HOME

TheInfoList




The 2005 United Kingdom general election was held on Thursday 5 May 2005, to elect 646 members to the
House of Commons The House of Commons is the name for the elected lower house A lower house is one of two chambers Chambers may refer to: Places Canada: *Chambers Township, Ontario United States: *Chambers County, Alabama *Chambers, Arizona, an unincorpor ...

House of Commons
. The
Labour Party Labour Party or Labor Party may refer to: Angola *MPLA, known for some years as "Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola – Labour Party" Antigua and Barbuda *Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party Argentina *Labour Party (Argentina) Armenia ...
, led by
Tony Blair Sir Anthony Charles Lynton Blair (born 6 May 1953) is a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1997 to 2007 and Leader of the Labour Party (UK), Leader of the Labour Party from 1994 to 2007. On his resig ...

Tony Blair
, won its third consecutive victory, with Blair becoming the only Labour leader besides
Harold Wilson James Harold Wilson, Baron Wilson of Rievaulx, (11 March 1916 – 24 May 1995) was a British politician who was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom The prime minister of the United Kingdom is the head of government The hea ...

Harold Wilson
to form three majority governments. However, its
majority A majority, also called a simple majority to distinguish it from similar terms (see the "Related terms" section below), is the greater part, or more than half, of the total.See dictionary definitions of "majority" aMerriam-Webster
fell to 66 seats compared to the 167-seat majority it had won four years before. This was the first time the Labour Party had won a third consecutive election, and remains the party's most recent general election victory. The Labour campaign emphasised a strong economy; however, Blair had suffered a decline in popularity, which was exacerbated by the decision to send British troops to invade Iraq in 2003. Despite this, Labour mostly retained its leads over the
Conservatives Conservatism is a political and social philosophy promoting traditional social institutions. The central tenets of conservatism may vary in relation to the traditional values or practices of the culture Culture () is an umbrella term w ...

Conservatives
in opinion polls on economic competence and leadership, and Conservative leaders
Iain Duncan Smith Sir George Iain Duncan Smith (born George Ian Duncan Smith; 9 April 1954), often referred to by his initials IDS, is a British politician who served as Leader of the Conservative Party and Leader of the Opposition The Leader of the Opposition ...
(2001–2003) and
Michael Howard Michael Howard, Baron Howard of Lympne, (born Michael Hecht; 7 July 1941) is a British politician who served as Leader of the Conservative Party and Leader of the Opposition The Leader of the Opposition is a title traditionally held by the le ...

Michael Howard
(2003–2005) struggled to capitalise on Blair's unpopularity, with the party consistently trailing behind Labour in the polls throughout the 2001–2005 parliament. The Conservatives campaigned on policies such as immigration limits, improving poorly managed hospitals, and reducing high crime rates. The Liberal Democrats, led by
Charles Kennedy Charles Peter Kennedy (25 November 1959 – 1 June 2015) was a British Liberal Democrats (UK), Liberal Democrat politician who was Leader of the Liberal Democrats from 1999 Liberal Democrats leadership election, 1999 to 2006 Liberal Democrats ...

Charles Kennedy
, were opposed to the Iraq War, given that there had been no second
UN
UN
resolution, and collected votes from disenchanted Labour voters.
Tony Blair Sir Anthony Charles Lynton Blair (born 6 May 1953) is a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1997 to 2007 and Leader of the Labour Party (UK), Leader of the Labour Party from 1994 to 2007. On his resig ...

Tony Blair
was returned as
Prime Minister A prime minister or a premier is the head of the cabinet Cabinet or The Cabinet may refer to: Furniture * Cabinetry, a box-shaped piece of furniture with doors and/or drawers * Display cabinet, a piece of furniture with one or more transpa ...
, with Labour having 355 MPs, but with a popular vote share of 35.2%, the smallest of any majority government in UK electoral history. In terms of votes, it was only narrowly ahead of the Conservatives, but still had a comfortable lead in terms of seats. The Conservatives returned 198 MPs, with 32 more seats than they had won at the previous general election, and won the popular vote in
England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest of England and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. E ...

England
, while still ending up with 91 fewer MPs in England than Labour. The Liberal Democrats saw their popular vote increase by 3.7% and won the most seats of any third party since
1923 Events January * January 1 – The Grouping: All major British railway companies are grouped into four larger companies, under terms of the Railways Act 1921. * January 1–January 7, 7 – Rosewood massacre: In a violent, racially mot ...
, with 62 MPs. Anti-war activist and former Labour MP
George Galloway George Galloway (born 16 August 1954) is a British politician, broadcaster, and writer serving as the leader of the Workers Party of Britain The Workers Party of Britain (WPB) is a Minor party, minor List of political parties in the United ...

