The Info List - United Kingdom General Election, 1997

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* Indicates boundary change – so this is a nominal figure ^ Figure does not include the speaker

Prime Minister before election John Major Conservative

Appointed Prime Minister Tony Blair Labour

1987 election MPs

1992 election MPs

1997 election MPs

2001 election MPs

2005 election MPs

Seats won in the election (outer ring) against number of votes (inner ring).

The 1997 United Kingdom
United Kingdom
general election was held on Thursday 1 May 1997, five years after the previous election on 9 April 1992, to elect 659 members to the British House of Commons. Under the leadership of Tony Blair, the Labour Party ended its 18 years in opposition and won the general election with a landslide victory, winning 418 seats, the most seats the party has ever held, and the highest proportion of seats held by any party in the post-war era. The election saw a huge 10.2% swing from the Conservatives to the Labour Party on a national turnout of 71% and would be the last national vote where turnout exceeded 70% until the 2016 EU referendum was held nineteen years later. Blair, as a result, became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, a position he held until his resignation on 27 June 2007. Under Blair's leadership, the Labour Party had adopted a more centrist policy platform under the name 'New Labour'. This was seen as moving away from the traditionally more left-wing stance of the Labour Party. Labour made several campaign pledges such as the creation of a National Minimum Wage, devolution referendums for Scotland
and Wales and promised greater economic competence than the Conservatives, who were unpopular following the events of Black Wednesday
Black Wednesday
in 1992; from then until 1997, the party consistently trailed behind Labour in the opinion polls. The Labour campaign was ultimately a success and the party returned an unprecedented 418 MPs and began the first of three consecutive terms for Labour in government. However, 1997 was the last election in which Labour had a net gain of seats until 2017. A record number of women were elected to parliament, 120, of whom 101 were Labour MPs. This was in part thanks to Labour's policy of using all-women shortlists. The Conservative Party was led by incumbent Prime Minister John Major and ran their campaign emphasising falling unemployment and a strong economic recovery following the early 1990s recession. However, a series of scandals,[2] party disunity over the European Union, the events of Black Wednesday
Black Wednesday
and a desire of the electorate for change after 18 years of Tory rule all contributed to the Conservatives' worst defeat since 1906, with only 165 MPs elected to Westminster, as well as their lowest percentage share of the vote since 1832. The party was left with no seats whatsoever in Scotland
or Wales, and many key Conservative politicians, including Defence Secretary Michael Portillo, Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind, Trade Secretary Ian Lang, Scottish Secretary Michael Forsyth and former ministers Edwina Currie, Norman Lamont, David Mellor
David Mellor
and Neil Hamilton lost their parliamentary seats. However, future Prime Minister Theresa May
Theresa May
was elected to the safe Conservative seat at Maidenhead, and current Speaker John Bercow
John Bercow
in the seat at Buckingham. Following the defeat, the Conservatives began their longest continuous spell in opposition in the history of the present day (post–Tamworth Manifesto) Conservative Party, and indeed the longest such spell for any incarnation of the Tories/Conservatives since the 1760s, lasting 13 years including the whole of the 2000s. Throughout this period, their representation in the Commons remained consistently below 200 MPs. The Liberal Democrats, under Paddy Ashdown, returned 46 MPs to parliament, the most for any third party since 1929 and more than double the number of seats they got in 1992, despite a drop in popular vote. The Scottish National Party
Scottish National Party
(SNP) returned 6 MPs, double their total in 1992. As with all general elections since the early 1950s, the results were broadcast live on the BBC; the presenters were David Dimbleby, Peter Snow and Jeremy Paxman.[3]


1 Overview 2 Loss of parliamentary majority 3 Timing 4 Campaign

4.1 Conservative campaign 4.2 Labour campaign 4.3 Liberal Democrat campaign

5 Notional 1992 results 6 Results

6.1 Results by constituent country

7 Defeated MPs

7.1 Conservative Ministers who lost their seats 7.2 Other Conservative MPs who lost their seats 7.3 Liberal Democrats who lost their seats 7.4 Social and Democratic Labour Party MP who lost his seat 7.5 Democratic Unionist MP who lost his seat 7.6 Referendum
Party MP who lost his seat

