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1945 UK General Election (Albion and Empire)

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1935 Flag of the United Kingdom 1949
United Kingdom general election, 1945
All 640 seats in the House of Commons
321 seats needed for a majority
5 July 1945
Turnout 72.8%
First party Second party Third party
Clement Richard Attlee Eden Archibald sinclair
Leader Clement Attlee Anthony Eden Archibald Sinclair
Party Labour Conservative Liberal
Leader's seat Limehouse Warwick and Leamington Caithness and Suntherland (defeated)
Last election 154 seats, 38.0% 386 seats, 47.8% 21 seats, 6.7%
Seats before 326 386 21
Seats won 326 300 5
Seat change 172 86 16
Popular vote 9,629,210 9,027,384 1,805,477
Percentage 40.0% 37.5% 7.5%
Swing 2.0% 10.3% 0.8%
Fourth party Fifth party
LiberalNational Harrypollit
Leader Ernest Brown Harry Pollit
Party National Liberal Communist
Last election 33 seats, 3.7% 1 seat, 0.1%
Seats before 33 1
Seats won 3 3
Seat change 22 2
Popular vote 1,203,651 1,011,067
Percentage 5.0% 4.2%
Swing 1.3% 4.1%
Prime Minister before election
Anthony Eden
Conservative
Elected Prime Minister
Clement Attlee
Labour

United Kingdom General Election, 1945

The United Kingdom General Election of 1945 was held 5 July 1945. The results were announced on 26 July due to the transport of overseas voters. Clement Attlee's Labour Party achieved its first majority, albeit a very slim one over Anthony Eden's Conservative Party.

Background

The election was held two months after VE day and was the first general election since 1935 as general elections had been suspended during the Second World War.

Conservative Prime Minister Winston Churchill had resigned in 1945 to accept the Duchy of London at the urging of his party who also pledged certain arrangements for Churchill's son in the House of Commons and that he would have considerable influence of government policy. On 23 May 1945, Churchill's Foreign Secretary and protege Anthony Eden became Prime Minister just a few weeks before the election, ending the coalition government that had existed during the war.

Results

Eden's Conservative Party was routed, losing over a fifth of its vote, and the Labour Party gained 172 seats to obtain a slim majority.

Although the Tories had been decimated in the popular vote, they managed to receive enough seats to be an effective opposition against the government's tiny majority. Eden therefore was determined to stay on as leader of the party. Both the National Liberal and Liberal Parties lost the vast majority of their seats despite making small gains in the popular vote largely because of the Labour Party's massive gains. To Labour's left, however, the Communist and newly-founded Populist parties enjoyed their largest support in history with Harry Pollit's CPGB gathering over a million votes.

On election night, once it had been realized that the Labour Party would have its first majority, Labour Party Chairman Harold Laski motioned for a leadership election at the urging of former Home Secretary Herbert Morrison. Attlee soundly defeated Morrison and consigned to the relatively powerless role of Deputy Prime Minister.

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