List of United Kingdom general elections

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For information on UK elections in general, see Elections in the United Kingdom.
For voting figures in general elections from 1922, see United Kingdom general elections overview.

This is a list of United Kingdom general elections (elections for the UK House of Commons) since the first in 1802. The members of the 1801–1802 Parliament had been elected to the former Parliament of Great Britain and Parliament of Ireland, before being co-opted to serve in the first Parliament of the United Kingdom, so that Parliament is not included in the table below.

Election results[edit]

Shares of the vote in general elections since 1832 received by Conservatives[1] (blue), Liberals/Liberal Democrats[2] (orange), Labour (red) and others (grey).[3][4]

In 1801 the right to vote in the United Kingdom was a severely restricted practice. Universal suffrage, on an equal basis for men and women over the age of 21, was established in 1929. Before 1918, general elections did not occur on a single day and polling was spread over several weeks. The date given in the table for elections prior to 1918 is the date Parliament assembled after the election, which could be in the year after the general election.

The majority figure given is for the difference between the number of MPs elected at the general election from the party (or parties) of the government, as opposed to all other parties (some of which may have been giving some support to the government, but were not participating in a coalition). The Speaker is excluded from the calculation. If the party in office changed the figure is re-calculated, but no allowance is made for changes after the general election. No attempt is made to define a majority before 1832, when the Reform Act disenfranchised the rotten boroughs; before then the Tory party had an undemocratically entrenched dominance. Particularly in the early part of the period the complexity of factional alignments, with both the Whig and Tory traditions tending to have some members in government and others in opposition factions simultaneously, make it impossible to produce an accurate majority figure. The figures between 1832 and about 1859 are approximate due to problems of defining what was a party in government, as the source provides figures for all Liberals rather than just the Whig component in what developed into the Liberal Party. The Whig and Peelite Prime Ministers in the table below are regarded as having the support of all Liberals.


Election Date Prime Minister(s) (during term) Winning Party Majority Turnout (%)[5] Notes
1802 (MPs) 22 July 1802 Henry Addington
William Pitt the Younger [6]
The Lord Grenville
Tory
Tory (Pittite who called himself a Whig)
Whig
...
1806 (MPs) 17 November 1806 The Lord Grenville
The Duke of Portland
Whig
Tory (Pittite who called himself a Whig)
...
1807 (MPs) 22 June 1807 The Duke of Portland
Spencer Perceval [7]
The Earl of Liverpool
Tory (Pittite who called himself a Whig)
Tory
Tory
...
1812 (MPs) 24 November 1812 The Earl of Liverpool Tory ...
1818 (MPs) 4 August 1818 The Earl of Liverpool Tory ...
1820 (MPs) 16 January 1821 The Earl of Liverpool Tory ...
1826 (MPs) 19 June 1826 The Earl of Liverpool
George Canning [8]
The Viscount Goderich
The Duke of Wellington
Tory
Tory
Tory
Tory
...
1830 (MPs) 9 August 1830 The Duke of Wellington [9]
The Earl Grey
Tory
Whig
...
1831 (MPs) 25 July 1831 The Earl Grey Whig 136
At this point, the Reform Act 1832 gave suffrage to propertied male adults and disenfranchised almost all of the rotten boroughs.
1832 (MPs) 29 January 1833 The Earl Grey
The Viscount Melbourne [10]
The Duke of Wellington
Sir Robert Peel
Whig
Whig
Conservative
Conservative
225 (L)
-308 (C)
1835 (MPs) 19 February 1835 Sir Robert Peel [11]
The Viscount Melbourne
Conservative
Whig
-113 (C)
113 (L)
1837 (MPs) 15 November 1837 The Viscount Melbourne [12] Whig 29
1841 (MPs) 19 August 1841 The Viscount Melbourne [13]
Sir Robert Peel [14]
Lord John Russell
Whig
Conservative
Whig

77
1847 (MPs) 9 August 1847 Lord John Russell [15]
The Earl of Derby
Whig
Conservative
−72
1852 (MPs) 4 November 1852 The Earl of Derby [16]
The Earl of Aberdeen [17]
The Viscount Palmerston
Conservative
Peelite
Whig
7
1857 (MPs) 30 April 1857 The Viscount Palmerston [18]
The Earl of Derby
Whig
Conservative
100
1859 (MPs) 31 May 1859 The Earl of Derby [19]
The Viscount Palmerston
Conservative
Liberal