8 Post election events 9 Internet coverage 10 See also 11 Footnotes 12 References 13 Further reading

13.1 Manifestos

14 External links

Overview[edit] The British economy had been in recession at the time of the 1992 election, which the Conservatives had won, and although the recession had ended within a year, events such as Black Wednesday
Black Wednesday
had tarnished the Conservative government's reputation for economic management. Labour had elected John Smith as its party leader in 1992, but his death from heart attack in 1994 led the way for Tony Blair
Tony Blair
to become Labour leader. Blair brought the party closer to the political centre and abolished the party's Clause IV
Clause IV
in their constitution, which had committed them to mass nationalisation of industry. Labour also reversed its policy on unilateral nuclear disarmament and the events of Black Wednesday allowed Labour to promise greater economic management under the Chancellorship of Gordon Brown. A manifesto, entitled New Labour, New Life For Britain was released in 1996 and outlined 5 key pledges:

Class sizes to be cut to 30 or under for 5, 6 and 7 year olds by using money from the assisted places scheme. Fast track punishment for persistent young offenders, by halving the time from arrest to sentencing. Cut NHS waiting lists by treating an extra 100,000 patients as a first step by releasing £100 million saved from NHS red tape. Get 250,000 under 25 year olds off benefit and into work by using money from a windfall levy on the privatised utilities. No rise in income tax rates, cut VAT
on heating to 5%, and keeping inflation and interest rates as low as possible.

Disputes within the Conservative government over European Union issues, and a variety of "sleaze" allegations had severely affected the government's popularity. Despite the strong economic recovery and substantial fall in unemployment in the four years leading up to the election, the rise in Conservative support was only marginal with all of the major opinion polls having shown Labour in a comfortable lead since late 1992.[4] Loss of parliamentary majority[edit] Following the 1992 General Election, the Conservatives held government with 336 of the 651 House of Commons seats. Through a series of defections and by-election defeats, the Conservative government gradually lost its absolute majority in the House of Commons. By 1997, the Conservatives held only 324 House of Commons seats.

1993 Judith Chaplin (Newbury) died, by-election won by Liberal Democrats. 1993 Robert Adley (ChristChurch) died, by-election won by Liberal Democrats. 1994 Stephen Milligan
Stephen Milligan
(Eastleigh) died, by-election won by Liberal Democrats. 1994 John Blackburn (Dudley West) died, by-election won by Labour. 1995 Sir Nicholas Fairbairn (Perth and Kinross) died, by-election won by Scottish National Party. 1995 Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens
(Littleborough and Saddleworth) died, by-election won by Liberal Democrats. 1995 Alan Howarth (Stratford-on-Avon) defected from Conservative to Labour. 1995 Emma Nicholson
Emma Nicholson
(Devon West and Torridge) defected from Conservatives to Liberal Democrats. 1996 Sir David Lightbown (South East Staffordshire) died, by-election won by Labour. 1996 Peter Thurnham (Bolton North East) defected from Conservatives to Liberal Democrats. 1996 Barry Porter (Wirral South) died, by-election won by Labour. 1997 George Gardiner (Reigate) defected from Conservatives to Referendum