George Galloway
was elected as the MP for
Bethnal Green and Bow Bethnal Green and Bow is a United Kingdom constituencies, constituency in Greater London, represented in the British House of Commons, House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, UK Parliament since 2010 United Kingdom general election ...
under the
Respect – The Unity Coalition The Respect Party was a left-wing Left-wing politics supports social equality and egalitarianism Egalitarianism (), or equalitarianism, is a school of thought within political philosophy that builds from the concept of social equali ...
banner; Richard Taylor was re-elected for Kidderminster Health Concern in
Wyre Forest __NOTOC__ Path through the forest immediately north of Bewdley Wyre Forest is a large, semi-natural (partially unmanaged) woodland A woodland () is, in the broad sense, land covered with trees, or in a narrow sense, synonymous with wood (o ...
; and
independent candidate An independent or nonpartisan politician is a politician not affiliated with any political party. There are numerous reasons why someone may stand for office as an independent. Some politicians have political views that do not align with the pla ...
Peter Law Peter John Law (1 April 1948 – 25 April 2006) was a Welsh politician. Formerly a member of the Labour Party, he stood as an independent candidate in the 2005 general election, defeating the Labour candidate by over 9,000 vote. ''The Daily Tele ...
was elected in
Blaenau Gwent Blaenau Gwent (; ) is a county borough County borough is a term introduced in 1889 in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, to refer to a borough or a city independent of county council A county council is the elected administ ...
. In
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland ( ga, Tuaisceart Éireann ; sco, label=Ulster-ScotsUlster Scots, also known as Scotch-Irish, may refer to: * Ulster Scots people The Ulster Scots (Ulster-Scots The Ulster Scots (Ulster Scots dialects, Ulster- ...

Northern Ireland
, the
Ulster Unionist Party The Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) is a unionist and conservative Conservatism is a Political philosophy, political and social philosophy promoting traditional social institutions. The central tenets of conservatism may vary in relation to ...
, the more moderate of the main unionist parties, which had dominated Northern Irish politics since the 1920s, was reduced from six MPs to one, with party leader
David Trimble William David Trimble, Baron Trimble, PC (born 15 October 1944), is a Northern Irish politician who was the first First Minister of Northern Ireland from 1998 to 2002, and the leader of the Ulster Unionist Party The Ulster Unionist Par ...

David Trimble
himself being unseated. The more hardline
Democratic Unionist Party The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP; ga, Páirtí Aontachtach Daonlathach) is a unionist political party in Northern Ireland favouring British identity. It was founded in 1971 during the Troubles by Ian Paisley, who led the party for the nex ...
became the largest Northern Irish party, with nine MPs elected. Notable MPs leaving the House of Commons at this election included UUP leader
David Trimble William David Trimble, Baron Trimble, PC (born 15 October 1944), is a Northern Irish politician who was the first First Minister of Northern Ireland from 1998 to 2002, and the leader of the Ulster Unionist Party The Ulster Unionist Par ...

David Trimble
, former
SDLP The Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) ( ga, Páirtí Sóisialta Daonlathach an Lucht Oibre) is a social-democratic and Irish nationalist political party A political party is an organization that coordinates candidates to compete ...
leader
John Hume John Hume (18 January 19373 August 2020) was an Irish nationalist politician from Northern Ireland Northern Ireland ( ga, Tuaisceart Éireann ; Ulster Scots dialects, Ulster-Scots: ') is #Descriptions, variously described as a country, ...

John Hume
, former Cabinet ministers
Estelle Morris Estelle Morris, Baroness Morris of Yardley, PC (born 17 June 1952), is a British Labour Party politician, who was the Member of Parliament A member of parliament (MP) is the representative of the people who live in their constituency. In m ...
,
Paul Boateng Paul Yaw Boateng, Baron Boateng (born 14 June 1951) is a British Labour Party politician A politician is a person active in party politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in grou ...
, Chris Smith,
Gillian Shephard Gillian Patricia Shephard, Baroness Shephard of Northwold, Privy Council of the United Kingdom, PC, Deputy Lieutenant, DL (''née'' Watts; born 22 January 1940), is an English Conservative Party (UK), Conservative politician. She was the Membe ...
,
Virginia Bottomley Virginia Hilda Brunette Maxwell Bottomley, Baroness Bottomley of Nettlestone, PC, DL (née__NOTOC__ A birth name is the name of the person given upon their birth. The term may be applied to the surname, the given name or to the entire name. ...

Virginia Bottomley
and
Michael Portillo Michael Denzil Xavier Portillo (born 26 May 1953) is a British journalist, broadcaster and former politician known for presenting ''Great British Railway Journeys'' and ''Great Continental Railway Journeys''. A former member of the Conservative ...

Michael Portillo
, the Father of the House of Commons
Tam Dalyell Sir Thomas Dalyell, 11th Baronet ( ; 9 August 1932 – 26 January 2017), known as Tam Dalyell, was a Scottish Labour Party politician who was a member of the House of Commons The House of Commons is the name for the elected lower house of the ...
, Tony Banks and Sir Teddy Taylor. Following the election,
Michael Howard Michael Howard, Baron Howard of Lympne, (born Michael Hecht; 7 July 1941) is a British politician who served as Leader of the Conservative Party and Leader of the Opposition The Leader of the Opposition is a title traditionally held by the le ...

Michael Howard
conceded defeat, resigned as Conservative leader and was succeeded by future Prime Minister
David Cameron David William Donald Cameron (born 9 October 1966) is a British politician, businessman, Lobbying, lobbyist, and author who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2010 to 2016. He was Member of Parliament (United Kingdom), Memb ...
. Blair resigned as both Prime Minister and Leader of the Labour Party in June 2007, and was replaced by then-
Chancellor of the Exchequer The chancellor of the Exchequer, often abbreviated to the chancellor, is a senior minister of the Crown within the Government of the United Kingdom, and the chief executive officer of HM Treasury, Her Majesty's Treasury. As one of the four Grea ...
Gordon Brown James Gordon Brown (born 20 February 1951) is a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom The prime minister of the United Kingdom is the head of government The head of government is either the h ...

