1950 United Kingdom general election

The 1950 United Kingdom general election was the first general election ever to be held after a full term of Labour government. The election was held on Thursday 23 February 1950, and was the first held following the abolition of plural voting and university constituencies. The government's 1945 lead over the Conservative Party shrank dramatically, and Labour was returned to power but with an overall majority reduced from 146 to just 5. There was a 5.8% national swing towards the Conservatives, who gained 90 seats. Labour called another general election in 1951, which the Conservative Party won.

1950 United Kingdom general election

 1945 23 February 1950 1951 

All 625 seats in the House of Commons
313 seats needed for a majority
Opinion polls
Turnout83.9%, 11.1%
  First party Second party Third party
 
Leader Clement Attlee Winston Churchill Clement Davies
Party Labour Conservative Liberal
Leader since 25 October 1935 9 October 1940 2 August 1945
Leader's seat Walthamstow West Woodford Montgomeryshire
Last election 393 seats, 47.7% 208 seats, 39.1%[lower-alpha 1] 12 seats, 9.0%
Seats won 315 298 9
Seat change 78 90 3
Popular vote 13,226,176 12,494,404 2,621,487
Percentage 46.1% 43.4% 9.1%
Swing 1.6% 4.3% 0.1%

Colours denote the winning party

Composition of the House of Commons after the election

Prime Minister before election

Clement Attlee
Labour

Prime Minister after election

Clement Attlee
Labour

Turnout increased to 83.9%, the highest turnout in a UK general election under universal suffrage,[1] and representing an increase of more than 11% in comparison to 1945.

It was also the first general election to be covered on television, although the footage was not recorded. Richard Dimbleby hosted the BBC coverage of the election, which he would later do again for the 1951, 1955, 1959 and the 1964 general elections. On this occasion, Dimbleby was joined in the BBC Lime Grove Studios by R. B. McCallum, Fellow of Pembroke College, Oxford, and author of The British General Election of 1945, and David Butler, research student of Nuffield College. The first election night programme ran from 10:45 pm until just after 1:00 am.[2]