1951 United Kingdom general election

The 1951 United Kingdom general election was held twenty months after the 1950 general election, which the Labour Party had won with a slim majority of just five seats. The Labour government called a snap election for Thursday 25 October 1951 in the hope of increasing its parliamentary majority. However, despite winning the popular vote and achieving both the highest-ever total vote (until it was surpassed by the Conservative Party in 1992) and highest percentage vote share, Labour won fewer seats than the Conservative Party. This election marked the return of Winston Churchill as Prime Minister, and the beginning of Labour's thirteen-year spell in opposition. This was the final general election to be held with George VI as monarch, as he died the following year on 6 February and was succeeded by his daughter, Elizabeth II. This was also the last election in which the Conservatives did better in Scotland than in England.

1951 United Kingdom general election

 1950 25 October 1951 1955 

All 625 seats in the House of Commons
313 seats needed for a majority
Opinion polls
Turnout82.6%, 1.3%
  First party Second party Third party
 
Leader Winston Churchill Clement Attlee Clement Davies
Party Conservative Labour Liberal
Leader since 9 October 1940 25 October 1935 2 August 1945
Leader's seat Woodford Walthamstow West Montgomeryshire
Last election 298 seats, 43.4% 315 seats, 46.1% 9 seats, 9.1%
Seats won 321 295 6
Seat change 23 20 3
Popular vote 13,717,851 13,948,385 730,546
Percentage 48.0% 48.8% 2.5%
Swing 4.6% 2.7% 6.6%

Colours denote the winning party—as shown in § Results

Composition of the House of Commons after the election

Prime Minister before election

Clement Attlee
Labour

Prime Minister after election

Winston Churchill
Conservative

The 1951 election was the second one to be covered on BBC Television. On election night, the results were televised from the BBC Lime Grove Studios in London. Graham Hutton, David Butler and H. G. Nicholas headed the election night coverage from 10.15pm until 4.00am on the television service. On the following day, television coverage started at 10.00am and continued throughout the day until 5.00pm.[1]