Gordon Brown
. The election results were broadcast live on the BBC and presented by
Peter Snow Peter John Snow, CBE (born 20 April 1938) is a British radio Radio is the technology of signaling and telecommunication, communicating using radio waves. Radio waves are electromagnetic waves of frequency between 30 hertz (Hz) and 3 ...
,
David Dimbleby David Dimbleby (born 28 October 1938) is a British journalist and former presenter of Current affairs (news format), current affairs and political programmes, perhaps now best known for having presented the BBC's long-running topical debate prog ...
, Tony King,
Jeremy Paxman Jeremy Dickson Paxman (born 11 May 1950) is a British broadcaster, journalist, author, and television presenter. Born in Leeds Leeds is the largest city in the Ceremonial counties of England, county of West Yorkshire, England and the mos ...
, and
Andrew Marr Andrew William Stevenson Marr (born 31 July 1959) is a British journalist and presenter for radio and television. Beginning his career as a political commentator, he subsequently edited ''The Independent ''The Independent'' is a British o ...
.


Overview

The governing
Labour Party Labour Party or Labor Party may refer to: Angola *MPLA, known for some years as "Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola – Labour Party" Antigua and Barbuda *Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party Argentina *Labour Party (Argentina) Armenia ...
, led by
Tony Blair Sir Anthony Charles Lynton Blair (born 6 May 1953) is a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1997 to 2007 and Leader of the Labour Party (UK), Leader of the Labour Party from 1994 to 2007. On his resig ...

Tony Blair
, was looking to secure a third consecutive term in office and to retain a large majority. The
Conservative Party Conservative Party may refer to: Europe Current *Croatian Conservative Party, *Conservative Party (Czech Republic) *Conservative People's Party (Denmark) *Conservative Party of Georgia *Conservative Party (Norway) *Conservative Party (UK) Histor ...

Conservative Party
was seeking to regain seats lost to both Labour and the Liberal Democrats since the 1992 general election, and move from being the
Official Opposition Parliamentary opposition is a form of political opposition to a designated government, particularly in a Westminster Westminster is a district in central London London is the capital city, capital and List of urban areas in the Unite ...
into government. The Liberal Democrats hoped to make gains from both main parties, but especially the Conservative Party, with a "decapitation" strategy targeting members of the
Shadow Cabinet#REDIRECT Shadow cabinet The shadow cabinet or shadow ministry is a feature of the Westminster system of government. It consists of a senior group of opposition spokespeople who, under the leadership of the parliamentary opposition, Leader of t ...
. The Lib Dems had also wished to become the governing party, or to make enough gains to become the Official Opposition, but more realistically hoped to play a major part in a parliament led by a minority Labour or Conservative government. In Northern Ireland the
Democratic Unionist Party The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP; ga, Páirtí Aontachtach Daonlathach) is a unionist political party in Northern Ireland favouring British identity. It was founded in 1971 during the Troubles by Ian Paisley, who led the party for the nex ...
sought to make further gains from the
Ulster Unionist Party The Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) is a unionist and conservative Conservatism is a Political philosophy, political and social philosophy promoting traditional social institutions. The central tenets of conservatism may vary in relation to ...
in unionist politics, and
Sinn Féin Sinn Féin ( , ; en, "eOurselves") is an Irish republican and democratic socialist political party active throughout Ireland; both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The History of Sinn Féin, original Sinn Féin organisation wa ...

Sinn Féin
hoped to overtake the
Social Democratic and Labour Party The Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) ( ga, Páirtí Sóisialta Daonlathach an Lucht Oibre) is a social democracy, social-democratic and Irish nationalism, Irish nationalist list of political parties in Northern Ireland, political party ...
in
nationalist Nationalism is an idea and movement that promotes the interests of a particular nation (as in a in-group and out-group, group of people),Anthony D. Smith, Smith, Anthony. ''Nationalism: Theory, Ideology, History''. Polity (publisher), Polity, ...
politics. (Note that Sinn Féin MPs do not take their seats in the
House of Commons The House of Commons is the name for the elected lower house A lower house is one of two chambers Chambers may refer to: Places Canada: *Chambers Township, Ontario United States: *Chambers County, Alabama *Chambers, Arizona, an unincorpor ...

House of Commons
—they follow a policy of
abstentionsim
abstentionsim
.) The pro-
independence Independence is a condition of a person, nation, country, or Sovereign state, state in which residents and population, or some portion thereof, exercise self-government, and usually sovereignty, over its territory. The opposite of independe ...

independence
Scottish National Party The Scottish National Party (SNP; sco, Scots National Pairty, gd, Pàrtaidh Nàiseanta na h-Alba ) is a Scottish nationalist Scottish nationalism promotes the idea that the Scottish people form a cohesive nation and Scottish national iden ...
and
Plaid Cymru Plaid Cymru ( ; ; officially Plaid Cymru – the Party of Wales, often referred to simply as Plaid) is a centre-left Centre-left politics (British English British English (BrE) is the standard dialect of the English language E ...
(Party of Wales) stood candidates in every constituency in
Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba Alba (Scottish Gaelic Scottish Gaelic ( gd, Gàidhlig or Scots Gaelic, sometimes referred to simply as Gaelic) is a Goidelic language (in the Celtic languages, Celtic branch of the Indo-European ...

