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1979 United Kingdom general election

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1979 United Kingdom general election

← Oct 1974 3 May 1979 1983 →

All 635 seats in the House of Commons
318 seats needed for a majority
Opinion polls
Turnout76.0%, Increase3.2%
  First party Second party Third party
Leader Margaret Thatcher James Callaghan David Steel
Party Conservative Labour Liberal
Leader since 11 February 1975 5 April 1976 7 July 1976
Leader's seat Finchley Cardiff South East Roxburgh, Selkirk
and Peebles
Last election 277 seats, 35.8% 319 seats, 39.2% 13 seats, 18.3%
Seats won 339 269[a] 11
Seat change Increase62 Decrease50 Decrease2
Popular vote 13,697,923 11,532,218 4,313,804
Percentage 43.9% 36.9% 13.8%
Swing Increase8.1% Decrease2.3% Decrease4.5%

Colours denote the winning party—as shown in § Results

Composition of the House of Commons after the election

Prime Minister before election

James Callaghan

Prime Minister after election

Margaret Thatcher

The 1979 United Kingdom general election was held on Thursday 3 May 1979 to elect 635 members to the House of Commons. The election was held following the defeat of the Labour government in a no-confidence motion on 28th March 1979, six months before the Parliament was due for dissolution in October 1979.

The Conservative Party, led by Margaret Thatcher, ousted the incumbent Labour government of Prime Minister James Callaghan, gaining a parliamentary majority of 44 seats. The election was the first of four consecutive election victories for the Conservative Party, and Thatcher became the United Kingdom's and Europe's first elected female head of government, marking the beginning of 18 years in government for the Conservatives and 18 years in opposition for Labour.

Unusually, the date chosen coincided with the 1979 local elections. The local government results provided some source of comfort to the Labour Party, who recovered some lost ground from local election reversals in previous years, despite losing the general election. The parish council elections were pushed back a few weeks.

The previous parliamentary term had begun in October 1974, when Harold Wilson led Labour to a majority of three seats, seven months after forming a minority government following a hung parliament and the failure of Edward Heath's Conservative government to form a coalition with the Liberals. Wilson had previously led the party in government from October 1964 to June 1970, and had served as party leader since February 1963.

However, after just two years back in Downing Street, he had resigned as prime minister, being succeeded by James Callaghan; and within a further year the government's narrow parliamentary majority had gone. Callaghan made agreements with the Liberals and later the Ulster Unionists, as well as the Scottish and Welsh nationalists, in order to remain in power. The Lib-Lab pact lasted until July 1978.

However, on 28 March 1979, following the defeat of the Scottish devolution referendum, Thatcher tabled a motion of no confidence in Callaghan's Labour government, which was passed by just one vote (311 to 310), triggering a general election six months before the end of the government's term. It was the first government to lose a motion of no-confidence in the House of Commons since the first Labour government led by Ramsay MacDonald in October 1924.

The Labour campaign was hampered by recent memories of a series of industrial disputes and strikes during the winter of 1978–79, known as the Winter of Discontent, and the party focused its campaign on support for the National Health Service and full employment. After intense media speculation that a general election would be held before the end of 1978, Callaghan had announced early in the autumn of that year that a general election would not take place that year, having received private polling data which suggested a parliamentary majority was unlikely.[1]

The Conservative campaign employed the advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi, and pledged to control inflation as well as curbing the power of the trade unions. The Conservatives also ran their campaign on the theme that "Labour Isn't Working" (unemployment reached a 40-year high of 1.5 million during 1978). The Liberal Party was damaged by allegations that Jeremy Thorpe, its former leader, had been involved in a homosexual affair and had conspired to murder his former lover. The Liberals were now being led by David Steel, meaning that all three major parties entered the election with a new leader.

The election saw a 5.2% swing from Labour to the Conservatives, the largest swing since the 1945 election, which Clement Attlee won for Labour. Margaret Thatcher became prime minister, and Callaghan was replaced as Labour leader by Michael Foot in 1980. The results of the election were broadcast live on the BBC, and presented by David Dimbleby and Robin Day, with Robert McKenzie on the "Swingometer", and further analysis provided by David Butler.[2] It was the first general election to feature Rick Wakeman's song "Arthur" during the BBC's coverage.

