The economic crisis after 1929 led to a political crisis in mid-1931 and MacDonald failed to secure agreement in cabinet for his proposed cuts in 'outdoor relief' for the unemployed. MacDonald went to see King George V who persuaded him to form a National Government. In the General Election that followed MacDonald stood in Seaham as National Labour and was comfortably elected and continued to serve as a Prime Minister of a National Government that was predominantly Conservative-supported.
MacDonald retired as Prime Minister in 1935 but remained in the Cabinet. In the general election of 1935 he was resoundingly defeated at Seaham by Emanuel Shinwell, the official candidate of the Labour Party. Shinwell was re-elected in the Labour landslide at the 1945 election, and served as MP for Easington, the constituency that replaced Seaham after 1950.
Another General Election was required to take place before the end of 1940. The political parties had been making preparations for an election to take place and by the Autumn of 1939, the following candidates had been selected;