British general election, 1796

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Great Britain general election, 1796
Kingdom of Great Britain
← 1790 25 May to 29 June 1796 1801 →

All 558 seats of the House of Commons
280 seats were needed for a majority
  First party Second party
  William Pitt the Younger 2.jpg Charles James Fox00.jpg
Leader William Pitt Charles James Fox
Party Pittites Foxite
Leader's seat Cambridge University Westminster

Prime Minister before election

William Pitt the Younger

Subsequent Prime Minister

William Pitt the Younger

The British general election, 1796, returned members to serve in the 18th and last House of Commons of the Parliament of Great Britain to be summoned before the formation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on 1 January 1801. The members in office in Great Britain at the end of 1800 continued to serve in the first Parliament of the United Kingdom 1801–1802.

Political situation[edit]

Great Britain had been at war with France since 1792. The Prime Minister since 1783, William Pitt the Younger, led a broad wartime coalition of Whig and Tory politicians.

The principal opposition to Pitt was a relatively weak faction of Whigs, led by Charles James Fox. For four years after 1797 opposition attendance at Westminster was sporadic as Fox pursued a strategy of secession from Parliament. Only a small group, led by George Tierney, had attended frequently to oppose the ministers. As Foord observes "only once did the minority reach seventy-five, and it was often less than ten".

Dates of Election[edit]

The period between the first and last returns was 25 May–29 June 1796.

Summary of the Constituencies[edit]

Key to categories in the following tables: BC - Borough/Burgh constituencies, CC - County constituencies, UC - University constituencies, Total C - Total constituencies, BMP - Borough/Burgh Members of Parliament, CMP - County Members of Parliament, UMP - University Members of Parliament.

Monmouthshire (One County constituency with two members and one single member Borough constituency) is included in Wales in these tables. Sources for this period may include the county in England.

Table 1: Constituencies and Members, by type and country

Country BC CC UC Total C BMP CMP UMP Total Members
England 202 39 2 243 404 78 4 486
Wales 13 13 0 26 13 14 0 27
Scotland 15 30 0 45 15 30 0 45
Total 230 82 2 314 432 122 4 558

Table 2: Number of seats per constituency, by type and country

Country BC×1 BC×2 BC×4 CC×1 CC×2 UC×2 Total C
England 4 196 2 0 39 2 243
Wales 13 0 0 12 1 0 26
Scotland 15 0 0 30 0 0 45
Total 32 196 2 42 40 2 314


(Dates of Elections) Footnote to Table 5.02 British Electoral Facts 1832-1999, compiled and edited by Colin Rallings and Michael Thrasher (Ashgate Publishing Ltd 2000).

(Types of constituencies - British Historical Facts 1760-1830, by Chris Cook and John Stevenson (The Macmillan Press 1980).

See also[edit]


  • His Majesty's Opposition 1714-1830, by Archibald S. Foord (Oxford University Press 1964)
  • British Electoral Facts 1832-1999, compiled and edited by Colin Rallings and Michael Thrasher (Ashgate Publishing Ltd 2000). (For dates of elections before 1832, see the footnote to Table 5.02).