Scotland
and
Wales Wales ( cy, Cymru ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It is bordered by England to the Wales–England border, east, the Irish Sea to the north and west, and the Bristol Channel to the south. It ...

Wales
respectively. Many seats were contested by other parties, including several parties without incumbents in the House of Commons. Parties that were not represented at Westminster, but had seats in the devolved assemblies and/or the
European Parliament The European Parliament (EP) is one of three Legislature, legislative branches of the European Union and one of its seven Institutions of the European Union, institutions. Together with the Council of the European Union, it adopts European legi ...

European Parliament
, included the
Alliance Party of Northern Ireland The Alliance Party of Northern Ireland (APNI; ga, Páirtí Comhghuaillíochta Thuaisceart Éireann) is a liberal Liberal or liberalism may refer to: Politics *a supporter of liberalism, a political and moral philosophy **Liberalism by countr ...
, the
UK Independence Party The UK Independence Party (UKIP ) is a Eurosceptic, right-wing populist political party in the United Kingdom. The party reached its greatest level of success in the mid-2010s, when it gained two Member of Parliament (United Kingdom), members o ...
, the
Green Party of England and Wales The Green Party of England and Wales (GPEW; cy, Plaid Werdd Cymru a Lloegr, often simply the Green Party or Greens) is a green Green is the between and on the . It is evoked by light which has a of roughly 495570 . In systems, ...
, the
Scottish Green Party The Scottish Greens (also known as the Scottish Green Party; gd, Pàrtaidh Uaine na h-Alba; sco, Scots Green Pairtie) are a green party, green List of political parties in Scotland, political party in Scotland. The party has five Members of th ...
, and the
Scottish Socialist Party The Scottish Socialist Party (SSP; gd, Pàrtaidh Sòisealach na h-Alba; sco, Scots Socialist Pairtie) is a left-wing Left-wing politics supports social equality and egalitarianism Egalitarianism (), or equalitarianism, is a schoo ...
. The Health Concern party also stood again. A full list of parties which declared their intention to run can be found on the list of parties contesting the 2005 general election. All parties campaigned using such tools as party
manifesto A manifesto is a published declaration of the intentions, motives, or views of the issuer, be it an individual, group, political party or government. A manifesto usually accepts a previously published opinion or public consensus or promotes a ...

manifesto
s,
party political broadcast A party political broadcast (also known, in pre-election campaigning periods, as a party election broadcast) is a television or radio broadcast Broadcasting is the distribution (business), distribution of sound, audio or video content to a di ...
s and touring the country in what are commonly referred to as battle buses.
Local elections In many parts of the world, local elections take place to select office-holders in local government Local government is a generic term for the lowest tiers of public administration within a particular sovereign state. This particular usage of t ...
in parts of
England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest of England and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. E ...

England
and in
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland ( ga, Tuaisceart Éireann ; sco, label=Ulster-ScotsUlster Scots, also known as Scotch-Irish, may refer to: * Ulster Scots people The Ulster Scots (Ulster-Scots The Ulster Scots (Ulster Scots dialects, Ulster- ...

Northern Ireland
were held on the same day. The polls were open for fifteen hours, from 07:00 to 22:00 BST (
UTC+1 UTC+01:00 is an identifier for a UTC offset, time offset from UTC of +01:00. In ISO 8601, the associated time would be written as 2019-02-07T23:28:34+01:00. This time is used in: *Central European Time *West Africa Time *Western European Summer ...
). The election came just over three weeks after the
dissolution of Parliament The dissolution of a legislative assembly Legislative assembly is the name given in some countries to either a legislature A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative assembly A deliber ...
on 11 April by
Queen Elizabeth II Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary; born 21 April 1926) is Queen of the United Kingdom The monarchy of the United Kingdom, commonly referred to as the British monarchy, is the constitutional monarchy A constitutional mo ...

Queen Elizabeth II
, at the request of the
Prime Minister A prime minister or a premier is the head of the cabinet Cabinet or The Cabinet may refer to: Furniture * Cabinetry, a box-shaped piece of furniture with doors and/or drawers * Display cabinet, a piece of furniture with one or more transpa ...
,
Tony Blair Sir Anthony Charles Lynton Blair (born 6 May 1953) is a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1997 to 2007 and Leader of the Labour Party (UK), Leader of the Labour Party from 1994 to 2007. On his resig ...

Tony Blair
.


Campaign

Following the death of
Pope John Paul II Pope John Paul II ( la, Ioannes Paulus II; it, Giovanni Paolo II; pl, Jan Paweł II; born Karol Józef Wojtyła ; 18 May 19202 April 2005) was the head of the Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Cathol ...

