1885 United Kingdom general election


The 1885 United Kingdom general election was held from 24 November to 18 December 1885. This was the first general election after an extension of the franchise and redistribution of seats. For the first time a majority of adult males could vote and most constituencies by law returned a single member to Parliament fulfilling one of the ideals of Chartism to provide direct single-member, single-electorate accountability. It saw the Liberals, led by William Ewart Gladstone, win the most seats, but not an overall majority. As the Irish Nationalists held the balance of power between them and the Conservatives who sat with an increasing number of allied Unionist MPs (referring to the Union of Great Britain and Ireland), this exacerbated divisions within the Liberals over Irish Home Rule and led to a Liberal split and another general election the following year.

1885 United Kingdom general election

 1880 24 November – 18 December 1885 (1885-11-24 1885-12-18) 1886 

All 670 seats in the House of Commons
336 seats needed for a majority
  First party Second party Third party
 
Leader William Ewart Gladstone Marquess of Salisbury Charles Stewart Parnell
Party Liberal Conservative Irish Parliamentary
Leader since April 1880 April 1881 17 October 1882
Leader's seat Midlothian House of Lords Cork City
Last election 352 seats, 52.5% 237 seats, 35.4% 63 seats, 9.4%
Seats won 319 247 86
Seat change 33 10 23
Popular vote 2,071,868 1,869,560 299,178
Percentage 47.7% 43.0% 6.9%
Swing 7.0% 0.5% 4.1%

  Fourth party Fifth party
 
Leader N/A William Abraham (Mabon)
Party Crofters Lib-Lab
Leader since N/A
Leader's seat Rhondda
Last election N/A N/A
Seats won 4 1
Seat change 4 1
Popular vote 16,551 8,232
Percentage 0.38% 0.19%
Swing 0.38% 0.19%

Colours denote the winning party

Prime Minister before election

Marquess of Salisbury
Conservative

Prime Minister after election

William Ewart Gladstone
Liberal

The 1885 election saw the first socialist party participate, with the Social Democratic Federation led by H. M. Hyndman standing three candidates.

Results


319 86 247 11 7
Liberal IPP Conservative IL
UK General Election 1885
Party Candidates Votes
Stood Elected Gained Unseated Net % of total % No. Net %
  Liberal 575 319 33 47.61 47.65 2,071,868 7.3
  Conservative 597 247 +10 36.87 43.00 1,869,560 +0.9
  Irish Parliamentary 91 86 +23 12.84 6.88 299,178 +4.0
  Independent Liberal 35 11 +11 1.64 1.28 55,652 N/A
  Crofters 6 4 +4 0.60 0.38 16,551 N/A
  Ind. Conservative 8 2 +2 0.30 0.29 12,599 N/A
  Lib-Lab 4 1 +1 0.15 0.19 8,232 N/A
  Independent 6 0 0 0 0.15 6,570 N/A
  Independent Nationalist 2 0 0 0 0.07 2,889 N/A
  Scottish Land Restoration 5 0 0 0 0.05 2,359 N/A
  Irish Loyalist 6 0 0 0 0.04 1,869 N/A
  Social Democratic Federation 3 0 0 0 0.02 657 N/A

Voting summary


Popular vote
Liberal
47.65%
Conservative
43.00%
Irish Parliamentary
6.88%
Independent Liberal
1.28%
Crofters
0.38%
Independent Conservative
0.29%
Lib-Lab
0.19%
Independent
0.15%
Others
0.18%

Seats summary


Parliamentary seats
Liberal
47.61%
Conservative
36.87%
Irish Parliamentary
12.84%
Independent Liberal
1.64%
Crofters
0.60%
Independent Conservative
0.30%
Lib-Lab
0.15%

See also


Notes


  1. All parties shown.

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

Further reading


  • Walker, Brian (2005), "The 1885 and 1886 General Elections in Ireland", History Ireland, 13 (6): 36–40, JSTOR 27725365