1929 United Kingdom general election
The 1929 United Kingdom general election was held on Thursday 30 May 1929, and resulted in a hung parliament. It was the second of four general elections under the secret ballot and the first of three under universal suffrage in which a party lost the popular vote (i.e. gained fewer popular votes than another party) but gained a plurality of seats—the others of the four being 1874, 1951 and February 1974. In 1929 that party was Ramsay MacDonald's Labour Party, which won the most seats in the House of Commons for the first time, but failed to get an overall majority. The Liberal Party led by David Lloyd George regained some of the ground it had lost in the 1924 election, and held the balance of power.
All 615 seats in the House of Commons
308 seats needed for a majority
Colours denote the winning party—as shown in § Results
The election was often referred to as the "Flapper Election", because it was the first election in which women aged 21–29 were allowed to vote, under the provisions of the Representation of the People Act 1928. (Women over 30 had been able to vote since the 1918 election.)
The election was fought against a background of rising unemployment, with the memory of the 1926 general strike still fresh in voters' minds. By 1929, the Cabinet was being described by many as "old and exhausted".
The Liberals campaigned on a comprehensive programme of public works under the title "We Can Conquer Unemployment". The incumbent Conservatives campaigned on the theme of "Safety First", with Labour campaigning on the theme of "Labour & the Nation".
The 1929 election was the first general election to be contested by the newly formed Welsh nationalist party Plaid Cymru.
This election would be the last time that a non-Labour or Conservative force polled more than one-fifth of the nationwide popular vote until 1983.
|Party||Leader||Stood||Elected||Gained||Unseated||Net||% of total||%||No.||Net %|
|Liberal||David Lloyd George||513||59||36||17||+19||9.6||23.6||5,104,638||+5.8|
|Scottish Prohibition||Edwin Scrymgeour||1||1||0||0||0||0.2||0.1||25,037||+0.1|
|National (Scotland)||Roland Muirhead||2||0||0||0||0||0.0||3,313||N/A|
|Plaid Cymru||Saunders Lewis||1||0||0||0||0||0.0||609||N/A|
Transfers of seatsEdit
- All comparisons are with the 1924 election.
- In some cases, the change is owing to the MP having defected to the gaining party, and then retaining the seat in 1929. Such circumstances are marked with a *.
- In other circumstances, the change is owing to the seat having been won by the gaining party in a by-election in the intervening years, and then retained in 1929. Such circumstances are marked with a †.
- 1 Previous MP had defected to the Conservatives by the 1929 election
- 2 Previous MP had defected to the Liberals by the 1929 election
- Howell, David (2002), MacDonald's Party: Labour Identities and Crisis, 1922–1939, Oxford
- Redvaldsen, David (2010), "'Today is the Dawn': The Labour Party and the 1929 General Election", Parliamentary History, 29 (3): 395–415
- Williamson, Philip (1982), "'Safety First': Baldwin, the Conservative Party and the 1929 General Election", Historical Journal, 25: 385–409