United Kingdom general election, 1997
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Politics of the United Kingdom
The UK general election, 1997 was held on 1 May 1997. The election brought the first change in UK Government for 18 years. The Labour Party led by Tony Blair defeated the incumbent Conservative Party, causing a major change to the political landscape of the United Kingdom.
The election has been described as a bloodbath for the ruling Conservative Party. They lost all seats outside England, and several prominent members of the party were not re-elected, including:
- Michael Portillo – Secretary of State for Defence
- Malcolm Rifkind – Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs
- Ian Lang – Secretary of State for Trade and Industry
- Michael Forsyth – Secretary of State for Scotland.
- William Waldegrave – Chief Secretary to the Treasury
- Tony Newton – Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
- Roger Freeman – Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
- Marcus Fox – chairman of the 1922 committee
- Norman Lamont – Former Chancellor of the Exchequer and prominent Eurosceptic
- David Mellor – Former Secretary of State for National Heritage
Labour won their largest parliamentary majority (179) to date, and the Liberal Democrats more than doubled their number of seats.
The Referendum Party came fourth with about 800,000 votes on a platform of seeking a referendum on the relationship with the European Union and may have taken some votes from the Conservatives; the next six parties only stood in one of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.
An independent, Martin Bell, won the Tatton seat, where incumbent MP Neil Hamilton was facing charges of having taken cash for questions, but was determined to stand nonetheless. The Labour and Liberal Democrat candidates withdrew in order for Bell to contest the seat.
The result declared for the constituency of Winchester showed a margin of victory of just 2 votes for the Liberal Democrats. The defeated Conservative candidate challenged the result on the grounds that errors by election officials (failures to stamp certain votes) had changed the result, forcing a by-election on 20 November which was won by the Liberal Democrats with a much larger majority, causing much recrimination in the Conservative Party about the choice to challenge the original result.
The election was fought under new boundaries, with an additional 8 seats across the UK. Changes listed here are from the notional 1992 result had it been fought on those boundaries. These notional results were used by all media organisations at the time.
|Party||Votes||Seats||Loss/Gain||Share of Vote (%)|
|Liberal Democrats||5,242,947||46||+ 28||16.8|
|Ulster Unionist||258,349||10||+ 1||0.8|
|Sinn Féin||126,921||2||+ 2||0.4|
|Democratic Unionist||107,348||2||– 2||0.3|
|Monster Raving Loony||7,906||0||0.0|
|NI Women's Coalition||3,024||0||0.0|
|Independent Democracy Means Consulting the People||1,301||0||0.0|
|Independent Conservative Referendum Party||1,276||0||0.0|
Total votes cast: 31,286,284. All parties with more than 1,000 votes shown. Labour total includes New Labour and "Labour Time for Change" candidates; Conservative total includes candidates in Northern Ireland (excluded in some lists) and "Loyal Conservative" candidate.
|United Kingdom general elections|
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