Timing[edit] The previous Parliament first sat on 29 April 1992. The Parliament Act 1911 required at the time for each Parliament to be dissolved before the fifth anniversary of its first sitting, therefore the latest date the dissolution and the summoning of the next parliament could have been held on was 28 April 1997. The 1985 amendment of the Representation of the People Act 1983 required that the election must take place on the eleventh working day after the deadline for nomination papers, which in turn must be no more than six working days after the next parliament was summoned. Therefore, the latest date the election could have been held on was 22 May 1997 (which happened to be a Thursday). British elections (and referendums) have been held on Thursdays by convention since the 1930s, but can be held on other working days. Campaign[edit] Prime Minister John Major
John Major
called the election on Monday 17 March 1997, ensuring the formal campaign would be unusually long, at six weeks (Parliament was dissolved on 8 April[5]). The election was scheduled for 1 May, to coincide with the local elections on the same day. This set a precedent, as the three subsequent general elections were also held alongside the May local elections. The Conservatives argued that a long campaign would expose Labour and allow the Conservative message to be heard. However, Major was accused of arranging an early dissolution to protect Neil Hamilton from a pending parliamentary report into his conduct: a report that Major had earlier guaranteed would be published before the election. In March 1997, soon after the election was called, Asda
introduced a range of election themed beers, these being Major's Mild, Tony's Tipple and Ashdown's Ale.[6] Conservative campaign[edit] The Conservatives started low in the polls, and had experienced great difficulties over the past 5 years, with polling often putting it some 40 points adrift of Labour. Major hoped that a long campaign would expose Labour's "hollowness" and the Conservative campaign emphasised stability, as did its manifesto title 'You can only be sure with the Conservatives'.[7] However, the campaign was beset by deep set problems, such as the rise of James Goldsmith's Referendum
Party, advocating a referendum on continued membership of the European Union. The Party threatened to take away many right leaning voters from the Conservatives. Furthermore, about 200 candidates broke with official Conservative policy to oppose British membership of the single European currency.[8] Major fought back, saying: "Whether you agree with me or disagree with me; like me or loathe me, don't bind my hands when I am negotiating on behalf of the British nation." The moment is remembered as one of the defining, and most surreal, moments of the election.[9][7] Meanwhile, there was also division amongst the Conservative cabinet, with Chancellor Kenneth Clarke
Kenneth Clarke
describing the views of Home Secretary Michael Howard
Michael Howard
on Europe as "paranoid and xenophobic nonsense". The Conservatives also struggled to come up with a definitive theme to attack Labour, with some strategists arguing for an approach which castigated Labour for "stealing Tory clothes" (copying their positions), with others making the case for a more confrontational approach, stating that "New Labour" was just a façade for "old Labour". The New Labour, New Danger
New Labour, New Danger
poster, which depicted Tony Blair
Tony Blair
with demon eyes, was an example of the latter strategy. Major veered between the two approaches, which left Conservative Central Office staff frustrated. As Andrew Cooper explained: "We repeatedly tried and failed to get him to understand that you couldn't say that they were dangerous and copying you at the same time."[10] In any case, the campaign failed to gain much traction, and the Conservatives went down to a landslide defeat at the polls. Labour campaign[edit] Labour ran a slick campaign, which emphasised the splits within the Conservative government, and argued that the country needed a more centrist administration. Labour ran a centrist campaign that was good at picking up dissatisfied Tory voters, particularly moderate and suburban ones. Tony Blair, highly popular, was very much the centrepiece of the campaign, and proved a highly effective campaigner. The Labour campaign was reminiscent of those of Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton
for the US Presidency, focusing on centrist themes, as well as adopting policies more commonly associated with the right, such as cracking down on crime and fiscal responsibility. The influence of political "spin" came into great effect for Labour at this point, as media centric figures such as Alastair Campbell
Alastair Campbell
and Peter Mandelson
Peter Mandelson
provided a clear cut campaign, and establishing a relatively new political brand "New Labour" with enviable success. Liberal Democrat campaign[edit] The Liberal Democrats had suffered a disappointing performance in 1992, but they were very much strengthened in 1997 due to potential tactical voting between Labour and Lib Dem supporters in Tory marginal constituencies, particularly in the south - particularly given their share of the vote decreased while their number of seats nearly doubled. The Lib Dems promised to increase education funding paid for by a 1p increase in income tax. Notional 1992 results[edit] The election was fought under new boundaries, with a net increase of eight seats compared to the 1992 election (651 to 659). Changes listed here are from the notional 1992 result, had it been fought on the boundaries established in 1997. These notional results were calculated by Colin Rallings and Michael Thrasher and were used by all media organisations at the time.

UK General Election 1992

Party Seats Gains Losses Net gain/loss Seats % Votes % Votes +/−

  Labour 273 17 15 +2 41.6 34.4 11,560,484

  Conservative 343 28 21 +7 52.1 41.9 14,093,007

  Liberal Democrat 18 0 2 −2 2.7 17.8 5,999,384

  Others 25 1 0 +1 3.6 5.9

The notional results of the 1992 election, as shown on a map of the 1997 constituencies.