Because of the anaemic economic and social backdrop in this election, it presaged the 1980 United States presidential election 18 months later in which, in a situation with some parallels, incumbent US President Jimmy Carter was likewise defeated by Republican challenger Ronald Reagan, an advocate of similar socioeconomic policies to those of Margaret Thatcher's Britain.

Future Prime Minister John Major, who went on to succeed Thatcher in November 1990, entered Parliament at this election, retaining the Huntingdonshire seat in Cambridgeshire for the Conservatives. Prominent MPs Jeremy Thorpe, Shirley Williams and Barbara Castle were among the members of parliament who retired or lost their seats.


After suffering a vote of no confidence on 28 March 1979, Prime Minister James Callaghan was forced to announce that he would request a dissolution of Parliament to bring about a general election. The key dates were as follows:

Saturday 7 April Dissolution of the 47th Parliament and campaigning officially begins; 2,576 candidates enter to contest 635 seats
Wednesday 2 May Campaigning officially ends
Thursday 3 May Polling day
Friday 4 May The Conservative Party wins power with a majority of 44
Wednesday 9 May The 48th Parliament assembles
Tuesday 15 May State Opening of Parliament


Callaghan succeeded Harold Wilson as the Labour prime minister after the latter's surprise resignation in April 1976. By March 1977, Labour had become a minority government after two by-election defeats cost them the three-seat majority they had won in October 1974, and from March 1977 to August 1978 Callaghan governed by an agreement with the Liberal Party through the Lib–Lab pact. Callaghan had considered calling an election in the autumn of 1978,[3] but ultimately decided that imminent tax cuts, and a possible economic upturn in 1979, could favour his party at the polls and delayed the election until the following year. Although published opinion polls suggested that he might win,[4] private polls commissioned by the Labour Party from MORI had suggested the two main parties had much the same level of support.[1]

However, events would soon overtake the Labour government and prove Callaghan's decision to delay an election to be a costly mistake. A series of industrial disputes in the winter of 1978–79, dubbed the "Winter of Discontent", led to widespread strikes across the country and seriously hurt Labour's standings in the polls while boosting support for the Conservative opposition. When the Scottish National Party (SNP) withdrew support for the Scotland Act 1978, a vote of no confidence was held and passed by one vote on 28 March 1979, forcing Callaghan to call a general election. As the previous election had been held in October 1974, Labour could have held on until the autumn of 1979 if it had not been for the lost confidence vote.

Margaret Thatcher had won her party's 1975 leadership election over former leader Edward Heath, taking over the leadership of the party in February 1975, four months after the party's failure to win the October 1974 election. Heath had led the party for a decade but lost three of the four elections he contested.

David Steel had replaced Jeremy Thorpe as leader of the Liberal Party in 1976, after allegations of homosexuality and conspiracy to murder his former lover forced Thorpe to resign. The Thorpe affair led to a fall in the Liberal vote, after what had been thought to be a breakthrough in the February 1974 election.


This was the first election since 1959 to feature three new leaders for the main political parties. The three main parties all advocated cutting income tax. Labour and the Conservatives did not specify the exact thresholds of income tax they would implement but the Liberals did, claiming they would have income tax starting at 20% with a top rate of 50%.[5]

Without explicitly mentioning Thatcher's sex, Callaghan was (as Christian Caryl later wrote) "a master at sardonically implying that whatever the leader of the opposition said was made even sillier by the fact that it was said by a woman". Thatcher used the tactics that had defeated her other male opponents: constantly studying, sleeping only a few hours a night, and exploiting her femininity to appear as someone who understood housewives' household budgets.[6]

