United Kingdom general election, 1979

  • Tories: 339
  • Labour: 269
  • Otherwise:. 27

The British House of Commons elections in 1979 were held on 3 May 1979. A landslide victory for the Conservative Party led to a change of government: A Conservative government under Margaret Thatcher replaced the Labour cabinet James Callaghan.


The elections were held after the so-called Winter of Discontent place, a labor dispute the unions against the policy of the Government of James Callaghan. The unions responded that the Labour government wanted to limit wage increases for 1979 for the fourth consecutive year to less than 5 %.

Ultimately hurt this conflict the government and also the reputation Callaghan in his Labour Party. On March 28, 1979, he lost a confidence vote in the House of Commons with one voice. This had its dissolution and new elections result; on May 3, 1979, she found because of a lost confidence vote for half a year before the latest possible date ( October 1979) instead of ( the previous elections were held in October 1974).

Constituencies of the top candidates

Margaret Thatcher went to in the constituency Finchley ( North London ), while James Callaghan went in the Welsh South East Cardiff into the race. The Scot David Steel went for the Liberal Party to the presence, near his home constituency of Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles ( Scottish Borders ). All three won their constituencies.


The result meant a growth of parliamentary seats by 10 % for the Conservatives the largest gain for a party in the post-war British history. With 43 ​​seats, the Tory party won a substantial majority and could again ask the Prime Minister after five years of a Labour government under Harold Wilson and James Callaghan Margaret Thatcher, the first woman in the office of the British Government.

Another important point was that the Conservatives should win, especially in the working class massively votes, which was reflected also in the massive migration of Labour voters to the Conservatives, which was 5.2 %.

The beginning of the Thatcher era

Thatcher was commissioned on 4 May 1979 by the Queen with the formation of a government and assumed that job. Her words when moving into the Downing Street. 10 participated in the Anglo-Saxon speaking countries like Francis of Assisi attributed to prayer:

" " Where there is discord, june we bring harmony. Where there is error, june we bring truth. Where there is doubt, june we bring faith. And where there is despair, june we bring hope " "

"Where there is discord, we can bring harmony. Where there is error, we can bring truth. Where there is doubt, we can bring faith. And where there is despair, there we may bring hope. "

The reign of Thatcher took on this choice of more than eleven years; total governed by the Tories in 1979 under Thatcher and John Major ( 1990-97 ) for the next 18 years, until the Labour victory in the general election in 1997.