List of United Kingdom general elections

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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]

A graph showing shares of the vote received by each political party in the UK since 1832. The graph shows the UK being dominated by two political parties, the Conservative Party and the Liberal Party, until around 1900, when the Labour Party rises and takes a large share of votes away from the Liberals. Miscellaneous parties and independents represent an insignificant amount of vote share until around 1996.
Shares of the vote in general elections since 1832 received by Conservatives[note 1] (blue), Liberals/Liberal Democrats[note 2] (orange), Labour (red) and others (grey)[1][2][3]

In 1801, the right to vote in the United Kingdom was severely restricted. Universal suffrage, on an equal basis for men and women over the age of 21, was established in 1928. 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. A negative majority means that there was a hung parliament (or minority parliament) following that election. For example, at the 1929 general election, Labour was 42 seats short of forming a majority, and so its majority is listed as −42. 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.

List of elections[edit]

19th century[edit]

Election Dates Elected prime minister
(during term)
Winning party Seat majority Seats Monarch
(Reign)
1802 (MPs) 5 July – 28 August 1802 Henry Addington Tory N/A 658 George III
Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom (1801-1816).svg
(1760–1820)
(William Pitt the Younger)[a]
1806 (MPs) 29 October – 17 December 1806 The Lord Grenville Whig 658
1807 (MPs) 4 May – 9 June 1807 The Duke of Portland Tory 658
(Spencer Perceval)[a]
1812 (MPs) 5 October – 10 November 1812 The Earl of Liverpool
1818 (MPs) 17 June – 18 July 1818
1820 (MPs) 6 March – 14 April 1820 George IV
Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom (1816-1837).svg
(1820–1830)
1826 (MPs) 7 June – 12 July 1826 George Canning[a]
(The Viscount Goderich)
(The Duke of Wellington)
1830 (MPs) 29 July – 1 September 1830 The Duke of Wellington[b][4] Tory N/A 658 William IV
Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom (1816-1837).svg
(1830–1837)
1831 (MPs) 28 April – 1 June 1831 The Earl Grey Whig N/A 658
1832 (MPs) 8 December 1832 – 8 January 1833 The Earl Grey 225
(The Viscount Melbourne)[c][5]
(The Duke of Wellington) Conservative −308
(Sir Robert Peel)
1835 (MPs) 6 January – 6 February 1835 Sir Robert Peel[d][6] −113 (C)
(The Viscount Melbourne) Whig 113
1837 (MPs) 24 July – 18 August 1837 The Viscount Melbourne[e][7] 29 Victoria
Coat of arms of the United Kingdom (1837-1952).svg
(1837–1901)
1841 (MPs) 29 June – 22 July 1841 The Viscount Melbourne[f][8] Whig N/A 658
(Sir Robert Peel)[g][9] Conservative 77
(Lord John Russell) Whig N/A
1847 (MPs) 29 July – 26 August 1847 Lord John Russell[h][10] Whig −72 656
(The Earl of Derby) Conservative N/A
1852 (MPs) 7–31 July 1852 The Earl of Derby[i][11] Conservative 7 654
(The Earl of Aberdeen)[j][12] Peelite N/A
(The Viscount Palmerston) Whig
1857 (MPs) 27 March – 24 April 1857 The Viscount Palmerston[k][13] Whig 100 654
(The Earl of Derby) Conservative N/A
1859 (MPs) 28 April – 18 May 1859 The Earl of Derby[l][14] Conservative N/A 654
(The Viscount Palmerston) Liberal 59
1865 (MPs) 11–24 July 1865 The Viscount Palmerston[a] 81 658
(The Earl Russell)[m][15] N/A
(The Earl of Derby) Conservative
(Benjamin Disraeli)
1868 (MPs) 17 November – 7 December 1868 William Ewart Gladstone Liberal 115 658
1874 (MPs) 31 January – 17 February 1874 Benjamin Disraeli Conservative 49 652
1880 (MPs) 31 March – 27 April 1880 William Ewart Gladstone[16] Liberal 51 652
(The Marquess of Salisbury) Conservative N/A
1885 (MPs) 24 November – 18 December 1885 The Marquess of Salisbury[17] Conservative[n] N/A 670
(William Ewart Gladstone)[18] Liberal −16
1886 (MPs) 1–27 July 1886 The Marquess of Salisbury Conservative & Liberal Unionists 58
1892 (MPs) 4–26 July 1892 The Marquess of Salisbury[19] N/A
(William Ewart Gladstone) Liberal −126
(The Earl of Rosebery)[20] N/A
(The Marquess of Salisbury)[o] Conservative
1895 (MPs) 13 July – 7 August 1895 The Marquess of Salisbury Conservative & Liberal Unionists 153 670
1900 (MPs) 26 September – 24 October 1900[p] The Marquess of Salisbury Conservative & Liberal Unionists 135 670
(Arthur Balfour) N/A
(Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman)[o] Liberal
Election Date Elected prime minister
(during term)
Winning party Seat majority Seats Monarch
(Reign)
  1. ^ a b c d Died in office.
  2. ^ Was defeated on a motion to examine the accounts of the Civil List on 15 November 1830 and resigned the following day.
  3. ^ Was dismissed by William IV on 14 November 1834.
  4. ^ Peel was defeated on a report about the Irish Church on 7 April 1835 and resigned the following day.
  5. ^ Defeated on a motion of no confidence on 4 June 1841 and advised the Queen to dissolve Parliament, which she did on 23 June.
  6. ^ Ministry met the House of Commons, but was defeated on an amendment to the Address on 27 August 1841 and resigned on 30 August 1841.
  7. ^ Was defeated on an Irish Coercion Bill on 25 June 1846 and resigned on 29 June 1846.
  8. ^ Was defeated on a militia Bill on 20 February 1852 and resigned on 23 February.
  9. ^ Was defeated on the Budget on 16 December 1852 and resigned on 19 December 1852.
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ 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.
  12. ^ Ministry met the Commons, but was defeated on an amendment to the Address on 10 June 1859 and resigned on 11 June 1859.
  13. ^ Was defeated on Parliamentary reform proposals on 18 June 1866 and resigned on 26 June 1866.
  14. ^ Hung parliament.
  15. ^ a b Immediately advised the dissolution of Parliament upon becoming Prime Minister.
  16. ^ Known as a Khaki election which is an election heavily influenced by wartime or postwar sentiment.

