2001 Flag of the United Kingdom 2010
United Kingdom general election, 2005
All 659 seats in the House of Commons
330 seats needed for a majority
5 May 2005
Turnout 61.4%
First party Second party Third party
Tony Blair WEF (cropped) Michael Howard (cropped) Charles Kennedy
Leader Tony Blair Michael Howard Charles Kennedy
Party Labour Conservative Liberal Democrats
Leader's seat Sedgefield Folkestone and Hythe Ross, Skye and Inverness West
Last election 413 seats, 42% 166 seats, 32.7% 52 seats, 18.8%
Seats before 411 166 54
Seats won 350 223 52
Seat change 63 57 0
Popular vote 9,610,573 9,284,790 6,217,009
Percentage 35% 34.5% 22.5
Swing 7% 1.8% 3.7%
Fourth party Fifth party
Untitled (3) Angus robertson
Leader Roger Knapman Angus Robertson
Party UKIP Scottish National Party
Leader's seat Candidate for Totnes (Lost) Moray
Last election 0 seats, 1.5% 5 seats, 1.8%
Seats before 0 5
Seats won 0 4
Seat change 0 1
Popular vote 977,346 424,767
Percentage 3.6% 1.6%
Swing 2.1% 0.2%
Y-2005-01 boundaries
Colours show the winning party in each constituency.
Prime Minister before election
Tony Blair

The United Kingdom general election of 2005 was held on Thursday, 5 May 2005 to elect 659 members to the British House of Commons. The Labour Party under Tony Blair won its third consecutive victory, but its majority now stood at 55 seats compared to the 160-seat majority it had previously held. It remains the last Labour victory in the UK.

The Labour campaign emphasised a strong economy, however Blair had suffered a decline in popularity even before the decision to send British troops to invade Iraq in 2003. The Conservative Party, led by Michael Howard since late 2003, campaigned on policies, such as immigration limits, improving poorly managed hospitals and reducing high crime rates, all under the slogan 'Are you thinking what we're thinking?'. The Liberal Democrats, led by Charles Kennedy, were opposed to the Iraq War given there had been no second UN resolution, and collected votes from disenchanted Labour voters.


The governing Labour Party, led by Tony Blair, was looking to secure a third consecutive term in office and to retain a large majority. The Conservative Party was seeking to regain seats lost to both Labour and the Liberal Democrats since the 1992 general election, and move from being the Official Opposition into government. The Liberal Democrats hoped to make gains from both main parties, but especially the Conservative Party, with a "decapitation" strategy targeting members of the Shadow Cabinet. The Lib Dems had also wished to become the governing party, but more realistically hoped of making enough gains to become the Official Opposition and/or play a major part in a parliament led by a minority Labour or Conservative government. In Northern Ireland the Democratic Unionist Party sought to make further gains over the Ulster Unionist Party in unionist politics, and Sinn Féin hoped to overtake the Social Democratic and Labour Party in nationalist politics. (Note that Sinn Féin MPs do not take their seats in the House of Commons—they refuse to swear an oath of allegiance to the Queen as required). The pro-independence Scottish National Party and Plaid Cymru (Party of Wales) stood candidates in every constituency in Scotland and Wales respectively.

Many seats were contested by other parties, including several parties without incumbents in the House of Commons. Parties that were not represented at Westminster, but had seats in the devolved assemblies and European Parliament included the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland, the United Kingdom Independence Party, the Green Party of England and Wales, the Scottish Green Party, and the Scottish Socialist Party. The Health Concern party stood again as well.

All parties campaigned through such tools as party manifestos, party political broadcasts and touring the country in what are commonly referred to as battle buses.

Local elections in parts of England and in Northern Ireland were held on the same day. The polls were open for fifteen hours, from 07:00 to 22:00 BST (UTC+1). The election came just over three weeks after the dissolution of Parliament on 11 April by Queen Elizabeth II, at the request of the Prime Minister, Tony Blair.


Polling stations opened at 7:00 and closed at 22:00 and the count was completed in the afternoon of the 6th of May.

Results of the United Kingdom general election, May 5 2005
Party Leader Leader's seat Seats Votes
No. % ± No. % ±
  Labour Party Tony Blair Sedgefield 351 53.26% 56 9,610,573 35.4% 6.6%
  Conservative Michael Howard Folkstone and Hythe 223 33.84% 56 9,284,790 34.2% 1.5%
  Liberal Democrats Charles Kennedy Ross, Skye and Inverness West 57 8.65% 0 6,217,009 22.9% 4.1%
  UKIP Roger Knapman Candidate for Totnes (Lost) 0 0% 0 977,346 3.6% 2.1%
  Scottish National Angus Robertson Moray 5 0.76% 1 424,767 1.6% 0.2%
  Green Caroline Lucas ’’ Did Not Stand ’’ 0 0% 0 380,079 1.4% 0.8
  Plaid Cymru Elfyn Lwyd Meirionnydd Nant Conwy 3 0.46% 1 217,188 0.8% 0
  Speaker (Michael Martin) Glasgow Springburn 1 0.15% 0 14,568 0.054% 0
Total (Turnout: 61.4%) 659 100% 0 27,148,510 100% -
357 222 52 13 8 5 4 1
Labour Conservatives Lib Dems Others DUP PC SNP Speaker