Results[edit] Labour won a landslide victory with their largest parliamentary majority (179) to date. On the BBC's election night programme Professor Anthony King described the result of the exit poll, which accurately predicted a Labour landslide, as being akin to "an asteroid hitting the planet and destroying practically all life on Earth". After years of trying, Labour had convinced the electorate that they would usher in a new age of prosperity—their policies, organisation and tone of optimism slotting perfectly into place. Labour's victory was largely credited to the charisma of Tony Blair and a Labour public relations machine managed by Alastair Campbell
Alastair Campbell
and Peter Mandelson. Between the 1992 election and the 1997 election there had also been major steps to modernise the party, including scrapping Clause IV
Clause IV
that had committed the party to extending public ownership of industry. Labour had suddenly seized the middle ground of the political spectrum, attracting voters much further to the right than their traditional working class or left wing support. In the early hours of 2 May 1997 a party was held at the Royal Festival Hall, in which Blair stated that "a new dawn has broken, has it not?". The election was a crushing defeat for the Conservative Party, with the party having its lowest percentage share of the popular vote since 1832 under the Duke of Wellington's leadership, being wiped out in Scotland
and Wales. A number of prominent Conservative MPs lost their seats in the election, including Michael Portillo, Malcolm Rifkind, Edwina Currie, David Mellor, Neil Hamilton and Norman Lamont. Such was the extent of Conservative losses at the election that Cecil Parkinson, speaking on the BBC's election night programme, joked upon the Conservatives winning their second seat that he was pleased that the subsequent election for the leadership would be contested. The Liberal Democrats more than doubled their number of seats thanks to the use of tactical voting against the Conservatives. Although their share of the vote fell slightly, their total of 46 MPs was the highest for any UK Liberal party since David Lloyd George
David Lloyd George
led the party to 59 seats in 1929. The Referendum
Party, which sought a referendum on the United Kingdom's relationship with the European Union, came fourth in terms of votes with 800,000 votes mainly from former Conservative voters,[citation needed] but won no seats in parliament. The six parties with the next highest votes stood only in either Scotland, Northern Ireland or Wales; in order, they were the Scottish National Party, the Ulster Unionist Party, the Social Democratic and Labour Party, Plaid Cymru, Sinn Féin, and the Democratic Unionist Party. In the previously safe seat of Tatton, where incumbent Conservative MP Neil Hamilton was facing charges of having taken cash for questions, the Labour and Liberal Democrat parties decided not to field candidates in order that an independent candidate, Martin Bell, would have a better chance of winning the seat, which he did with a comfortable margin. The result declared for the constituency of Winchester showed a margin of victory of just two votes for the Liberal Democrats. The defeated Conservative candidate mounted a successful legal challenge to the result on the grounds that errors by election officials (failures to stamp certain votes) had changed the result; the court ruled the result invalid and ordered 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 decision to challenge the original result in the first place. This election marked the start of Labour government for the next 13 years, until the formation of the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition in 2010.