20th century[edit]

Election Date Elected prime minister
(during term)
Winning party Seat majority Seats Turnout[21] Monarch
(Reign)
1906 (MPs) 12 January – 8 February 1906 Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman Liberal 129 N/A 670 Edward VII
Coat of arms of the United Kingdom (1837-1952).svg
(1901–1910)
(H. H. Asquith)
1910 (MPs) 15 January – 10 February 1910 H. H. Asquith Liberal (minority government)[a] −122 670
1910 (MPs) 3–19 December 1910 H. H. Asquith −126 George V
Coat of arms of the United Kingdom (1837-1952).svg
(1910–1936)
(David Lloyd George)
The election that would have been due by 1916 as a result of the Parliament Act 1911 was not held due to the First World War (1914–1918).
1918 (MPs) 14 December 1918 David Lloyd George Liberal (coalition government)[b] 238 707 57.2%
(Bonar Law)[c] Conservative N/A
1922 (MPs) 15 November 1922 Bonar Law 74 615 73.0%
(Stanley Baldwin)
1923 (MPs) 6 December 1923 Stanley Baldwin[22] Conservative (minority government)[a] N/A 615 71.1%
(Ramsay MacDonald) Labour (minority government) −98
1924 (MPs) 29 October 1924 Stanley Baldwin Conservative 210 615 77.0%
1929 (MPs) 30 May 1929[d] Ramsay MacDonald Labour (minority government)[a] −42 615 76.3%
1931 (MPs) 27 October 1931 Ramsay MacDonald National Labour (National Government) 492 615 76.4%
1935 (MPs) 14 November 1935 Stanley Baldwin Conservative (National Government) 242 71.1%
(Neville Chamberlain) 242
(Winston Churchill) Conservative (war-time coalition) 609
Conservative (caretaker government) 242
The election due by 1940 was not held due to the Second World War (1939–1945). George VI
Coat of arms of the United Kingdom (1837-1952).svg
(1936–1952)
1945 (MPs) 5 July 1945 Clement Attlee Labour 146 640 72.8%
1950 (MPs) 23 February 1950 5 625 83.9%
1951 (MPs) 25 October 1951 Sir Winston Churchill Conservative 17 625 82.6%
(Sir Anthony Eden)
1955 (MPs) 26 May 1955 Sir Anthony Eden 60 630 76.8% Elizabeth II
Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom.svg
(1952–present)
(Harold Macmillan)
1959 (MPs) 8 October 1959 Harold Macmillan 100 78.7%
(Sir Alec Douglas-Home)
1964 (MPs) 5 October 1964 Harold Wilson Labour 4 630 77.1%
1966 (MPs) 31 March 1966 98 75.8%
1970 (MPs) 18 June 1970 Edward Heath Conservative 30 630 72.0%
1974 (MPs) 28 February 1974 Harold Wilson Labour (minority government)[a] −33 630 78.8%
1974 (MPs) 10 October 1974 Harold Wilson Labour 3 635 72.8%
(James Callaghan)
1979 (MPs) 3 May 1979 Margaret Thatcher Conservative 43 635 76.0%
1983 (MPs) 9 June 1983 144 650 72.7%
1987 (MPs) 11 June 1987 Margaret Thatcher 102 75.3%
(John Major)
1992 (MPs) 9 April 1992 John Major 21 651 77.7%
1997 (MPs) 1 May 1997 Tony Blair Labour 179 659 71.4%
Election Date Elected prime minister
(during term)
Winning party Seat majority Seats Turnout[21] Monarch
(Reign)
  1. ^ a b c d Hung parliament.
  2. ^ Coalition Coupon. The Conservative party (led by Bonar Law) won the most votes and seats, but David Lloyd George became Prime Minister as leader of the Liberal party as part of a major cross-party deal.
  3. ^ Bonar Law immediately advised the dissolution of Parliament upon becoming Prime Minister on 23 October 1922.
  4. ^ Known as the ’flapper’ election because it was the first election in which women aged 21–29 had the right to vote.