A proposal for the two main party leaders to participate in two televised debates was put forward by former Labour MP turned broadcaster Brian Walden. These would have been produced by LWT and were planned to be shown on ITV on 22 & 29 April 1979. While James Callaghan immediately accepted Walden's proposal, Margaret Thatcher decided to "wait a few days before replying" to the invitation. According to The Glasgow Herald, Some of Mrs Thatcher's advisers were concerned that she had more to lose from such debates, fearing that it would lead to a "presidential-style 'Her or me' campaign" which would see policy issues become of less importance. However it was also reported that the danger of declining was that Mrs Thatcher would be charged by Labour as being "scared" to face the Prime Minister.[7] At the insistence of the Liberals, their leader David Steel was also invited by LWT to take part, and accepted the offer. However, Mrs Thatcher declined the offer to take part, saying that the election was for a government, not a president, which meant that the debates did not go ahead.[8]


The Labour campaign reiterated their support for the National Health Service and full employment and focused on the damage they believed the Conservatives would do to the country. In an early campaign broadcast, Callaghan asked: "The question you will have to consider is whether we risk tearing everything up by the roots." Towards the end of Labour's campaign, Callaghan claimed a Conservative government "would sit back and just allow firms to go bankrupt and jobs to be lost in the middle of a world recession" and that the Conservatives were "too big a gamble to take".[9]

The Labour Party manifesto, The Labour way is the better way, was issued on 6 April.[10] Callaghan presented five priorities:

  1. "We must keep a curb on inflation and prices";
  2. "We will carry forward the task of putting into practice the new framework to improve industrial relations that we have hammered out with the TUC";
  3. "We give a high priority to working for a return to full employment";
  4. "We are deeply concerned to enlarge people's freedom"; and
  5. "We will use Britain's influence to strengthen world peace and defeat world poverty"


The Conservatives campaigned on economic issues, pledging to control inflation and to reduce the increasing power of the trade unions who supported mass strikes. They also employed the advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi who had created the "Labour Isn't Working" poster.

The Conservative campaign was focused on gaining support from traditional Labour voters who had never voted Conservative before, first-time voters, and people who had voted Liberal in 1974.[11] Thatcher's advisers, Gordon Reece and Timothy Bell, co-ordinated their presentation with the editor of The Sun, Larry Lamb. The Sun printed a series of articles by disillusioned former Labour ministers (Reg Prentice, Richard Marsh, Lord George-Brown, Alfred Robens and Lord Chalfont) detailing why they had switched their support to Thatcher. She explicitly asked Labour voters for their support when she launched her campaign in Cardiff, claiming that Labour was now extreme.[12] Choosing to start her campaign in the strongly Labour-supporting city was part of Thatcher's strategy of appealing to skilled manual workers (NRS social group C2), whom both parties had previously seen as certain Labour voters; she thought that many of these would support her promises to reduce unions' power and enact the Right to Buy their homes.[6] On 29 April the Conservatives held a massive rally in London for Conservative trade unionists. The Glasgow Herald called it an "astonishing rally" which it likened to "the razza-matazz of an American presidential-stye jamboree" and stated "Nothing quite like it has been seen before in a General Election in Britain." Several celebrities including Lulu, Molly Weir and Nigel Davenport appeared to support Thatcher and the Conservatives, while others like Eric Sykes and Les Dawson sent messages of support. It was also announced former Labour MP Eddie Griffiths was backing the Conservatives against his former party.[13]

An analysis of the election result showed that the Conservatives gained an 11% swing among the skilled working class (the C2s) and a 9% swing amongst the unskilled working class (the DEs).[14]

Thatcher's stance on immigration in the late 1970s (following the vast immigration from Asian and African-Caribbean nations during the 1950s and 1960s) was perceived as part of a rising racist public discourse,[15] As Leader of the Opposition, Thatcher believed that the National Front (NF) was winning over large numbers of Conservative voters with warnings against floods of immigrants. Her strategy was to undermine the NF narrative by acknowledging that many of its voters had serious concerns in need of addressing. The National Front had a relatively small following and did not win any seats in parliament.

