United Kingdom general election, 1931: Wikis

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1929 · members United Kingdom members · 1935
United Kingdom general election, 1931
All 616 seats to the House of Commons
27 October 1931
First party Second party Third party
Stanley Baldwin ggbain.35233.jpg Arthurhenderson.jpg Gws samuel 01.jpg
Leader Stanley Baldwin Arthur Henderson Sir Herbert Samuel
Party Conservative Labour Liberal
Leader since 23 May 1923 1 September 1931 October 1931
Leader's seat Bewdley Burnley (lost seat) Darwen
Last election 260 seats, 38.1% 287 seats, 37.1% 59 seats, 23.6%
Seats won 473 52 33
Seat change +210 -225 -26
Popular vote 11,377,022 6,339,306 1,346,571
Percentage 55.0% 30.8% 6.5%
Fourth party Fifth party Sixth party
No image Ramsay MacDonald ggbain.29588.jpg Joe Devlin.JPG
Leader John Simon Ramsay MacDonald Joseph Devlin
Party National Liberal National Labour Nationalist (NI)
Leader since 1931 24 August 1931 1922
Leader's seat Spen Valley Seaham Fermanagh and Tyrone
Last election N/A N/A 3 seats, 0.1%
Seats won 41 20 2
Seat change N/A N/A -1
Popular vote 761,705 316,741 72,530
Percentage 3.7% 1.5% 0.4%

Incumbent PM
Ramsay MacDonald
Labour

Subsequent PM
Ramsay MacDonald
National

The UK general election on Tuesday 27 October 1931 was the last in the United Kingdom not held on a Thursday. It was also the last election, and the only one under universal suffrage, where one party (the Conservatives) received an absolute majority of the votes cast.

The 1931 general election was held in the middle of the Great Depression, and by 1931 Ramsay MacDonald's Labour government had reached a deadlock over a response to the crisis. Influential members of the Labour Cabinet, such as Arthur Henderson, were not willing to support the budget cuts advised by the civil service, while the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Phillip Snowden refused to consider deficit spending or tariffs. MacDonald was then encouraged to form an all-party National Government to deal with the financial crisis.

MacDonald's decision before the election to form a coalition with the Conservatives saw him expelled from the Labour Party. He was replaced as leader by Henderson. MacDonald and a small group of supporters then formed National Labour. The Labour split persuaded MacDonald that a quick election was necessary.

The Liberals opposed the calling of an election and Liberal leader David Lloyd George urged his colleagues to withdraw from the National Government. However, the majority of Liberals, led by Sir Herbert Samuel decided to remain within it. Complicating matters further a group of Liberal MPs emerged as the "Liberal Nationals" who urged full support for the National Government and expressed a willingness to fill any vacancies created by the resignations of other Liberals and maintain the multi-party nature of the government.

A main issue was the Conservatives' wish to introduce protectionist trade policies. This not only divided the government from the opposition but also divided the parties in the National Government. The Liberal Nationals under Sir John Simon supported the Conservative protectionist trade policies. The Liberals led by Samuel and Lloyd George campaigned in defence of free trade.

1924 election MPs
1929 election MPs
1931 election MPs
1935 election MPs
1945 election MPs

In the event, the Labour vote fell sharply, and the Conservatives, led by Stanley Baldwin, won a landslide majority of 324 seats, although Ramsay MacDonald remained Prime Minister in the new National government. The Liberals lacked the funds to contest the full range of seats, but still won almost as many constituencies as the Labour Party.

Contents

Results

UK General Election 1931
Candidates Votes
Party Standing Elected Gained Unseated Net  % of total  % No. Net %
  Conservative 518 473 + 210 76.4 55.0 11,377,022 +16.9
  Labour 516 52 - 225 8.5 30.8 6,339,306 -6.5
  Liberal 111 33 16 7 + 9 5.2 6.5 1,346,571 -17.0
  National Liberal 41 35 10 3 + 7 5.7 3.7 761,705 N/A
  National Labour 20 13 13 0 + 13 2.1 1.5 316,741 N/A
  Ind. Liberals 6 4 0 1 - 1 0.7 0.5 103,528 N/A
  National 4 4 4 0 + 4 0.7 0.5 100,193 N/A
  Nationalist (NI) 3 2 0 1 - 1 0.3 0.4 72,530 +0.2
  Communist 26 0 0 0 0 0 0.3 69,692 +0.1
  New Party 24 0 0 0 0 0 0.2 36,377 N/A
  National (Scotland) 5 0 0 0 0 0 0.1 20,954 +0.1
  Independent Labour 2 0 0 0 0 0 0.1 18,200 0.0
  Scottish Prohibition 1 0 0 1 - 1 0 0.1 16,114 0.0
  Independent 4 1 0 3 - 3 0 0.0 10,789 -0.4
  Liverpool Protestant 1 0 0 0 0 0 0.0 7,834 N/A
  Agricultural Party 1 0 0 0 0 0 0.0 6,993 N/A
  Ind. Nationalist 1 0 0 0 0 0 0.0 3,134 N/A
  Independent Liberal 1 0 0 0 0 0 0.0 2,578 -0.1
  Plaid Cymru 2 0 0 0 0 0 0.0 2,050 0.0
  Commonwealth Land 2 0 0 0 0 0 0.0 1,347 N/A
  National Government (total) 694 556 90.1 67.2 13,902,232

References

See also

External links

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