418 165 46 30

Labour Conservative Lib Dem O

UK General Election 1997

Candidates Votes

Party Leader Stood Elected Gained Unseated Net % of total % No. Net %

  Labour Tony Blair 639 418 146 1[11] +145 63.4 43.2 13,518,167 +8.8

  Conservative John Major 648 165 0 178 –178 25.0 30.7 9,600,943 –11.2

  Liberal Democrat Paddy Ashdown 639 46 30 2 +28 7.0 16.8 5,242,947 –1.0

  Referendum James Goldsmith 547 0 0 0 0

2.6 811,849 N/A

  SNP Alex Salmond 72 6 3 0 +3 0.9 2.0 621,550 +0.1

  UUP David Trimble 16 10 1 0 +1 1.5 0.8 258,349 0.0

  SDLP John Hume 18 3 0 1 –1 0.5 0.6 190,814 +0.1

  Plaid Cymru Dafydd Wigley 40 4 0 0 0 0.6 0.5 161,030 0.0

  Sinn Féin Gerry Adams 17 2 2 0 +2 0.3 0.4 126,921 0.0

  DUP Ian Paisley 9 2 0 1 –1 0.3 0.3 107,348 0.0

  UKIP Alan Sked 193 0 0 0 0

0.3 105,722 N/A

  Independent N/A 25 1 1 0 +1 0.2 0.1 64,482 0.0

  Green Peg Alexander and David Taylor 89 0 0 0 0

0.3 61,731 –0.2

  Alliance John Alderdice 17 0 0 0 0

0.2 62,972 0.0

  Socialist Labour Arthur Scargill 64 0 0 0 0

0.2 52,109 N/A

  Liberal Michael Meadowcroft 53 0 0 0 0

0.1 45,166 –0.1

  BNP John Tyndall 57 0 0 0 0

0.1 35,832 0.0

  Natural Law Geoffrey Clements 197 0 0 0 0

0.1 30,604 –0.1

  Speaker Betty Boothroyd 1 1 1 0 0

0.1 23,969

  ProLife Alliance Bruno Quintavalle 56 0 0 0 0

0.1 19,332 N/A

  UK Unionist Robert McCartney 1 1 1 0 +1 0.2 0.0 12,817 N/A

  PUP Hugh Smyth 3 0 0 0 0

0.0 10,928 N/A

  National Democrats Ian Anderson 21 0 0 0 0

0.0 10,829 N/A

  Socialist Alternative Peter Taaffe

0 0 0 0

0.0 9,906 N/A

  Scottish Socialist Tommy Sheridan 16 0 0 0 0

0.0 9,740 N/A

  Independent Labour N/A 4 0 0 0 0

0.0 9,233 – 0.1

  Independent Conservative N/A 4 0 0 0 0

0.0 8,608 –0.1

  Monster Raving Loony Screaming Lord Sutch 24 0 0 0 0

0.0 7,906 –0.1

  Rainbow Dream Ticket Rainbow George Weiss 29 0 0 0 0

0.0 3,745 N/A

  NI Women's Coalition Monica McWilliams and Pearl Sagar 3 0 0 0 0

0.0 3,024 N/A

  Workers' Party Tom French 8 0 0 0 0

0.0 2,766 –0.1

  National Front John McAuley 6 0 0 0 0

0.0 2,716 N/A

  Legalise Cannabis Howard Marks 4 0 0 0 0

0.0 2,085 N/A

  People's Labour Jim Hamezian 1 0 0 0 0

0.0 1,995 N/A

  Mebyon Kernow Loveday Jenkin 4 0 0 0 0

0.0 1,906 N/A

  Scottish Green Robin Harper 5 0 0 0 0

0.0 1,721

  Conservative Anti-Euro Christopher Story 1 0 0 0 0

0.0 1,434 N/A

  Socialist (GB) None 5 0 0 0 0

0.0 1,359 N/A

  Community Representative Ralph Knight 1 0 0 0 0

0.0 1,290 N/A


1 0 0 0 0

0.0 1,263 N/A

  SDP John Bates 2 0 0 0 0

0.0 1,246 –0.1

  Workers Revolutionary Sheila Torrance 9 0 0 0 0

0.0 1,178 N/A

  Real Labour N/A 1 0 0 0 0

0.0 1,117 N/A

  Independent Democratic N/A

0 0 0 0

0.0 982

  Independent Liberal Democrat N/A

0 0 0 0

0.0 890

  Communist Mike Hicks 3 0 0 0 0

0.0 639

  Independent Green N/A 1 0 0 0 0

0.0 593

  Green (NI)

1 0 0 0 0

0.0 539

  Socialist Equality Davy Hyland 3 0 0 0 0

0.0 505

All parties with more than 500 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.[citation needed] The Popular Unionist MP elected in 1992 died in 1995 and the party folded shortly afterwards. There was no incumbent Speaker in the 1992 election.

Government's new majority 179

Total votes cast 31,286,284

Turnout 71.3%

Popular vote





Liberal Democrat




Scottish National




Parliamentary seats





Liberal Democrat


Scottish National


Ulster Unionist




The disproportionality of the house of parliament in the 1997 election was 16.71 according to the Gallagher Index, mainly between Labour and the Liberal Democrats.

Results by constituent country[edit]

LAB CON LD SNP PC NI parties Others Total

England 328 165 34 - - - 2 529

Wales 34 - 2 - 4 - - 40

Scotland 56 - 10 6 - - - 72

Northern Ireland - - - - - 18 - 18

Total 418 165 46 6 4 18 2 (inc Speaker) 659

Defeated MPs[edit] Conservative Ministers who lost their seats[edit]

Tony Newton (Braintree) - Lord President of the Council
Lord President of the Council
and Leader of the House of Commons Michael Portillo
Michael Portillo
(Enfield Southgate) - Secretary of State for Defence Malcolm Rifkind
Malcolm Rifkind
(Edinburgh Pentlands) - Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Ian Lang
Ian Lang
(Galloway and Upper Nithsdale) - Secretary of State for Trade and Industry Michael Forsyth (Stirling) - Secretary of State for Scotland William Waldegrave (Bristol West) - Chief Secretary to the Treasury Roger Freeman (Kettering) - Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Sir Derek Spencer (Brighton Pavilion) - Solicitor General for England and Wales Michael Morris (Northampton South) - Chairman of Ways and Means James Douglas-Hamilton (Edinburgh West) - Minister of State at the Scottish Office Alistair Burt
Alistair Burt
(Bury North) - Minister of State at Department of Social Security Phillip Oppenheim
Phillip Oppenheim
(Amber Valley) - Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury Michael Bates (Langbaurgh) - Paymaster-General Raymond Robertson (Aberdeen South) - Minister for Education, Housing, Fisheries and Sport Greg Knight
Greg Knight
(Derby North) - Minister of State for Industry at the Department of Trade and Industry John Bowis OBE (Battersea) - Health Minister Iain Sproat (Harwich) - Trade Minister Robin Squire (Hornchurch) - Education Minister Andrew Mitchell
Andrew Mitchell
(Gedling) - Social Security Minister The Hon. Tom Sackville
Tom Sackville
(Bolton, West) - Home Office
Home Office
Minister Sir Nicholas Bonsor, 4th Baronet (Upminster) - Foreign Office Minister Timothy Kirkhope
Timothy Kirkhope
(Leeds North West) - Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department Gwilym Jones (Cardiff North) - Under Secretary of State in the Welsh Office George Kynoch (Kincardine and Deeside) - Under-Secretary of State for Scotland Roger Evans (Monmouth) - Social Security Minister David Evennett
David Evennett
(Erith and Crayford) - Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Secretary of State for Education and Skills Lady Olga Maitland (Sutton and Cheam) - Parliamentary Private Secretary to The Rt. Hon. Sir John Wheeler Simon Coombs (Swindon) - Parliamentary Private Secretary
Parliamentary Private Secretary
to The Rt. Hon. Ian Lang Timothy Wood (Stevenage) - Comptroller of the Household Gyles Brandreth
Gyles Brandreth
(City of Chester) - Whip Angela Knight
Angela Knight
(Erewash) - Economic secretary to the treasury Anthony Coombs (Wyre Forest) - Whip Jacqui Lait (Hastings and Rye) - Whip

