Talk:United Kingdom general election, 1997

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Is it me, or does the table say that the Lib Dems got over 45 million votes? Does anyone know the real figure?

OK, I found it. It's OK now.

Two points:

1). This election took place under boundary changes. All the news agencies at the time and practically all political commentators/writers agreed with the "notional" results which were the 1992 results projected onto the new boundaries - should the list reflect this?

The most obvious example I can spot where it doesn't is the Democratic Unionist Party - they won three seats in the 1992 actual election (North Antrim, East Belfast and Mid Ulster) but under the boundary changes Mid Ulster was effectively split in two and the new West Tyrone seat was nominally theirs on the 1992 results (though they did not actually contest it as part of a local pact with the Ulster Unionists who had established a stronger claim in the 1996 Northern Ireland Forum elections which were held on the new boundaries). Throughout the rest of the UK there were a lot of other seats where the boundaries changed in one direction or another.

2). Surely the Northern Ireland Conservatives should be included in the main Conservative total? They are a part of the UK wide party. Neither the 1992 (the first election they contested since since the 1970s) or 2001 elections have the totals separate.

Whither Martin Bell? There don't seem to be any independent MPs on the table...

Not merely should the NI Conservatives be included with the UK total, the 'Loyal Conservative' should be removed, and the 'New Labour' candidates removed from Labour Party. None of these were official candidates. One of the 'New Labour' candidates was the son of a Conservative MP and was widely believed to have stood only as a spoiler. For an accurate table, see 'British Electoral Facts 1832-1999' by Rallings and Thrasher, or

I've updated the list to include Martin Bell and The Speaker. I've also changed the seat gains and losses to reflect the boundary changes - the online list I have to hand is at

The only gains and losses that I think may raise eyebrows are:

  • The Speaker Gain 1 - this is because at the 1992 General Election the then Speaker retired and so none won a seat as the Speaker. At most elections it's just the Speaker has a net hold of 1.
  • DUP Losing 1 - This refers to West Tyrone a new seat that they didn't contest - see above for the reasons. It's considered a DUP loss because in 1992 they won the most votes in the area it covers - most of it came from the old Mid Ulster seat in fact it contains more of that seat than the new Mid Ulster seat) and some from Foyle.

Timrollpickering 18:49, 18 May 2004 (UTC)

Conservative leader[edit]

The article doesn't say who was the Conservative leader at the time of the election. Who was it, Major or Hague? Richardrj 20:57, 25 April 2006 (UTC)

It was Major, he was PM until Blair took over (Hague was never PM). Major announced his resignation as leader of the Conservatives the day immediately after the election, iirc. Not sure if Major as leader merits inclusion in the main article or not. --Lost tourist 20:15, 4 October 2006 (UTC)

So was Major ever officially Leader of the Opposition?

When Blair was elected PM yes he was because he was still, however a short time it was until Hague took over, leader of the Conservatives. 17:40, 28 December 2006 (UTC)
Hague got elected about 7 weeks after the election. Major only ever really did the Opposition leader's job on the one occasion - in the Queen's Speech debate, he gave the official Opposition response. After that, different candidates got to strut their stuff at PMQs opposite Blair until Hague's win. (talk) 00:52, 25 May 2010 (UTC)
No Major did PMQs, but it didn't attract much attention, in the same way that Harman's current brief stint is unlikely to be loom large in memory in the 2020s. Timrollpickering (talk) 02:56, 9 July 2010 (UTC)


What was the turnout percentage? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 01:54, 2 January 2007 (UTC).


Should the table contain the number of candidates in this election per party? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 10:03, 18 March 2007 (UTC).

Inappropriate quote[edit]

Someone keeps adding

" The officer class of the Major years was swept away in its dozens - cabinet ministers, middle ranking ministers, the chairman of the Tory [Conservative] backbenchers, former ministers, would-be party leaders, the corrupt and the uncorrupt, the known and the unknown too. The cull respected no reputation and no faction, but it was effectively a vast public repudiation and punishment of a party which had squandered its election victory of 1992 in an orgy of nationalism and incompetence." The Guardian, Friday 2 May 1997

to the top of the article. This gives an opinion, while its placing gives it no context or commentary, which should never be done. It is therefore not appropriate in this position. Warofdreams talk 13:21, 29 June 2007 (UTC)

No context? What are you on about? It gives plenty of context- the near destruction of the oldest and most established party Great Britain- thats something that cannot highlighted more in this quote- 'very large' is too clinical- I think a sense of the enormous scale is missing because of people like you, warofdreams