Thatcher criticised Labour immigration policy in January 1978, with the goal of attracting voters away from the NF and to the Conservatives.[16] Her rhetoric was followed by an increase in Conservative support at the expense of the NF. Critics on the left reacted by accusing her of pandering to racism.[17] Sociologists Mark Mitchell and Dave Russell responded that Thatcher had been badly misinterpreted, arguing that race was never an important focus of Thatcherism.[18] Throughout her premiership both major parties took similar positions on immigration policy,[19] having in 1981 passed the British Nationality Act with bipartisan support.[20] No policies aimed at restricting immigration were passed or proposed by her government, and the subject of race was never highlighted by Thatcher in any of her major speeches as prime minister.[21] Although Thatcher had pledged to address concerns felt by NF voters including matters related to immigration and presided over a period of disaffected race relations early in her premiership, the Conservative Party under her leadership actively began reaching out to ethnic minority voters ahead of the 1983 general election.[22]

The Conservative manifesto, drafted by Chris Patten and Adam Ridley and edited by Angus Maude, reflected Thatcher's views and was issued on 11 April.[23] It promised five major policies:

  1. "to restore the health of our economic and social life, by controlling inflation and striking a fair balance between the rights and duties of the trade union movement";
  2. "to restore incentives so that hard work pays, success is rewarded and genuine new jobs are created in an expanding economy";
  3. "to uphold Parliament and the rule of law";
  4. "to support family life, by helping people to become home-owners, raising the standards of their children's education and concentrating welfare services on the effective support of the old, the sick, the disabled and those who are in real need"; and
  5. "to strengthen Britain's defences and work with our allies to protect our interests in an increasingly threatening world".[24]

Opinion polling[edit]



In the end, the overall swing of 5.2% was the largest since 1945, and gave the Conservatives a workable majority of 44 for the country's first female prime minister. The Conservative victory in 1979 also marked a change in government which would continue for 18 years, including the entire 1980s, until the Labour victory of 1997. It marked a period of political stability in the United Kingdom following four changes of government in the space of 15 years. Although the Conservatives would go on to win more seats under Thatcher in 1983 and 1987, and again under Boris Johnson in 2019, the Tories have never since matched the 43.9% of the popular vote they recorded in 1979.

The SNP saw a massive collapse in support, losing 9 of its 11 MPs. The Liberal Party had a disappointing election; its scandal-hit former leader Jeremy Thorpe lost his seat in North Devon to the Conservatives.