Other Conservative MPs who lost their seats[edit] Constituencies given are those contested in 1997, rather than those held prior to the election - Norman Lamont, for example, had previously represented Kingston upon Thames in London.

Dame Angela Rumbold (Mitcham and Morden) - Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party Sir Graham Bright
Graham Bright
(Luton South) - Vice-Chairman of the Conservative Party Sir Marcus Fox (Shipley) - Chairman of the 1922 committee Neil Hamilton (Tatton) - Chairman of the Monday Club Norman Lamont
Norman Lamont
(Harrogate and Knaresborough) - former Chancellor of the Exchequer David Hunt (Wirral West) - former Secretary of State for Wales Edwina Currie
Edwina Currie
(South Derbyshire) - former Health Minister Richard Tracey
Richard Tracey
(Surbiton) - former Sports Minister Sebastian Coe
Sebastian Coe
(Falmouth and Camborne) - Olympic gold medallist David Mellor
David Mellor
(Putney) - former Secretary of State for National Heritage John Cope (Northavon) - former Paymaster General Sir Robert Atkins (South Ribble) - former Minister for Sport Sir Jeremy Hanley
Jeremy Hanley
(Richmond and Barnes) - former Chairman of the Conservative Party Derek Conway (Shrewsbury and Atcham) - former Vice Chamberlain of HM Household Jonathan Aitken
Jonathan Aitken
(South Thanet) - former Chief secretary to the treasury Sir Rhodes Boyson
Rhodes Boyson
(Brent North) Sir Jim Lester (Broxtowe) Sir Ivan Lawrence (Burton) Sir Donald Thompson (Calder Valley) Sir Malcolm Thornton (Crosby) Sir Roger Moate (Faversham) Sir John Michael Gorst (Hendon North) Sir Andrew Bowden
Andrew Bowden
(Brighton Kemptown) Dame Peggy Fenner DBE (Medway) Sir Mark Lennox-Boyd (Morecambe and Lunesdale) Sir Michael Neubert (Romford) Sir James Hill (Southampton Test) Sir Dudley Smith
Dudley Smith
(Warwick and Leamington) Sir Peter Fry (Wellingborough) Nicholas Budgen (Wolverhampton South West) Phil Gallie (Ayr) Elizabeth Peacock (Batley and Spen) Andrew Hargreaves (Birmingham Hall Green) Harold Elletson
Harold Elletson
(Blackpool North) Jonathan Evans (Brecon and Radnorshire) Nirj Deva
Nirj Deva
(Brentford and Isleworth) Michael Brown (Brigg and Cleethorpes) Michael Stern (Bristol North West) David Sumberg (Bury South) Nigel Forman (Carshalton and Wallington) Robert Spink (Castle Point) Den Dover (Chorley) Rod Richards (North West Clwyd) Graham Riddick (Colne Valley) William Powell (Corby) David Congdon (Croydon North East) Bob Dunn (Dartford) David Shaw (Dover) Harry Greenway (Ealing North) Dr Ian Twinn (Edmonton) Spencer Batiste (Elmet) Matthew Carrington (Fulham) James Couchman (Gillingham) Douglas French (Gloucester) Paul Marland (West Gloucestershire) Jacques Arnold (Gravesham) Michael Carttiss (Great Yarmouth) Warren Hawksley (Halesowen and Stourbridge) Jerry Hayes (Harlow) Hugh Dykes
Hugh Dykes
(Harrow East) Robert Gurth Hughes (Harrow West) John Leslie Marshall (Hendon South) Sir Colin Shepherd (Hereford) Robert Jones (West Hertfordshire) Charles Hendry
Charles Hendry
(High Peak) Vivian Bendall (Ilford North) Gary Waller (Keighley) Keith Mans (Lancaster & Wyre) Dr Keith Hampson (Leeds North West) Tim Rathbone
Tim Rathbone
(Lewes) Barry Legg (Milton Keynes South West) Antony Marlow (Northampton North) Peter Butler (North East Milton Keynes) Richard Alexander (Newark) Henry Bellingham (North West Norfolk) Peter Griffiths (Portsmouth North) David Martin (Portsmouth South) Jim Pawsey (Rugby and Kenilworth) John Sykes (Scarborough) Irvine Patnick (Sheffield Hallam) John Arthur Watts (Slough) Mark Robinson (Somerton and Frome) Matthew Banks (Southport) Tim Devlin (Stockton South) Roger Knapman
Roger Knapman
(Stroud) David Nicholson (Taunton) Bill Walker (North Tayside) Rupert Allason (Torbay) Toby Jessel (Twickenham) Walter Sweeney (Vale of Glamorgan) David Porter (Waveney) David Evans (Welwyn Hatfield) Charles Goodson-Wickes (Wimbledon) Gerry Malone (Winchester)

