Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

UK general election, 1997

The 1 May 1997 UK general 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.


Out of the 659 Parliamentary Seats

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.

Overall Picture

The election has been described as a bloodbath for the ruling Tories. They lost all seats outside of England, and several prominent members, including

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.