UK General Election 1979
Candidates Votes
Party Leader Stood Elected Gained Unseated Net % of total % No. Net %
  Conservative Margaret Thatcher 622 339 63 1 +62 53.4 43.9 13,697,923 +8.1
  Labour James Callaghan 623 269[a] 4 54 −50 42.4 36.9 11,532,218 −2.3
  Liberal David Steel 577 11 1 3 −2 1.7 13.8 4,313,804 −4.5
  SNP William Wolfe 71 2 0 9 −9 0.31 1.6 504,259 −1.3
  UUP Harry West 11 5 1 2 −1 0.79 0.8 254,578 −0.1
  National Front John Tyndall 303 0 0 0 0 N/A 0.6 191,719 +0.2
  Plaid Cymru Gwynfor Evans 36 2 0 1 −1 0.31 0.4 132,544 −0.2
  SDLP Gerry Fitt 9 1 0 0 0 0.16 0.4 126,325 −0.2
  Alliance Oliver Napier 12 0 0 0 0 N/A 0.3 82,892 +0.1
  DUP Ian Paisley 5 3 2 0 +2 0.47 0.2 70,795 −0.1
  Ecology Jonathan Tyler 53 0 0 0 0 N/A 0.1 39,918 +0.1
  UUUP Ernest Baird 2 1 1 0 +1 0.16 0.1 39,856 N/A
  Ulster Popular Unionist James Kilfedder 1 1 1 0 +1 0.16 0.1 36,989 +0.1
  Independent Labour N/A 11 0 0 0 0 N/A 0.1 26,058 −0.1
  Irish Independence Fergus McAteer and Frank McManus 4 0 0 0 0 N/A 0.1 23,086 N/A
  Ind. Republican N/A 1 1 0 0 0 N/A 0.1 22,398 −0.1
  Independent N/A 62 0 0 0 0 N/A 0.1 19,531 +0.1
  Communist Gordon McLennan 38 0 0 0 0 N/A 0.1 16,858 0.0
  SLP Jim Sillars 3 0 0 0 0 N/A 0.1 13,737 N/A
  Workers Revolutionary Michael Banda 60 0 0 0 0 N/A 0.1 12,631 +0.1
  Workers' Party Tomás Mac Giolla 7 0 0 0 0 N/A 0.1 12,098 0.0
  Independent SDLP N/A 1 0 0 0 0 N/A 0.0 10,785 N/A
  Unionist Party NI Anne Dickson 3 0 0 0 0 N/A 0.0 8,021 −0.1
  Ind. Conservative N/A 7 0 0 0 0 N/A 0.0 4,841 0.0
  NI Labour Alan Carr 3 0 0 0 0 N/A 0.0 4,441 0.0
  Mebyon Kernow Richard Jenkin 3 0 0 0 0 N/A 0.0 4,164 0.0
  Democratic Labour Dick Taverne 2 0 0 0 0 N/A 0.0 3,785 −0.1
  Wessex Regionalist Viscount Weymouth 7 0 0 0 0 N/A 0.0 3,090 N/A
  Socialist Unity N/A 10 0 0 0 0 N/A 0.0 2,834 N/A
  United Labour Paddy Devlin 1 0 0 0 0 N/A 0.0 1,895 N/A
  Independent Democratic N/A 5 0 0 0 0 N/A 0.0 1,087 N/A
  United Country Edmund Iremonger 2 0 0 0 0 N/A 0.0 1,033 N/A
  Independent Liberal N/A 2 0 0 0 0 N/A 0.0 1,023 0.0
  Independent Socialist N/A 2 0 0 0 0 N/A 0.0 770 0.0
  Workers (Leninist) Royston Bull 2 0 0 0 0 N/A 0.0 767 0.0
  New Britain Dennis Delderfield 2 0 0 0 0 N/A 0.0 717 0.0
  Fellowship Ronald Mallone 2 0 0 0 0 N/A 0.0 531 0.0
  More Prosperous Britain Tom Keen 6 0 0 0 0 N/A 0.0 518 0.0
  United English National John Kynaston 2 0 0 0 0 N/A 0.0 238 0.0
  Cornish Nationalist James Whetter 1 0 0 0 0 N/A 0.0 227 N/A
  Social Democrat Donald Kean 1 0 0 0 0 N/A 0.0 144 0.0
  English National Frank Hansford-Miller 1 0 0 0 0 N/A 0.0 142 0.0
  The Dog Lovers' Party Auberon Waugh 1 0 0 0 0 N/A 0.0 79 0.0
  Socialist (GB) N/A 1 0 0 0 0 N/A 0.0 78 0.0
All parties shown.[b][c]
Government's new majority 43
Total votes cast 31,221,362
Turnout 76%

Votes summary[edit]

Popular vote
Scottish National

Seats summary[edit]

Parliamentary seats
The disproportionality of the House of Commons in the 1979 election was "11.57" according to the Gallagher index, mainly between the Conservatives and the Liberal Party.
The disproportionality of the House of Commons in the 1979 election was "11.57" according to the Gallagher index, mainly between the Conservatives and the Liberal Party.

Incumbents defeated[edit]