Liberal Democrats who lost their seats[edit]

Chris Davies (Littleborough and Saddleworth) Liz Lynne
Liz Lynne
(Rochdale) Diana Maddock (Christchurch)

Social and Democratic Labour Party MP who lost his seat[edit]

Joe Hendron (Belfast West)

Democratic Unionist MP who lost his seat[edit]

William McCrea (Ulster Mid)

Party MP who lost his seat[edit]

Sir George Gardiner (Reigate)

Post election events[edit] The poor results for the Conservative Party led to infighting, with the One Nation, Tory Reform Group, and right wing Maastricht Rebels blaming each other for the defeat. Party chairman Brian Mawhinney
Brian Mawhinney
said on the night of the election, that it was due to disillusionment with 18 years of Conservative rule. John Major
John Major
resigned as party leader, saying "When the curtain falls, it is time to leave the stage". Despite receiving fewer votes than in 1992, the Liberal Democrats more than doubled their number of seats and won their best general election result up to that point and a better such result than any achieved by its predecessor, the Liberal Party, since 1929 under David Lloyd George's leadership. Paddy Ashdown's continued leadership had been vindicated, despite a disappointing 1992 election, and they were in a position to build positively as a strong third party into the new millennium. Internet coverage[edit] With the huge rise in internet use since the previous general election, BBC News
BBC News
created a special website covering the election as an experiment for the efficiency of an online news service which was due for a launch later in the year.[12] See also[edit]

MPs elected in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
general election, 1997 Opinion polling for the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
general election, 1997


^ Conservative party leader John Major
John Major
resigned as Leader of the Conservative Party on 22 June 1995 to face critics in his party and government, and was reelected as Leader on 4 July 1995. Prior to his resignation he had held the post of Leader of the Conservative Party since 28 November 1990.[1]


^ "1995: Major wins Conservative leadership". 4 July 1995 – via news.bbc.co.uk.  ^ " BBC News
BBC News
- UK Politics - The Major Scandal Sheet". news.bbc.co.uk.  ^ “”. "BBC Vote '97 Election coverage". YouTube. Retrieved 9 December 2010. CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link) ^ "1997: Labour landslide ends Tory rule". BBC News. 15 April 2005. Retrieved 28 March 2010.  ^ "House of Lords Debates 17 March 1997 vol 579 cc653-4: Dissolution of Parliament". House of Lords Hansard. Retrieved 21 June 2010.  ^ "Advertising & Promotion: Ads contract election fever". www.campaignlive.co.uk. 20 March 1997. Retrieved 9 April 2017.  ^ a b Snowdon 2010, p. 4. ^ Travis, Alan (17 April 1997). "Rebels' seven-year march". The Guardian (London). ^ Bevins, Anthony (17 April 1997). "Election '97 : John Major takes on the Tories". The Independent. Retrieved 19 December 2015.  ^ Snowdon 2010, p. 35. ^ "General Election Results, 1 May 1997" (PDF). House of Commons Library. 1998. Retrieved 23 January 2018.  ^ "Major events influenced BBC's news online Social media agency London FreshNetworks blog". Freshnetworks.com. 5 June 2008. Retrieved 9 December 2010. 

Further reading[edit]

Butler, David and Dennis Kavanagh. The British General Election of 1997 (1997), the standard scholarly study Snowdon, Peter (2010) [2010]. Back from the Brink: The Extraordinary Fall and Rise of the Conservative Party. London: HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-00-730884-2. 


