1886 United Kingdom general election

The 1886 United Kingdom general election took place from 1 to 27 July 1886, following the defeat of the Government of Ireland Bill 1886. It resulted in a major reversal of the results of the 1885 election as the Conservatives, led by Lord Salisbury, were joined in an electoral pact with the breakaway Unionist wing of the Liberals led by Lord Hartington (later the Duke of Devonshire) and Joseph Chamberlain. The new Liberal Unionist party gave the Conservatives their parliamentary majority but did not join them in a formal coalition.

1886 United Kingdom general election

 1885 1–27 July 1886 (1886-07-01 1886-07-27) 1892 

All 670 seats in the House of Commons
336 seats needed for a majority
  First party Second party Third party
 
Leader Marquess of Salisbury William Ewart Gladstone Charles Stewart Parnell
Party Conservative & Lib. Unionist Liberal Irish Parliamentary
Leader since April 1881 April 1880 17 October 1882
Leader's seat House of Lords Midlothian Cork City
Last election 247 seats, 43.4% 319 seats, 47.4% 86 seats, 6.9%
Seats won 393 192 85
Seat change 146 127 1
Popular vote 1,417,627 1,244,683 94,050
Percentage 51.4% 45.1% 3.4%
Swing 8.7% 2.2% 3.5%

Colours denote the winning party

Prime Minister before election

William Ewart Gladstone
Liberal

Prime Minister after election

Marquess of Salisbury
Conservative

William Ewart Gladstone's Liberals, who supported the Irish Home Rule movement, and their sometimes allies the Irish Parliamentary Party, led by Charles Stewart Parnell, were placed a distant second. This ended the period of Liberal dominance—they had held power for 18 of the 27 years since 1859 and won five of the six elections held during that time, but would only be in power for three of the next nineteen years. This was also the first election since the 1841 election that the Conservatives won a plurality or majority of the popular vote.