1847 United Kingdom general election


The 1847 United Kingdom general election saw candidates calling themselves Conservatives win the most seats, in part because they won a number of uncontested seats. However, the split among the Conservatives between the majority of Protectionists, led by Lord Stanley, and the minority of free traders, known also as the Peelites, led by former prime minister Sir Robert Peel, left the Whigs, led by Prime Minister Lord John Russell, in a position to continue in government.

1847 United Kingdom general election

 1841 29 July – 26 August 1847 (1847-07-29 1847-08-26) 1852 
 outgoing members
elected members 

All 656 seats in the House of Commons
329 seats needed for a majority
  First party Second party Third party
 
Leader Lord Stanley Lord John Russell John O'Connell
Party Conservative Whig Irish Repeal
Leader since July 1846 October 1842 15 May 1847
Leader's seat House of Lords City of London Limerick City
Last election 367 seats, 51.6% 271 seats, 46.2% 20 seats, 1.9%
Seats won 325[1] 292 36
Seat change 42 21 16
Popular vote 205,481 259,311 14,128
Percentage 42.6% 53.8% 2.9%
Swing 9.0% 7.6% 1.0%

  Fourth party Fifth party
 
Leader William Smith O'Brien Feargus O'Connor
Party Irish Confederation Chartist
Leader since 13 January 1847 1838
Leader's seat Limerick County Nottingham
Last election Did not contest 0 seats, 0.12%
Seats won 2 1
Seat change 2 1
Popular vote 661 2,848
Percentage 0.14% 0.59%
Swing 0.14% 0.47%

Prime Minister before election

Lord John Russell
Whig

Prime Minister after election

Lord John Russell
Whig

The Irish Repeal group won more seats than in the previous general election, while the Chartists gained the only seat they were ever to hold, Nottingham's second seat, held by Chartist leader Feargus O'Connor.

The election also witnessed the election of Britain's first Jewish MP, the Liberal Lionel de Rothschild in the City of London. Members being sworn in were however required to swear the Christian Oath of Allegiance, meaning Rothschild was unable actually to take his seat until the passage of the Jews Relief Act in 1858.

Results

UK General Election 1847
Party Seats Gains Losses Net gain/loss Seats % Votes % Votes +/−
  Whig 292 +21 44.51 53.75 259,311 +6.9
  Conservative 325 42 49.54 42.59 205,481 8.2
  Irish Repeal 36 +16 5.49 2.93 14,128 +1.0
  Chartist 1 1 0 +1 0.15 0.59 2,848 0
  Irish Confederation 2 2 0 +2 0.30 0.14 661 N/A

Voting summary

Popular vote
Whig
53.75%
Conservative
42.59%
Irish Repeal
2.93%
Chartist
0.59%
Others
0.14%

Seats summary

Parliamentary seats
Whig
44.51%
Conservative
49.54%
Irish Repeal
5.49%
Chartist
0.15%
Others
0.3%

Regional results

Great Britain
Party Candidates Unopposed Seats Seats change Votes % % change
Conservative & Liberal Conservatives 373 180 285 194,223 43.1
Whig 360 125 267 253,376 56.2
Chartist 9 0 1 +1 2,848 0.6
Total 742 305 553 450,447 100
England
Party Candidates Unopposed Seats Seats change Votes % % change
Conservative & Liberal Conservatives 319 149 239 170,407 42.1
Whig 297 92 222 230,656 57.2
Chartist 9 0 1 +1 2,848 0.7
Total 625 241 462 403,911 100
Scotland
Party Candidates Unopposed Seats Seats change Votes % % change
Whig 48 21 33 +2 20,092 81.7 +20.9
Conservative & Liberal Conservatives 23 16 20 2 3,509 18.3 20.0
Total 71 37 53 23,601 100
Wales
Party Candidates Unopposed Seats Seats change Votes % % change
Conservative & Liberal Conservatives 22 15 20 11,114 89.5
Whig 13 12 12 1,394 10.5
Total 35 27 32 12,508 100
Ireland
Party Candidates Unopposed Seats Seats change Votes % % change
Irish Conservative 38 24 29 1 10,294 31.0 6.1
Peelite 11 9 11 964 3.0
Irish Repeal 51 18 36 14,128 43.6
Whig 33 11 25 5,935 20.2
Irish Confederate 3 0 2 629 2.0
Independent 1 0 0 32 0.2
Total 137 62 103 31,982 100
Universities
Party Candidates Unopposed Seats Seats change Votes % % change
Conservative & Liberal Conservatives 9 0 6 9,193 88.2
Whig 2 0 0 1,234 11.8
Total 11 0 6 10,427 100

Notes

  1. Including Peelites.
  2. Conservative totals include Liberal Conservatives.

References

  • Craig, F. W. S. (1989), British Electoral Facts: 1832–1987, Dartmouth: Gower, ISBN 0900178302
  • Rallings, Colin; Thrasher, Michael, eds. (2000), British Electoral Facts 1832–1999, Ashgate Publishing Ltd