Pope John Paul II
on 2 April, it was announced that the calling of the election would be delayed until 5 April. Thanks to eight years of sustained economic growth Labour could point to a strong economy, with greater investment in public services such as education and health. This was overshadowed, however, by the issue of the controversial
2003 invasion of Iraq The 2003 invasion of Iraq was the first stage of the Iraq War The Iraq WarThe conflict is also known as the Second Gulf War or the Third Gulf War by those who consider the Iran–Iraq War the first Gulf War. The war was also called the ...
, which met widespread public criticism at the time, and would dog Blair throughout the campaign. The Chancellor,
Gordon Brown James Gordon Brown (born 20 February 1951) is a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom The prime minister of the United Kingdom is the head of government The head of government is either the h ...

Gordon Brown
, played a prominent role in the election campaign, frequently appearing with Blair and ensuring that the economy would remain the central focus of Labour's message. Recently elected Conservative leader
Michael Howard Michael Howard, Baron Howard of Lympne, (born Michael Hecht; 7 July 1941) is a British politician who served as Leader of the Conservative Party and Leader of the Opposition The Leader of the Opposition is a title traditionally held by the le ...

Michael Howard
brought a great level of experience and stability to a party that had ousted its former leader
Iain Duncan Smith Sir George Iain Duncan Smith (born George Ian Duncan Smith; 9 April 1954), often referred to by his initials IDS, is a British politician who served as Leader of the Conservative Party and Leader of the Opposition The Leader of the Opposition ...
just 18 months prior. The Conservatives focused their campaign on more traditional conservative issues like immigration, which created some controversy with the slogan "It's not racist to impose limits on immigration". They also criticised Labour's "dirty" hospitals and high crime levels, under the umbrella of the slogan "Are you thinking what we're thinking?" However, Labour counter-attacked, by emphasising Howard's role in the unpopular Major Government of 1992–1997, airing a party election broadcast attacking Howard, showing a montage of scenes from Howard's tenure as
Home Secretary The home secretary, officially the secretary of state for the Home Department, is a Secretary of State (United Kingdom), secretary of state in the Government of the United Kingdom, with overall responsibility for all Home Office business. The ...
, including prison riots and home repossessions. It also launched a billboard campaign showing Howard, and the Conservative Party's four previous leaders (
Iain Duncan Smith Sir George Iain Duncan Smith (born George Ian Duncan Smith; 9 April 1954), often referred to by his initials IDS, is a British politician who served as Leader of the Conservative Party and Leader of the Opposition The Leader of the Opposition ...
,
William Hague William Jefferson Hague, Baron Hague of Richmond, (born 26 March 1961) is a British Conservative Party (UK), Conservative politician and life peer who served as Leader of the Conservative Party (UK), Leader of the Conservative Party and Leader ...

William Hague
,
John Major Sir John Major (born 29 March 1943) is a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party (UK), Leader of the Conservative Party from 1990 to 1997. He served in the Third Thatcher mi ...

John Major
and
Margaret Thatcher Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher (; 13 October 19258 April 2013), was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom The prime minister of the United Kingdom is the head of government The head of government is either ...

Margaret Thatcher
), with the caption "Britain's working, don't let the Tories wreck it again." For the Liberal Democrats, this was the second and final election campaign fought by leader
Charles Kennedy Charles Peter Kennedy (25 November 1959 – 1 June 2015) was a British Liberal Democrats (UK), Liberal Democrat politician who was Leader of the Liberal Democrats from 1999 Liberal Democrats leadership election, 1999 to 2006 Liberal Democrats ...

Charles Kennedy
, who strongly opposed the Iraq War and personally offered a more down-to-earth approach to voters, which proved popular. There were some questions, however, over Kennedy's abilities when, at the Liberal Democrat manifesto launch, he was asked about local income tax, but appeared confused on the figures. Both the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives were keen to tackle Labour's introduction of
tuition fees Tuition payments, usually known as tuition in American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of variety (linguistics), varieties of the English languag ...
, which both opposition parties opposed and promised to abolish.