Party Name Constituency Office held whilst in Parliament Year elected Defeated by Party
Labour Geoff Edge Aldridge-Brownhills 1974 Richard Shepherd Conservative
Eric Moonman Basildon 1974 Harvey Proctor Conservative
Alfred Bates Bebington and Ellesmere Port 1974 Barry Porter Conservative
Roderick MacFarquhar Belper 1974 Sheila Faith Conservative
Raymond Carter Birmingham Northfield Parliamentary Under-Secretary in the Northern Ireland Office (1977–1979) 1970 Jocelyn Cadbury Conservative
Tom Litterick Birmingham Selly Oak 1974 Anthony Beaumont-Dark Conservative
Syd Tierney Birmingham Yardley President of the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers 1974 David Bevan Conservative
Caerwyn Roderick Brecon and Radnorshire 1970 Tom Hooson Conservative
John Ellis Brigg and Scunthorpe 1974 Michael Brown Conservative
Ronald Thomas Bristol North West 1974 Michael Colvin Conservative
George Rodgers Chorley 1974 Den Dover Conservative
Audrey Wise Coventry South West 1974 John Butcher Conservative
Sydney Irving Dartford 1974 Bob Dunn Conservative
William Molloy Ealing North 1964 Harry Greenway Conservative
Bryan Davies Enfield North 1974 Tim Eggar Conservative
John Watkinson Gloucestershire West 1974 Paul Marland Conservative
John Ovenden Gravesend 1974 Tim Brinton Conservative
Robin Corbett Hemel Hempstead 1974 Nicholas Lyell Conservative
Alan Lee Williams Hornchurch 1974 Robin Squire Conservative
Shirley Williams Hertford and Stevenage Secretary of State for Education and Science (1976–1979) 1964 Bowen Wells Conservative
Arnold Shaw Ilford South 1974 Neil Thorne Conservative
Terence Walker Kingswood 1974 Jack Aspinwall Conservative
Bruce Grocott Lichfield and Tamworth 1974 John Heddle Conservative
Margaret Beckett Lincoln Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Education and Science (1976–1979) 1974 Kenneth Carlisle Conservative
Edward Loyden Liverpool Garston 1974 Malcolm Thornton Conservative
Ivor Clemitson Luton East 1974 Graham Bright Conservative
Brian Sedgemore Luton West 1974 John Carlisle Conservative
John Desmond Cronin Loughborough 1955 Stephen Dorrell Conservative
John Tomlinson Meriden Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (1976–1979) 1974 Iain Mills Conservative
Doug Hoyle Nelson and Colne 1974 John Lee Conservative
Edward Bishop Newark Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1974–1979) 1964 Richard Alexander Conservative
Maureen Colquhoun Northampton North 1974 Antony Marlow Conservative
Evan Luard Oxford Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (1976–1979) 1974 John Patten Conservative
Arthur Latham Paddington 1969 John Wheeler Conservative
Michael Ward Peterborough 1974 Brian Mawhinney Conservative
Frank Judd Portsmouth North Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1977–1979) 1966 Peter Griffiths Conservative
Ronald Atkins Preston North 1974 Robert Atkins Conservative
Hugh Jenkins Putney Minister of State for the Arts (1974–1979) 1964 David Mellor Conservative
Robert Bean Rochester and Chatham 1974 Peggy Fenner Conservative
Michael Noble Rossendale 1974 David Trippier Conservative
William Price Rugby 1966 Jim Pawsey Conservative
Bryan Gould Southampton Test 1974 James Hill Conservative
Max Madden Sowerby 1974 Donald Thompson Conservative
Helene Hayman Welwyn and Hatfield 1974 Christopher Murphy Conservative
Gerald Fowler The Wrekin Minister of State for the Privy Council Office (1974–1976) 1974 Warren Hawksley Conservative
SNP Douglas Henderson East Aberdeenshire SNP Spokesman for Employment and Industry 1974 Albert McQuarrie Conservative
Andrew Welsh South Angus SNP Spokesperson for Housing 1974 Peter Fraser Conservative
Iain MacCormick Argyllshire 1974 John Mackay Conservative
Hamish Watt Banffshire 1974 David Myles Conservative
Margaret Ewing East Dunbartonshire 1974 Norman Hogg Labour
George Thompson Galloway 1974 Ian Lang Conservative
Winnie Ewing Moray and Nairn SNP Spokesperson for External Affairs and EEC 1974 Alex Pollock Conservative
Douglas Crawford Perth and East Perthshire 1974 Bill Walker Conservative
George Reid Clackmannan and East Stirlingshire 1974 Martin O'Neill Labour
Conservative Teddy Taylor Glasgow Cathcart Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland (1976–1979) 1964 John Maxton Labour
Andrew MacKay Birmingham Stechford 1977 Terry Davis Labour
Richard Page Workington 1976 Dale Campbell-Savours Labour
Tim Smith Ashfield 1977 Frank Haynes Labour
Robin Hodgson Walsall North 1976 David Winnick Labour
Liberal Jeremy Thorpe North Devon Leader of the Liberal Party (1967–1976) 1959 Tony Speller Conservative
Emlyn Hooson Montgomeryshire 1962 Delwyn Williams Conservative
John Pardoe North Cornwall Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party (1976–1979) 1966 Gerry Neale Conservative
Plaid Cymru Gwynfor Evans Carmarthen President of Plaid Cymru (1945–1981) 1974 Roger Thomas Labour
SLP Jim Sillars[25] South Ayrshire Leader of the Scottish Labour Party (1976–1979) 1970 George Foulkes Labour
UUP William Craig Belfast East 1974 Peter Robinson DUP