59
1865 (MPs) 11 July 1865 The Viscount Palmerston [20]
The Earl Russell [21]
The Earl of Derby
Benjamin Disraeli
Liberal
Liberal
Conservative
Conservative
81
At this point, the Reform Act 1867 significantly widened the suffrage and disenfranchised more smaller boroughs.
1868 (MPs) 10 December 1868 William Ewart Gladstone Liberal 115
1874 (MPs) 5 March 1874 Benjamin Disraeli Conservative 49
1880 (MPs) 29 April 1880 William Ewart Gladstone [22]
The Marquess of Salisbury
Liberal
Conservative
51
At this point, the Representation of the People Act 1884 extended the borough franchise of 1867 to the counties,
increasing the electorate to about 5,500,000 men.
1885 (MPs) 12 January 1886 The Marquess of Salisbury [23]
William Ewart Gladstone [24]
Conservative
Liberal
−172
1886 (MPs) 5 August 1886 The Marquess of Salisbury Conservative 116
1892 (MPs) 4 August 1892 The Marquess of Salisbury [25]
William Ewart Gladstone
The Earl of Rosebery [26]
The Marquess of Salisbury [27]
Conservative
Liberal
Liberal
Conservative

−126

1895 (MPs) 12 August 1895 The Marquess of Salisbury Conservative 153
1900 (MPs) 3 December 1900 The Marquess of Salisbury
Arthur Balfour
Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman [28]
Conservative
Conservative
Liberal
135
The "khaki" election.
1906 (MPs) 13 February 1906 Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman
H. H. Asquith
Liberal 129
January 1910 (MPs) 15 February 1910 H. H. Asquith Liberal −122
December 1910 (MPs) 31 January 1911 H. H. Asquith
David Lloyd George
Liberal −126
The Parliament Act 1911 reduced the maximum life of a Parliament from seven years to five, however the election that would have been due by 1915 as a result of the Act was not held due to World War I (1914-1918)

At this point, the Representation of the People Act 1918 gave suffrage to most of the adult population (men over 21, women over 30).

1918 (MPs) 14 December 1918 David Lloyd George
Andrew Bonar Law [29]
Liberal (Coalition Government)
Conservative
238
57.2
The "coupon" election
1922 (MPs) 15 November 1922 Andrew Bonar Law
Stanley Baldwin
Conservative 74 73
1923 (MPs) 6 December 1923 Stanley Baldwin [30]
Ramsay MacDonald
Conservative
Labour

−98
71.1
1924 (MPs) 29 October 1924 Stanley Baldwin Conservative 210 77
At this point, the Representation of the People Act 1928 gave universal suffrage to the adult population over 21.
1929 (MPs) 30 May 1929 Ramsay MacDonald Labour −42 76.3 The "flapper" election
1931 (MPs) 27 October 1931 Ramsay MacDonald National Labour (National Government) 492 76.4
1935 (MPs) 14 November 1935 Stanley Baldwin
Neville Chamberlain
Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
Conservative (National Government)
Conservative (National Government)
Conservative (Wartime Coalition)
Conservative (Caretaker Government)
242
242
609
242
71.1
The election due by 1940 was not held due to World War II (1939-1945)
1945 (MPs) 5 July 1945 Clement Attlee Labour 146 72.8
At this point, the Representation of the People Act 1948 abolished plural voting,
university constituencies and the few remaining two member constituencies.
1950 (MPs) 23 February 1950 Clement Attlee Labour 5 83.9
1951 (MPs) 25 October 1951 Sir Winston Churchill
Sir Anthony Eden
Conservative 17 82.6
1955 (MPs) 26 May 1955 Sir Anthony Eden
Harold Macmillan
Conservative 60 76.8
1959 (MPs) 8 October 1959 Harold Macmillan
Sir Alec Douglas-Home
Conservative 100 78.7
1964 (MPs) 15 October 1964 Harold Wilson Labour 4 77.1
1966 (MPs) 31 March 1966 Harold Wilson Labour 98 75.8
At this point, the Representation of the People Act 1969 gave suffrage to the adult population over 18.
1970 (MPs) 18 June 1970 Edward Heath Conservative 30 72
February 1974 (MPs) 28 February 1974 Harold Wilson Labour (minority government) −33 78.8 Hung Parliament
October 1974 (MPs) 10 October 1974 Harold Wilson
James Callaghan
Labour 3 72.8
1979 (MPs) 3 May 1979 Margaret Thatcher Conservative 43 76
1983 (MPs) 9 June 1983 Margaret Thatcher Conservative 144 72.7
1987 (MPs) 11 June 1987 Margaret Thatcher
John Major
Conservative 102 75.3
1992 (MPs) 9 April 1992 John Major Conservative 21 77.7
1997 (MPs) 1 May 1997 Tony Blair Labour 179 71.4
2001 (MPs) 7 June 2001 Tony Blair Labour 167 59.4
2005 (MPs) 5 May 2005 Tony Blair
Gordon Brown
Labour 66 61.4
2010 (MPs) 6 May 2010[31] David Cameron Conservative (formed coalition with Liberal Democrats) 78 65.1 Hung Parliament
At this point, the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 was passed. Elections are now every 5 years, barring parliamentary vote. Prior to this, the election could be called at any point the Prime Minister wished.
Next general election By 7 May 2015

