United Kingdom general election, 1951: Wikis

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1950 · members United Kingdom members · 1955
United Kingdom general election, 1951
All 625 seats to the House of Commons
25 October 1951
First party Second party Third party
Churchill portrait NYP 45063.jpg Attlee BW cropped.jpg
Leader Winston Churchill Clement Attlee Clement Davies
Party Conservative Labour Liberal
Leader since 10 May 1940 25 October 1935 2 August 1945
Leader's seat Woodford Walthamstow (W) Montgomeryshire
Last election 299 seats 315 seats 9 seats, 9.1%
Seats won 321 (total strength) 295 6
Seat change +22 -20 -3
Popular vote 13,724,418 13,948,385 730,546
Percentage 48.0% 48.8% 2.5%
Swing  %  %  %

Incumbent PM
Clement Attlee
Labour

1945 election MPs
1950 election MPs
1951 election MPs
1955 election MPs

The 1951 United Kingdom general election was held eighteen months after the 1950 general election, which the Labour Party won, but with a very slim majority of just five seats. Labour called the election on 25 October 1951 hoping to increase their majority.

In the event, despite Labour polling almost a quarter of a million votes more than the Conservative Party (and its National Liberal allies) - and more votes than in the 1950 election - it was the Conservatives who went on to form the next government. This was because under the first past the post electoral system, the Labour votes translated into increased majorities for MPs in already safe seats, rather than into gaining new seats.

This was one of only three elections where this happened, the others being 1929 and February 1974. It was also the last general election in which some candidates were elected unopposed, in this case four Conservatives,[1] although there have been later unopposed by-elections.

The Conservatives, under Winston Churchill, formed the next government with the help of the National Liberals - giving the Government a majority of 16 seats over all other parties.

Contents

Results

UK General Election 1951
Candidates Votes
Party Standing Elected Gained Unseated Net  % of total  % No. Net %
  Conservative 562 302 20 1 + 19 48.320 44.3 12,660,061
  Labour 617 295 2 22 - 20 47.200 48.8 13,948,883
  National Liberal 55 19 1 3 0 + 3 2.400 3.7 1,058,138
  Liberal 109 6 1 4 - 3 0.960 2.5 730,546
  Ind. Nationalist 3 2 0 0 0 0.3 92,787
  Irish Labour 1 1 1 0 +1 0.1 33,174
  Communist 10 0 0 0 0 0.1 21,640
  Independent 6 0 0 0 0 0.1 19,791
  Plaid Cymru 4 0 0 0 0 0.0 10,920
  SNP 2 0 0 0 0 0.0 7,299
  Independent Conservative 1 0 0 0 0 0.0 5,904
  Ind. Labour Party 3 0 0 0 0 0.0 4,057
  British Empire 1 0 0 0 0 0.0 1,643
  Anti-Partition 1 0 0 0 0 0.0 1,340
  United Socialist 1 0 0 0 0 0.0 411

Total votes cast: 28,596,594. All parties shown. Conservative result includes the Ulster Unionists.

1 The National Liberals were in alliance with the Conservatives, bringing total Conservative strength to 321 seats.

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Votes summary

Popular vote
Labour
  
48.79%
Conservative
  
47.97%
Liberal
  
2.55%
Independent
  
0.43%
Others
  
0.26%

Headline Swing: 1.13% to Conservative

Seats summary

Parliamentary seats
Conservative
  
51.36%
Labour
  
47.2%
Liberal
  
0.96%
Others
  
0.48%

Seats changing hands

From Conservative to Liberal (0 seats):
From Labour to Conservative (21 seats): Barry, Battersea South, Bedfordshire South, Berwick and East Lothian, Bolton East, Buckingham, Conway, Darlington, Doncaster, Dulwich, King's Lynn, Manchester Blackley, Middlesbrough West, Norfolk South West, Oldham East, Plymouth Sutton, Reading North, Rochdale, Rutherglen, Wycombe and Yarmouth
From Labour to Liberal (1 seat): Bolton West
From Liberal to Conservative (2 seats): Eye and Roxburgh
From Liberal to Labour (2 seats): Anglesey and Meirioneth
From Ulster Unionist to Irish Labour (1 seat): Belfast West

References

Bibliography

See also

Manifestos


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