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b The seat and vote count figures for Labour given here include the Speaker of the House of Commons
  2. ^ The Vanguard Progressive Unionist Party had folded in 1978. Of its three MPs, two joined the Ulster Unionist Party (one held his seat, the other lost to the Democratic Unionist Party) and the third defended and held his seat for the United Ulster Unionist Party.
  3. ^ James Kilfedder had been previously elected as an Ulster Unionist MP, but left the party, defending and holding his seat as an Independent Ulster Unionist. He subsequently founded the Ulster Popular Unionist Party but did not use that label in this election.


  1. ^ a b Beckett 2009, p. 460.
  2. ^ BBC 1979 Election coverage on YouTube
  3. ^ "1979: Thatcher wins Tory landslide", BBC News, 5 April 2005, retrieved 4 May 2012
  4. ^ Hickson & Seldon 2004, p. 293.
  5. ^ "The Real Fight is for Britain", psr.Keele.ac.UK, 25 February 1998, archived from the original on 25 May 1998, retrieved 13 May 2010
  6. ^ a b Caryl 2014, pp. 3391–3428.
  7. ^ Parkhouse, Geoffrey (3 April 1979). "Thatcher hesitates over TV challenge". The Glasgow Herald. p. 1. Retrieved 3 July 2021.
  8. ^ Parkhouse, Geoffrey (4 April 1979). "Geoffrey Parkhouse, Political Editor, writes". The Glasgow Herald. p. 1. Retrieved 3 July 2021.
  9. ^ Young 1990, p. 131.
  10. ^ "1979 Labour Party Manifesto - The Labour Way is the Better Way". Archive of Labour Party Manifestos.
  11. ^ Campbell 2000, p. 432.
  12. ^ Speech to Conservative Rally in Cardiff, Margaret Thatcher Foundation, 16 April 1979, retrieved 13 May 2010
  13. ^ Russell, William (30 April 1979). "Ex-Labour MP defects to Tories". The Glasgow Herald. p. 1. Retrieved 11 December 2022.
  14. ^ Butler & Kavanagh 1980, p. 343.
  15. ^ Witte (2014), p. 54.
  16. ^ Witte (2014), pp. 53–54.
  17. ^ Friedman (2006), p. 13.
  18. ^ Mitchell & Russell (1989).
  19. ^ Ward (2004), p. 128; Vinen (2009), pp. 227, 279.
  20. ^ Hansen (2000), pp. 207–208.
  21. ^ Anwar (2001).
  22. ^ "Black Conservatives: Are the Tories the new party of diversity?". 16 October 2020.
  23. ^ Butler & Kavanagh 1980, p. 166.
  24. ^ Keesing's Record of World Events, vol. 25, June 1979, p. 29633
  25. ^ Elected as a Labour MP


Further reading[edit]

  • Butler, David E.; et al. (1980), The British General Election of 1979, the standard scholarly study
  • Campbell, John (2008), Margaret Thatcher, Volume 1: The Grocer's Daughter
  • Craig, F.W.S. (1989), British Electoral Facts: 1832–1987, Dartmouth: Gower, ISBN 0-900178-30-2
  • Jenkins, Peter (1989), Mrs. Thatcher's Revolution: The Ending of the Socialist Era
  • McAllister, Ian; Mughan, Anthony (1985), "Attitudes, Issues, and Labour Party Decline in England, 1974–1979", Comparative Political Studies, 18 (1): 37–57, doi:10.1177/0010414085018001002, S2CID 153934506
  • Penniman, Howard R. (1981), Britain at the Polls, 1979: A Study of the General Election, p. 345
  • Särlvik, Bo; Crewe, Ivor (1983), Decade of Dealignment: The Conservative Victory of 1979 & Electoral Trends in the 1970s, p. 393

External links[edit]