Ballot

At the close of voting (2200 BST) the ballot boxes were sealed and returned to the counting centres, where counting proceeded under the supervision of the returning officer who was obliged to declare the result as soon as it was known. As previously, there was serious competition amongst constituencies to be first to declare. Sunderland South repeated its performance in the last three elections and declared Labour incumbent
Chris Mullin Christopher Paul Mullin (born July 30, 1963) is an American former professional basketball Basketball is a team sport in which two teams, most commonly of five players each, opposing one another on a rectangular Basketball court, court, c ...
re-elected as MP with a majority of 11,059 at approximately 2245 BST (failing by two minutes to beat its previous best, but making it eligible for entry into the
Guinness Book of World Records ''Guinness World Records'', known from its inception in 1955 until 1999 as ''The Guinness Book of Records'' and in previous United States editions as ''The Guinness Book of World Records'', is a reference book A reference work is a work, ...
as longest consecutive delivery of first results). The vote itself represented a swing (in a safe Labour seat, in a safe Labour region) of about 4% to the Conservatives and 4.5% to the Liberal Democrats, somewhat below the prediction of BBC/ITV exit polls published shortly after 2200 BST. Sunderland North was the next to declare, followed by Houghton and Washington East, both of whose Labour MPs retained their seats but with reductions in the incumbent majorities of up to 9%. The first Scottish seat to declare was
Rutherglen and Hamilton West Rutherglen and Hamilton West is a burgh constituency of the House of Commons of the United Kingdom, House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which was created for the 2005 United Kingdom general election, 2005 general election. ...
 — another safe Labour seat, also a Labour hold, but with the majority reduced by 4%. The first seat to change hands was
Putney Putney () is a district in southwest London, England, in the London Borough of Wandsworth. It is centred southwest of Charing Cross. The area is identified in the London Plan as one of 35 major centres in Greater London. History Putney is an ...
, where Labour's majority of 2,771 fell to a strong Conservative challenge, with a total swing of about 5,000 (6.2%). This was also the first seat to be declared for the Conservatives. The first Liberal Democrat seat to be declared was North East Fife, the constituency of Lib Dem deputy leader Sir
Menzies Campbell Walter Menzies Campbell, Baron Campbell of Pittenweem, (; born 22 May 1941), often known as Ming Campbell, is a British Liberal Democrat politician A politician is a person active in party politics, or a person holding or seeking an elected ...
which he had held since
1987 Events January * January 2 Events Pre-1600 *AD 69, 69 – The Roman legions in Germania Superior refuse to swear loyalty to Galba. They rebel and proclaim Vitellius as emperor. * 366 – The Alemanni cross the frozen Rhine in larg ...
. The constituency of
Crawley Crawley () is a large town and Borough status in the United Kingdom, borough in West Sussex, England. It is south of London, north of Brighton and Hove, and north-east of the county town of Chichester. Crawley covers an area of and had a p ...
in
West Sussex West Sussex is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by William Chambers (publisher), William an ...

West Sussex
had the slimmest majority of any seat, with
Labour Labour or labor may refer to: * Childbirth Childbirth, also known as labour or delivery, is the ending of pregnancy where one or more babies leaves the uterus by passing through the vagina or by Caesarean section. In 2015, there were about 13 ...
's
Laura Moffatt Laura Jean Moffatt (born 9 April 1954) is a British Labour Party (UK), Labour Party politician who was the Member of Parliament (United Kingdom), Member of Parliament (MP) for Crawley (UK Parliament constituency), Crawley from 1997 United Kingdom ...
holding off the
Conservatives Conservatism is a political and social philosophy promoting traditional social institutions. The central tenets of conservatism may vary in relation to the traditional values or practices of the culture Culture () is an umbrella term w ...

Conservatives
' Henry Smith (British politician), Henry Smith by 37 votes after three recounts.


Polling

Following problems with exit polls in previous British elections, the BBC and ITV agreed for the first time to pool their respective data, using results from Mori and NOP. More than 20,000 people were interviewed for the poll at 120 polling stations across the country. The predictions were very accurate—initial projections saw Labour returned to power with a majority of 66 (down from 160), and the final result (including South Staffordshire (UK Parliament constituency), South Staffordshire, where the election was postponed due to the death of a candidate) was indeed a Labour majority of 66. The projected shares of the vote in Great Britain were Labour 35% (down 6% on 2001), Conservatives 33% (up 1%), Liberal Democrats 22% (up 4%) and other parties 8% (up 1%). The Conservatives were expected to make the biggest gains, however — 44 seats according to the exit poll — with the Liberal Democrats expected to take as few as two. Whilst the Lib Dems' vote share predicted by the exit poll was accurate (22.6% compared to the actual 22.0%), they did better in some Lib Dem-Labour marginals than predicted on the basis of the national share of the vote, and achieved a net gain of 11 seats.


2001 notional result

There were major boundary changes in Scotland, where the number of seats were reduced from 72 to 59. As a result of this each party lost some seats, and this Notional election results, notional election result below is based on the 2001 election results if they had been fought on these new 2005 boundaries.


Results

At 04:28 BST, it was announced that Labour had won Corby (UK Parliament constituency), Corby, giving them 324 seats in the House of Commons out of those then declared and an overall majority, Labour's total reaching 355 seats out of the 646 House of Commons seats. Labour received 35.3% of the Direct election, popular vote, equating to approximately 22% of the electorate on a 61.3% turnout, up from 59.4% turnout in 2001. Increased turnout was mostly attributed to the extension and promotion of the postal voting system, which has been criticised as being too insecure increasing the risk of electoral fraud. As expected, voter disenchantment led to an increase of support for many opposition parties, and caused many eligible to vote, not to turn out. Labour achieved a third successive term in office for the first time in their history, though with reduction of the Labour majority from 167 to 67 (as it was before the declaration of South Staffordshire (UK Parliament constituency), South Staffordshire). As it became clear that Labour had won an overall majority,
Michael Howard Michael Howard, Baron Howard of Lympne, (born Michael Hecht; 7 July 1941) is a British politician who served as Leader of the Conservative Party and Leader of the Opposition The Leader of the Opposition is a title traditionally held by the le ...

