span> Political party in the United Kingdom (1988-90)

The Social Democratic Party (SDP) formed in 1988 was a political party in the United Kingdom led by David Owen which lasted for only two years. The party was formed as a result of the original Social Democratic Party, created in 1981 by the "Gang of Four" voting to turn its electoral alliance with the Liberal Party into a full merger of the two parties. The new Social and Liberal Democrats (SLD) party thus gained all of the records and assets of the original SDP.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">1982 Beaconsfield by-election</span>

The 1982 Beaconsfield by-election was a parliamentary by-election held on 27 May 1982 for the British House of Commons constituency of Beaconsfield in Buckinghamshire.

The 1981 Labour Party deputy leadership election took place on 27 September 1981 when Tony Benn unsuccessfully challenged the incumbent deputy leader Denis Healey at the party conference. Healey had been elected unopposed as deputy leader in the previous year.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">1982 Glasgow Hillhead by-election</span>

A Glasgow Hillhead by-election was held on 25 March 1982. The by-election was caused by the death of the Conservative Party Member of Parliament for Glasgow Hillhead Tam Galbraith on 2 January 1982.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">1981 Crosby by-election</span>

The 1981 Crosby by-election was a by-election held in England on 26 November 1981 to elect a new Member of Parliament (MP) for the House of Commons constituency of Crosby on Merseyside. It followed the death of Crosby's MP Sir Graham Page, of the Conservative Party.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">First Thatcher ministry</span> Thatchers first ministry

Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 4 May 1979 to 28 November 1990, during which time she led a Conservative majority government. She was the first woman to hold that office. During her premiership, Thatcher moved to liberalise the British economy through deregulation, privatisation, and the promotion of entrepreneurialism.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Second Thatcher ministry</span>

Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 4 May 1979 to 28 November 1990, during which time she led a Conservative majority government. She was the first woman to hold that office. During her premiership, Thatcher moved to liberalise the British economy through deregulation, privatisation, and the promotion of entrepreneurialism.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">1982 United Kingdom local elections</span>

Local elections were held in the United Kingdom in 1982. The elections coincided with rising popularity of the Conservative government and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, which was mostly attributed to the Falklands War. The projected share of the vote was Conservatives 40%, Labour 29%, Liberal-SDP Alliance 27%.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">1983 United Kingdom local elections</span>

Local elections were held in the United Kingdom in 1983. The results were a success for Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who soon afterwards called a general election in which the Conservatives won a landslide victory. The projected share of the vote was Conservative 39%, Labour Party 36%, Liberal-SDP Alliance 20%.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">1987 United Kingdom local elections</span>

Local elections were held in the United Kingdom in 1987. The projected share of the vote was Conservatives 38%, Labour 32%, Liberal-SDP Alliance 27%. It was the first time since 1983 that the Conservatives had enjoyed the largest share of the vote in local council elections.

This is a summary of the electoral history of Margaret Thatcher, who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990 and Leader of the Conservative Party from 1975 to 1990. She was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Finchley from 1959 to 1992.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Social Democratic Party (UK)</span> Political party in the United Kingdom (1981–88)

The Social Democratic Party (SDP) was a centrist to centre-left political party in the United Kingdom. The party supported a mixed economy, electoral reform, European integration and a decentralised state while rejecting the possibility of trade unions being overly influential within the industrial sphere. The SDP officially advocated "social democracy", but its actual propensity is evaluated as close to social liberalism.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Gang of 25</span> Group of British Conservative Party backbench MPs

The Gang of 25 or the Group of 25 was a cohort of British Conservative Party backbench members of Parliament (MPs) that threatened to vote against prime minister Margaret Thatcher's 1981 Autumn Statement. The statement contained monetarist measures to control inflation. Similar measures introduced since 1979 had reduced inflation but caused job losses in the manufacturing sector.

References

  1. "Baroness Margaret Thatcher", gov.uk , retrieved 2 July 2018
  2. 1 2 "1983: Thatcher triumphs again", BBC News, 5 April 2005, retrieved 22 March 2015
  3. Vaidyanathan, Rajini (4 March 2010), "Michael Foot: What did the 'longest suicide note' say?", BBC News , retrieved 22 March 2015
  4. Election 1983 Part 1 on YouTube
  5. 1 2 Julian Haviland (1983). "The June 1983 Election Campaign:Conservative lead was never challenged". The Times Guide to the House of Commons June 1983. London: Times Books Ltd. p. 23. ISBN   0-7230-0255-X.
  6. Parkhouse, Geoffrey (27 April 1983). "Go for June election, agents urge Thatcher". The Glasgow Herald. p. 1. Retrieved 11 July 2020.
  7. White, Michael (11 April 2005), "Michael White on 35 years of covering elections", The Guardian, retrieved 23 June 2018
  8. Richards, Steve (2021). The Prime Ministers We Never Had; Success and Failure from Butler to Corbyn. London: Atlantic Books. pp. 70–71. ISBN   978 1 83895 241 9.
  9. Richards, Steve (2021). The Prime Ministers We Never Had; Success and Failure from Butler to Corbyn. London: Atlantic Books. p. 71. ISBN   978 1 83895 241 9.
  10. Julian Haviland (1983). "The June 1983 Election Campaign:Conservative lead was never challenged". The Times Guide to the House of Commons June 1983. London: Times Books Ltd. p. 26. ISBN   0-7230-0255-X.
  11. Craig, F.W.S. (1983). The BBC/ITN Guide to the New Parliamentary Constituencies. Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. ISBN   978 0 90017 814 6.
  12. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 Elected as a Labour MP
  13. Elected as a Conservative Party
  14. Elected as a SDLP MP

Further reading

Manifestos