Labour (New Labour, New Life For Britain) Conservative (You can only be sure with the Conservatives) Liberal Democrats (Make the Difference) National Democrats (A Manifesto for Britain) British National Party
British National Party
(British Nationalism- An Idea whose time has come) Liberal Party (Radical ideas – not the dead centre) UK Independence Party Third Way The ProLife Alliance Sinn Féin
Sinn Féin
(A New Opportunity for Peace) Democratic Unionist Party Alliance of Liberty (Agenda for Change) Progressive Unionist Party Ulster Unionist Party Plaid Cymru
Plaid Cymru
(The Best for Wales) Scottish National Party
Scottish National Party
(Yes We Can Win the Best for Scotland) Scottish Green Party Socialist Equality Party (A strategy for a workers' government!) Communist Party of Great Britain

External links[edit]

BBC Election Website 1997 election manifestos – Link to 1997 election manifestos of various parties. Catalogue of 1997 general election ephemera[permanent dead link] at the Archives Division of the London School of Economics.

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Elections and referendums in the United Kingdom

General elections

1801 co-option 1802 1806 1807 1812 1818 1820 1826 1830 1831 1832–33 1835 1837 1841 1847 1852 1857 1859 1865 1868 1874 1880 1885 1886 1892 1895 1900 1906 1910 (Jan–Feb) 1910 (Dec) 1918 1922 1923 1924 1929 1931 1935 1945 1950 1951 1955 1959 1964 1966 1970 1974 (Feb) 1974 (Oct) 1979 1983 1987 1992 1997 2001 2005 2010 2015 2017 Next

Local elections

1889 1890 1892 1894 1895 1896 1897 1898 1899 1900 1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1906 1907 1908 1909 1910 1911 1912 1913 1914 1915 1919 1920 1921 1922 1923 1924 1925 1926 1927 1928 1929 1930 1931 1932 1933 1934 1935 1936 1937 1938 1945 1946 1947 1948 1949 1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018

European elections

1979 1984 1989 1994 1999 2004 2009 2014


1975 2011 2016

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John Major

Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
(1990–1997) Leader of the Conservative Party (1990–1997) Chancellor of the Exchequer
Chancellor of the Exchequer
(1989–1990) Foreign Secretary (1989) MP for Huntingdon (1979–2001)


First ministry (1990–1992) Second ministry (1992–1997) Gulf War Citizen's Charter Cones Hotline Black Wednesday Maastricht Rebels Newbury by-election Downing Street Declaration Child Support Agency Vote of confidence Back to Basics Privatisation of British Rail Cash for Questions Wirral South by-election Resignation Honours


Conservatism Shadow Cabinet

General elections

1992 1997

Party elections

1990 1995


More Than a Game: The Story of Cricket's Early Years (2007)


Norma Major
Norma Major
(wife) Terry Major-Ball (brother) Tom Major-Ball (father)

Book Category

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Tony Blair

Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
(1997–2007) Leader of the Labour Party (1994–2007) MP for Sedgefield (1983–2007)


Premiership Blair ministry Blair–Brown deal Electoral history Shadow Cabinet of Tony Blair 2006 cabinet reshuffle


Blairism New Labour Third Way

General elections

1997 2001 2005

Party election


Shadow Cabinet elections

1992 1993


Tony Blair
Tony Blair
Institute for Global Change Quartet on the Middle East Africa Progress Panel Tony Blair
Tony Blair
Faith Foundation Commission for Africa


A Journey


Cherie Blair
Cherie Blair
(wife) Leo Blair (father) William Blair (brother)

Cultural depictions

"Tony Blair" (1999) The Deal (2003) The Queen (2006) The Blair Years
The Blair Years
(2007) The Trial of Tony Blair
Tony Blair
(2007) The Special
Relationship (2010) The Hunt for Tony Blair
Tony Blair
(2011) The Killing$ of Tony Blair
Tony Blair

Related topics

Ugly Rumours Respect agenda Blatcherism Cool Britannia Blair Babes Tony's Cronies Iraq Inquiry

  Book   Category

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New Labour

Key figures

Tony Blair Peter Mandelson Alastair Campbell Gordon Brown Anthony Giddens Anthony Crosland Philip Gould David Sainsbury

Political ethos

Blairism Third Way Blatcherism Brownism

General elections

1997 2001 2005 2010 (Post-election events)


Premiership of Tony Blair Blair ministry Chancellorship of Gordon Brown Premiership of Gordon Brown Brown ministry


The Future of Socialism A Journey The Third Man: Life at the Heart of New Labour The Blair Years The Purple Book

Related topics

One more heave Labour Co-ordinating Committee Blair–Brown deal New Labour, New Life For Britain New Labour, New Danger "Things Can Only Get Better" Progress Blair Babe Tony's Cronies