Michael Howard
, the leader of the Conservative Party, announced his intention to retire from frontline politics. The final seat to declare was the delayed poll in South Staffordshire, at just after 1 a.m. on Friday 24 June. The election was followed by further criticism of the UK electoral system. Calls for reform came particularly from Lib Dem supporters, citing that they received only just over 10% of the overall seats with 22.1% of the popular vote. The only parties to win a substantially higher percentage of seats than they achieved in votes were Labour, the Democratic Unionist Party, Sinn Féin, and Health Concern, which ran only one candidate. The results of the election give a Gallagher index, Gallagher index of dis-proportionality of 16.76. The Labour Government claimed that being returned to office for a third term for the first time ever showed the public approval of
Labour Labour or labor may refer to: * Childbirth Childbirth, also known as labour or delivery, is the ending of pregnancy where one or more babies leaves the uterus by passing through the vagina or by Caesarean section. In 2015, there were about 13 ...
's governance and the continued unpopularity of the Conservatives. Nevertheless, Labour's vote declined to 35.3%, the lowest share of the popular vote to have formed a majority government in the history of the UK House of Commons. In many areas the collapse in the Labour vote resulted in a host of seats changing hands. Labour also failed to gain any new seats, almost unique in any election since 1945. As well as losing seats to the Tories and the Liberal Democrats, Labour also lost
Blaenau Gwent Blaenau Gwent (; ) is a county borough County borough is a term introduced in 1889 in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, to refer to a borough or a city independent of county council A county council is the elected administ ...
, their safest seat in Wales, to Independent
Peter Law Peter John Law (1 April 1948 – 25 April 2006) was a Welsh politician. Formerly a member of the Labour Party, he stood as an independent candidate in the 2005 general election, defeating the Labour candidate by over 9,000 vote. ''The Daily Tele ...
, and
Bethnal Green and Bow Bethnal Green and Bow is a United Kingdom constituencies, constituency in Greater London, represented in the British House of Commons, House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, UK Parliament since 2010 United Kingdom general election ...
to Respect candidate
George Galloway George Galloway (born 16 August 1954) is a British politician, broadcaster, and writer serving as the leader of the Workers Party of Britain The Workers Party of Britain (WPB) is a Minor party, minor List of political parties in the United ...

George Galloway
. The Conservatives claimed that their increased number of seats showed disenchantment with the Labour government and was a precursor of a Conservative breakthrough at the next election. Following three consecutive elections of declining representation and then in 2001 a net gain of just one seat, 2005 was the first general election since their famous 1983 United Kingdom general election, 1983 landslide victory where the number of Conservative seats increased appreciably, although the Conservatives' vote share increased only slightly and this election did mark the third successive general election in which the Conservatives polled below 35%. In some areas the Conservative vote actually fell. The Conservatives claimed to have won the general election in England, since they received more votes than Labour although Labour still won a majority of seats. The Liberal Democrats claimed that their continued gradual increase in seats and percentage vote showed they were in a position to make further gains from both parties. They pointed in particular to the fact that they were now in second place in roughly one hundred and ninety constituencies and that having had net losses to Labour in the 1992 general election and having not taken a single seat off Labour in 1997 United Kingdom general election, 1997, they had held their gains off Labour from the 2001 general election and had actually made further gains from them. The Liberals also managed to take three seats from the Conservatives, one notable victory being that of Tim Farron over Tim Collins (politician), Tim Collins in Westmorland and Lonsdale (UK Parliament constituency), Westmorland and Lonsdale, through the use of a "decapitation strategy", which targeted senior Tories. The Liberal Democrats increased their percentage of the vote by 3.7%, the Conservatives by 0.6%, and Labour's dropped by 5.4%. The Media of the United Kingdom, UK media interpreted the results as an indicator of a breakdown in trust in the government, and especially in Prime Minister
Tony Blair Sir Anthony Charles Lynton Blair (born 6 May 1953) is a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1997 to 2007 and Leader of the Labour Party (UK), Leader of the Labour Party from 1994 to 2007. On his resig ...

Tony Blair
. Meanwhile, the
Scottish National Party The Scottish National Party (SNP; sco, Scots National Pairty, gd, Pàrtaidh Nàiseanta na h-Alba ) is a Scottish nationalist Scottish nationalism promotes the idea that the Scottish people form a cohesive nation and Scottish national iden ...
improved its position in Scotland, regaining the Na h-Eileanan an Iar (UK Parliament constituency), Western Isles and Dundee East (UK Parliament constituency), Dundee East from Labour, having lost both seats in 1987. In Wales Plaid Cymru failed to gain any seats and lost Ceredigion (UK Parliament constituency), Ceredigion to the Liberal Democrats. In Northern Ireland the Ulster Unionists were all but wiped out, only keeping North Down (UK Parliament constituency), North Down, with leader David Trimble losing his seat in Upper Bann (UK Parliament constituency), Upper Bann. For the first time the DUP became the biggest party in Northern Ireland. It was the first general election since 1929 United Kingdom general election, 1929 in which no party received more than ten million votes. It was the most "three-cornered" election since
1923 Events January * January 1 – The Grouping: All major British railway companies are grouped into four larger companies, under terms of the Railways Act 1921. * January 1–January 7, 7 – Rosewood massacre: In a violent, racially mot ...
, though the Liberal Democrats failed to match the higher national votes of the SDP–Liberal Alliance in the 1980s either in absolute or percentage terms. The total combined vote for Labour, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats proved to be the lowest main three-party vote since 1922 United Kingdom general election, 1922. The figure of 355 seats for Labour does not include the Speaker Michael Martin, Baron Martin of Springburn, Michael Martin. See also the List of parties contesting the 2005 United Kingdom general election#Parties standing in Northern Ireland, list of parties standing in Northern Ireland.