Note: A negative majority means that there was a hung parliament (or minority parliament) following that election. For example, in the 1929 election, Labour was 42 seats short of forming a majority, and so its majority is listed as −42. In the case of the 2010 election, the combined majority for the coalition was 78.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Including Tory (1832), Conservative (from 1835), Liberal Conservative (1847–59), Liberal Unionist (1886–1910), National parties (1931–45).
  2. ^ Including Whig (to mid-19th century), Liberal (mid-19th century to 1979), National Liberal (1922), Independent Liberal (1931), SDP-Liberal Alliance (1983–87) and Liberal Democrat (from 1992).
  3. ^ Table 2.01 "Summary Results of General Elections 1832–2005 (UK)", British electoral facts, 1832–2006, by Colin Rallings and Michael Thrasher, 7th edition, 2007, ISBN 978-0-7546-2712-8, p. 59.
  4. ^ Election 2010 Results, BBC News.
  5. ^ Rogers, Simon (2012-11-16). "UK election historic turnouts since 1918 | News". theguardian.com. Retrieved 2013-10-05. 
  6. ^ Died in office.
  7. ^ Was murdered in office.
  8. ^ Died in office.
  9. ^ Was defeated on a motion to examine the accounts of the Civil List on 15 November 1830 and resigned on 16 November
  10. ^ Was dismissed by William IV on 14 November 1834
  11. ^ Was defeated on a report on the Irish Church on 7 April 1835 and resigned on 8 April
  12. ^ Was defeated on a motion of no confidence on 4 June 1841 and advised the Queen to dissolve Parliament, which she did on 23 June
  13. ^ Ministry met the Commons, but was defeated on an amendment to the Address on 27 August 1841 and resigned on 30 August
  14. ^ Was defeated on an Irish Coercion Bill on 25 June 1846 and resigned on 29 June
  15. ^ Was defeated on a militia Bill on 20 February 1852 and resigned on 23 February
  16. ^ Was defeated on the Budget on 16 December 1852 and resigned on 19 December
  17. ^ Was defeated on a vote in favour of a select committee to enquire into alleged mismanagement during the Crimean War on 29 January 1855 and resigned the next day
  18. ^ Was defeated on a Bill, which made it a felony to plot in Britain to murder someone abroad, on 19 February 1858 and resigned on the same day
  19. ^ Ministry met the Commons, but was defeated on an amendment to the Address on 10 June 1859 and resigned on 11 June
  20. ^ Died in office
  21. ^ Was defeated on Parliamentary reform proposals on 18 June 1866 and resigned on 26 June
  22. ^ Was defeated on the Budget on 8 June 1885 and resigned the next day
  23. ^ Met the Commons, but was defeated on an amendment to the Address on 26 January 1886 and resigned on 28 January
  24. ^ Was defeated on the Government of Ireland Bill on 7 June 1886 and advised the Queen to dissolve Parliament, which she did on 26 June.
  25. ^ Met the Commons, but was defeated on an amendment to the Address on 11 August 1892 and resigned the same day
  26. ^ Was defeated on the Cordite Vote on 21 June 1895 and resigned that day
  27. ^ Became Prime Minister on 25 June 1895 and immediately advised the dissolution of Parliament
  28. ^ Became Prime Minister on 5 December 1905 and immediately advised the dissolution of Parliament
  29. ^ Became Prime Minister on 23 October 1922 and immediately advised the dissolution of Parliament
  30. ^ Met the Commons, but was defeated on an amendment to the Address on 21 January 1924 and resigned the next day
  31. ^ "Gordon Brown calls 6 May general election". BBC News. 6 April 2010. Retrieved 6 April 2010.