October 1974 United Kingdom general election

general election in the United Kingdom

A general election was held on the 10 October 1974 to elect all 635 members of the House of Commons of the United Kingdom. The Labour Party won the election with a very small majority of 3 seats and Harold Wilson stayed as Prime Minister.

October 1974 United Kingdom general election

← Feb 1974 10 October 1974 1979 →
← List of MPs elected in the United Kingdom general election, February 1974
List of MPs elected in the United Kingdom general election, October 1974 →

All 635 seats in the House of Commons
318 seats needed for a majority
Turnout72.8%, Decrease6.0%
  First party Second party
Leader Harold Wilson Edward Heath
Party Labour Conservative
Leader's seat Huyton Sidcup
Last election 301 seats, 37.2% 297 seats, 37.9%
Seats won 319 277
Seat change Increase18 Decrease20
Popular vote 11,457,079 10,462,565
Percentage 39.2% 35.8%
Swing Increase2.0% Decrease2.1%

  Third party Fourth party
Leader Jeremy Thorpe William Wolfe
Party Liberal SNP
Leader's seat North Devon Stood in West Lothian (lost)
Last election 14 seats, 19.3% 7 seats, 2.0%
Seats won 13 11
Seat change Decrease1 Increase4
Popular vote 5,346,704 839,617
Percentage 18.3% 2.9%
Swing Decrease1.0% Increase0.9%

Colours show the winning party—as shown in § Results

Composition of the House of Commons after the election

Prime Minister before election

Harold Wilson

Prime Minister after election

Harold Wilson

This was the second general election to happen in 1974. The last election in February ended in a hung parliament and no parties wanted to start a coalition government. This meant Labour had to start a minority government. This is why a second election was held, because governments are very hard to run if they do not have a majority.[1][2]

References change

  1. 1974 Oct: Wilson makes it four, BBC News, 5 April 2005, retrieved 8 June 2018
  2. "10 October 1974", BBC Politics 97, retrieved 8 June 2018