MPs who lost their seats


Post-election events


Formation of government

Following the election result, Labour remained in power and
Tony Blair Sir Anthony Charles Lynton Blair (born 6 May 1953) is a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1997 to 2007 and Leader of the Labour Party (UK), Leader of the Labour Party from 1994 to 2007. On his resig ...

Tony Blair
remained
Prime Minister A prime minister or a premier is the head of the cabinet Cabinet or The Cabinet may refer to: Furniture * Cabinetry, a box-shaped piece of furniture with doors and/or drawers * Display cabinet, a piece of furniture with one or more transpa ...
. The morning after the election Blair travelled to Buckingham Palace seeking Elizabeth II, The Queen's permission to Third Blair ministry, form his third government and beginning his third term as Prime Minister. Blair Cabinet reshuffle, reshuffled his Cabinet and junior ministers over the following weekend, with formal announcements made on 9 May 2005. The most senior positions of Chancellor of the Exchequer, Chancellor,
Home Secretary The home secretary, officially the secretary of state for the Home Department, is a Secretary of State (United Kingdom), secretary of state in the Government of the United Kingdom, with overall responsibility for all Home Office business. The ...
and Foreign Secretary remained the same (
Gordon Brown James Gordon Brown (born 20 February 1951) is a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom The prime minister of the United Kingdom is the head of government The head of government is either the h ...

Gordon Brown
, Charles Clarke and Jack Straw respectively), but a few new faces were added. Most notably, David Blunkett returned to cabinet as the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Work and Pensions Secretary, although he was forced to resign again due to another scandal before the end of the year that spawned a national press and opposition campaign for his dismissal. Patricia Hewitt became the new Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Health Secretary, Tessa Jowell remained as Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Culture Secretary, whilst Alan Johnson was promoted to Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Trade and Industry Secretary. Meanwhile, Ruth Kelly retained the Secretary of State for Education, Education job and Margaret Beckett stayed put at Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Environment. The new Parliament met on 11 May for the election of the Speaker of the House of Commons (United Kingdom), Speaker of the House of Commons.


New party leaders

On 6 May,
Michael Howard Michael Howard, Baron Howard of Lympne, (born Michael Hecht; 7 July 1941) is a British politician who served as Leader of the Conservative Party and Leader of the Opposition The Leader of the Opposition is a title traditionally held by the le ...

Michael Howard
announced he would be standing down as leader of the Conservative Party, but not before a review of the leadership rules. The formal 2005 Conservative Party leadership election, leadership election began in October, and was ultimately won by
David Cameron David William Donald Cameron (born 9 October 1966) is a British politician, businessman, Lobbying, lobbyist, and author who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2010 to 2016. He was Member of Parliament (United Kingdom), Memb ...
. On 7 May,
David Trimble William David Trimble, Baron Trimble, PC (born 15 October 1944), is a Northern Irish politician who was the first First Minister of Northern Ireland from 1998 to 2002, and the leader of the Ulster Unionist Party The Ulster Unionist Par ...

David Trimble
resigned as leader of the Ulster Unionist Party; Sir Reg Empey was 2005 Ulster Unionist Party leadership election, elected as his successor at an Ulster Unionist Council meeting on 24 June.


End of the term

Blair's successor as
Prime Minister A prime minister or a premier is the head of the cabinet Cabinet or The Cabinet may refer to: Furniture * Cabinetry, a box-shaped piece of furniture with doors and/or drawers * Display cabinet, a piece of furniture with one or more transpa ...
,
Gordon Brown James Gordon Brown (born 20 February 1951) is a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom The prime minister of the United Kingdom is the head of government The head of government is either the h ...

Gordon Brown
(who came to office as Prime Minister on 27 June 2007) visited Buckingham Palace on 6 April 2010 and asked the Queen to dissolve Parliament on 12 April. The 2010 United Kingdom general election, next election was held on 6 May 2010.Gordon Brown calls 6 May general election
– BBC News, 6 April 2010


Further reading

* John Bartle and Anthony King, eds. ''Britain at the Polls 2005'' (2005
excerpt and text search
* Andrew Geddes and Jonathan Tonge, eds. ''Britain decides: the UK general election 2005'' (2005) 311 pages * Dennis Kavanagh and David Butler, eds. ''The British General Election of 2005'' (2006) essays by political scientists


See also

* List of MPs elected in the 2005 United Kingdom general election * 2005 United Kingdom general election in England * 2005 United Kingdom general election in Scotland * 2005 United Kingdom general election in Wales * 2005 United Kingdom general election in Northern Ireland * List of MPs for constituencies in England (2005–2010) * List of MPs for constituencies in Northern Ireland (2005–2010) * List of MPs for constituencies in Scotland (2005–2010) * List of MPs for constituencies in Wales (2005–2010) * 2005 United Kingdom local elections * Results of the 2005 United Kingdom general election * Results breakdown of the 2005 United Kingdom general election


References


External links


NSD: European Election * http://news.bbc.co.uk/nol/ifs_news/hi/uk_news/politics/vote_2005/default.stm Database – UK
{{New Labour 2005 United Kingdom general election, General elections to the Parliament of the United Kingdom, 2005 2005 elections in the United Kingdom, * May 2005 events in the United Kingdom