You misread what I write. The quote itself does give some context. The problem is that the quote is not placed in context within the article. A quote such as this represents an opinion, and if it is sufficiently notable to include in the article, it needs to have context to explain what other opinions exist on the matter, and why this one is of note. Warofdreams talk 01:00, 2 July 2007 (UTC)

It is indeed inappropriate, Major did not come from the Officer class at all, and as such is nothing more than Tory bashing by the Guardian. I think the quote must be wrong as well, since when did the Guardian not have a spelling mistake? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:14, 3 September 2007 (UTC)

John Major grew up in a poor family in Brixton, went to grammar school and did not attend any kind of university. Weak and incompetent might be fair comment, but there's no way he could possibly be described as officer class. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:57, 16 February 2008 (UTC)

This reads like a magazine article...[edit]

... and doesn't have the right tone. It needs cleaning up. I'll try to get to it at some point, but if someone else wants to, go right ahead. Evilteuf 15:52, 24 July 2007 (UTC)

Loss, Hold, Gain, and Regain[edit]

I noticed that the sitting MP in Christchurch Dorset, Diana Maddock (Lib Dem), lost to Christopher Chope (Con) see: Christchurch_(UK_Parliament_constituency). So I would expect to see at least one gain for the conservative party, but there is none on this page. I can only presume that this is because at the previous (1987) general election was won by Robert Adley who was also a conservative, and who died in 1993 when Diana Maddock was first elected. So it would seem a gain means a win compared to the previous general election results rather than the last bi-election which seems wrong to me. I noticed from an old tape I have of the BBC election coverage that they described this seat as a "regain" rather than a "gain", but I also note that several other lists on the net show it as a Con Hold. Well, if I understand this all correctly it seems very misleading. A regain seems a lot more like a gain than a hold, and for a conservative to take a seat from a liberal in the 1997 election was surely a minor minor miracle for the time. So I really do wonder if this table contains the correct information. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Nsmith999 (talkcontribs) 11:45, 5 November 2007 (UTC)

Okay the first big problem is that there were new boundaries. So some of the by-election changes had seen the constituencies renamed or even abolished and that makes it very hard to declare what the change is. Secondly by-elections are increasingly regarded as one-off elections where the swing is wild and over the next few general elections the voting settles down. In many parliaments parties have gained by-elections then lost the seat come the next general election, reflecting the "protest vote" nature of them. The interest in general elections is how far a party has advanced or retreated since the last general election and that can't be done with pick & mix results. Timrollpickering 12:21, 5 November 2007 (UTC)

Anachronistic Art[edit]

Would be better to have a mug shot of Tony Blair circa 1997. He's too old in that shot. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:33, 22 April 2009 (UTC)


Why was the general election not in 1996 because it should be every four years?

Was it to do with Euro 96?

Mr Hall of England (talk) 21:11, 29 January 2010 (UTC)

The UK does not have fixed-term parliaments; the maximum length is five years: (talk) 07:53, 7 May 2010 (UTC)


Labour total includes New Labour and "Labour Time for Change" candidates; Conservative total includes... "Loyal Conservative" candidate.

Did we ever sort this out? None of these candidates were party candidates and they were all standing against them. The election law at the time basically allowed every candidate (or their agent) the right to use whatever "party name" they chose, and the 1990s saw a series of unofficial and "spoiler" candidates with deliberately confusing names such as "Liberal Democrat Top Choice for Parliament" or "Literal Democrat", who aimed variously to either take votes away from an official party candidate to help an opponent, make a political point (was the "Loyal Conservative" standing against a prominent party rebel?) or just cause disruption. The Registration of Political Parties Act 1998 put an end to such practices. Timrollpickering (talk) 03:02, 9 July 2010 (UTC)

List of defeated Conservatives[edit]

The list of defeated Conservatives shows the constituencies they held prior to 1997. I think that the list should name the constituency they fought in 1997, (eg. Norman Lamont would be listed as Harrogate and Knaresborough rather than Kingston-upon-Thames). Any thoughts on this? Cooltrainer Hugh (talk) 19:24, 1 February 2011 (UTC)

General Election Map[edit]

Is it possible for a brand new election map to be made that could more clearly show how the United Kingdom voted in 1997 especially as it is seen as a historic general election as I don't think the current map looks small and out of place. Also if a new map was made could it include Northern Ireland as well. (MOTORAL1987 (talk) 13:14, 29 September 2011 (UTC))

I have removed the map for this as it was wildly inaccurate. (see here: ) A revised map would be welcome. Marplesmustgo (talk) 13:01, 6 February 2014 (UTC)