Open main menu

1859 United Kingdom general election

In the 1859 United Kingdom general election, the minority Conservative government of Earl of Derby failed to achieve a majority of seats in the House of Commons. Despite making overall gains, Derby's government was defeated in a confidence vote by an alliance of the Whigs, led by Lord Palmerston and other political groupings including the Peelites, Radicals and the Irish Brigade. Palmerston subsequently formed a new government from this alliance which is now considered to be the first official Liberal Party administration.

1859 United Kingdom general election

← 1857 28 April – 18 May 1859 (1859-04-28 – 1859-05-18) 1865 →

All 654 seats in the House of Commons
328 seats needed for a majority
  First party Second party
  Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston.jpg 14th Earl of Derby (cropped).jpg
Leader Viscount Palmerston Earl of Derby
Party Liberal Conservative
Leader since 6 February 1855 July 1846
Leader's seat Tiverton House of Lords
Last election 377 seats, 65.9% 264 seats, 34.0%
Seats won 356 298
Seat change Decrease21 Increase34
Popular vote 372,117 193,232
Percentage 65.7% 34.3%
Swing Decrease0.2% Increase0.3%

1859 UK general election map.svg
Colours denote the winning party—as shown in § Results

Prime Minister before election

Earl of Derby
Conservative

Appointed Prime Minister

Viscount Palmerston
Whig

There is no separate tally of votes or seats for the Peelites. They did not contest elections as an organised party but more as independent Free trade Conservatives with varying degrees of distance from the two main parties.

It was also the last general election entered by the Chartists, before their organisation was dissolved. As of 2019, this is the last election in which the Conservatives won the most seats in Wales,[1] as well as being the last election to date in which the Conservative Party took less than a third of the vote in England.

The election was the quietest and least competitive between 1832 and 1885, with most county elections being uncontested. The election also saw the lowest number of candidates between 1832 and 1885, with Tory gains potentially being the result of a lack of opposition as much as a change in public opinion.[2]

Contents

ResultsEdit

UK general election 1859
Party Candidates Votes
Stood Elected Gained Unseated Net % of total % Net %
  Liberal 465 356 −21 54.43 65.80 372,117 −0.2
  Conservative 394 298 +34 45.57 34.17 193,232 +0.3
  Chartist 1 0 0 0 0 0 0.03 151 −0.1

Regional resultsEdit

Great BritainEdit

Party Candidates Unopposed Seats Seats change Votes % % change
Liberal 392 157 306 314,708 66.6
Conservative & Peelites 327 160 245 157,974 33.4
Chartist 1 0 0 151 0.0
Total 720 317 551   472,833 100
EnglandEdit
Party Candidates Unopposed Seats Seats change Votes % % change
Liberal 330 109 251 307,949 67.1
Conservative & Peelite 286 129 209 152,591 32.9
Chartist 1 0 0 151 0.0
Total 617 238 460   460,691 100
ScotlandEdit
Party Candidates Unopposed Seats Seats change Votes % % change
Liberal 44 34 40 5,174 66.4
Conservative & Peelite 17 11 13 2,616 33.6
Total 61 45 53   7,790 100
WalesEdit
Party Candidates Unopposed Seats Seats change Votes % % change
Conservative & Peelite 18 14 17 2,767 63.6
Liberal 18 14 15 1,585 36.4
Total 36 28 32   4,352 100

IrelandEdit

Party Candidates Unopposed Seats Seats change Votes % % change
Irish Conservative & Peelite 67 36 53 35,258 38.9
Liberal 73 26 50 57,409 61.1
Total 140 62 103 92,667 100

UniversitiesEdit

Party Candidates Unopposed Seats Seats change Votes % % change
Conservative & Peelite 6 6 6
Total 6 6 6   100

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Scully, Roger, "Why Wales decided to forgive the Tories", spectator.co.uk, retrieved 4 May 2017
  2. ^ Hawkins, A., Parliament, Party and the Art of Politics in Britain, 1855–59, p. 377

SourcesEdit

External linksEdit