21st century[edit]

Election Date Elected prime minister
(during term)
Winning party Seat majority Seats Turnout[21] Monarch
(Reign)
2001 (MPs) 7 June 2001 Tony Blair Labour 167 659 59.4% Elizabeth II
Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom.svg
(1952–present)
2005 (MPs) 5 May 2005 Tony Blair 66 646 61.4%
(Gordon Brown)[a]
2010 (MPs) 6 May 2010 David Cameron Conservative (coalition)[b] 78[c] 650 65.1%
2015 (MPs) 7 May 2015 David Cameron Conservative 12 650 66.1%
(Theresa May)[d]
2017 (MPs) 8 June 2017 Theresa May Conservative (minority government)[e] −5[f] 650 68.7%
(Boris Johnson)[g]
2019 (MPs) 12 December 2019 Boris Johnson Conservative 80 650 67.3%
Election Date Elected prime minister
(during term)
Winning party Seat majority Seats Turnout[21] Monarch
(Reign)
  1. ^ Brown succeeded Blair as leader of the Labour party on 24 June 2007, after being unopposed in a party leadership election. He officially became Prime Minister 3 days later.
  2. ^ Hung parliament. Formed a coalition with the Liberal Democrats.
  3. ^ Combined coalition total.
  4. ^ May succeeded Cameron as Prime Minister on 13 July 2016, following a short party leadership election.
  5. ^ Hung parliament.
  6. ^ Confidence and supply agreement with the Democratic Unionist Party.
  7. ^ Johnson succeeded May as Prime Minister on 24 July 2019 – two days after being elected leader of the Conservative Party in a party leadership election.

See also[edit]

Notes[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).

References[edit]

  1. ^ 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.
  2. ^ Election 2010 Results, BBC News.
  3. ^ Election 2015 Results, BBC News.
  4. ^ "COMMITTEE "UPON THE CIVIL LIST. (Hansard, 15 November 1830)". api.parliament.uk.
  5. ^ "PROROGATION. (Hansard, 15 August 1834)". api.parliament.uk.
  6. ^ "CHURCH OF IRELAND. (Hansard, 7 April 1835)". api.parliament.uk.
  7. ^ "CONFIDENCE IN THE MINISTRY— ADJOURNED DEBATE (FIFTH DAY). (Hansard, 4 June 1841)". api.parliament.uk.
  8. ^ "ADDRESS IN ANSWER TO THE SPEECH— ADJOURNED DEBATE, FOURTH NIGHT. (Hansard, 27 August 1841)". api.parliament.uk.
  9. ^ "PROTECTION OF LIFE (IRELAND) BILL—ADJOURNED DEBATE—(SIXTH NIGHT). (Hansard, 25 June 1846)". api.parliament.uk.
  10. ^ "LOCAL MILITIA. (Hansard, 20 February 1852)". api.parliament.uk.
  11. ^ "WAYS AND MEANS—FINANCIAL STATEMENT—ADJOURNED DEBATE(FOURTH NIGHT). (Hansard, 16 December 1852)". api.parliament.uk.
  12. ^ "ARMY (CRIMEA)—THE CONDUCT OF THE WAR, AND CONDITION OF THE ARMY. ADJOURNED DEBATE.—(SECOND NIGHT.) (Hansard, 29 January 1855)". api.parliament.uk.
  13. ^ "SECOND READING. (Hansard, 19 February 1858)". api.parliament.uk. Retrieved 22 December 2019.
  14. ^ "DEBATE RESUMED. (THIRD NIGHT). (Hansard, 10 June 1859)". api.parliament.uk. Retrieved 23 December 2019.
  15. ^ "MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT. (Hansard, 19 June 1866)". api.parliament.uk.
  16. ^ Was defeated on the Budget on 8 June 1885 and resigned the next day
  17. ^ Met the Commons, but was defeated on an amendment to the Address on 26 January 1886 and resigned on 28 January
  18. ^ 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.
  19. ^ Met the Commons, but was defeated on an amendment to the Address on 11 August 1892 and resigned the same day
  20. ^ Was defeated on the Cordite Vote on 21 June 1895 and resigned that day
  21. ^ a b c d Rogers, Simon (16 November 2012). "UK election historic turnouts since 1918 | News". theguardian.com. Retrieved 5 October 2013.
  22. ^ Met the Commons, but was defeated on an amendment to the Address on 21 January 1924 and resigned the next day