Labour held onto most of the seats it had in the 2001 election despite losing Ayr and Edinburgh Pentlands to Malcolm Rifkind of the Conservatives.
Malcolm Rifkind

Malcolm Rifkind, MP for Edinburgh Pentlands 1974 - 1997 and 2005 - 2010

The Conservatives, despite coming last, performed well overall gaining 3 seats (Ayr and Edinburgh Pentlands from Labour and Perth from the SNP) marking a comeback in Scotland and therefore made themselves less toxic. The Liberal Democrats came 2nd, winning Aberdeen South from Labour and reduced Labour's majority in Inverness East, Nairn and Lochaber making it one of the most marginal seat in this election. Their increase in vote was due to their Anti-Iraq War stance. The SNP performed the worst overall losing Perth to the Conservatives and not succeeding in their target seats, despite coming 3rd in the whole of Scotland with 18.2% of the vote.

Exit Poll

Party No of Seats Differences
Labour 360 Inverness East, Nairn and Lochaber (Liberal Democrat GAIN)
Stroud, Selby and Ayr (Labour HOLD)
Conservative 219 Stroud, Selby and Ayr (Labour HOLD)
Liberal Democrats 53 Inverness East, Nairn and Lochaber (Liberal Democrat GAIN)

Target Seats

These are the constituencies which were marginal in the last election which were targetted in this election


Target Seats of the Labour Party
Seat Winning Party at 2001 Election Swing needed Winning Party at 2005 Election
Boston and Skegness Conservative 0.64% Conservative
Beverley & Holderness Conservative 0.84% Conservative
Bedfordshire South West Conseravtive 0.885% Conservative
Basingstoke Conservative 0.915% Conservative
Castle Point Conservative 1.24% Conservative
Upminster Conservative 1.835% Conservative
Canterbury Conservative 2.259% Conservative


Target Seats of the Conservative Party
Target Number Seat Winning Party at 2001 Election Swing needed Winning Party at 2005 Election
1 Cheadle Liberal Democrats 0.04% Liberal Democrats
2 Perth SNP 0.065% Conservative (GAIN)
3 Dorset South Labour 0.17% Labour
4 Braintree Labour 0.355% Conservative (GAIN)
5 Monmouth Labour 0.46% Conservative (GAIN)
6 North Norfolk Liberal Democrats 0.43% Liberal Democrats
7 Mid Dorset & Poole North Liberal Democrats 0.44% Liberal Democrats
8 Lancaster & Wyre Labour 0.46% Conservative (GAIN)
9 Guildford Liberal Democrats 0.56% Conservative (GAIN)
10 Kettering Labour 0.62% Conservative (GAIN)
11 Somerton & Frome Liberal Democrats 0.635% Liberal Democrats
12 Northampton South Labour 0.865 Conservative (GAIN)
13 Brecon & Radnorshire Liberal Democrats 1% Liberal Democrats
14 Devon West and Torridge Liberal Democrats 1.07% Conservative (GAIN)
15 Hereford Liberal Democrats 1.085% Liberal Democrats
16 Welwyn Hatfield Labour 1.395% Conservative (GAIN)
17 Shipley Labour 1.55% Conservative (GAIN)
18 Clwyd West Labour 1.66% Conservative (GAIN)
19 Bexleyheath & Crayford Labour 1.825% Conservative (GAIN)
20 Ludlow Liberal Democrats 1.89% Conservative (GAIN)
21 Milton Keynes North East Labour 1.99% Conservative (GAIN)
22 Hornchurch Labour 2.085% Conservative (GAIN)
23 Selby Labour 2.125% Conservative (GAIN)
24 Edinburgh Pentlands Labour 2.235% Conservative (GAIN)
25 Hammersmith & Fulham Labour 2.255% Conservative (GAIN)
26 Thanet South Labour 2.27% Conservative (GAIN)
27 Forest of Dean Labour 2.295% Conservative (GAIN)
28 Wellingborough Labour 2.31% Conservative (GAIN)
29 Newbury Liberal Democrats 2.375% Conservative (GAIN)
30 Romsey Liberal Democrats 2.445% Conservative (GAIN)
31 Teignbridge Liberal Democrats 2.54% Liberal Democrats
32 Ilford North Labour 2.63%. Conservative (GAIN)
33 Rugby & Kenilworth Labour 2.675% Conservative (GAIN)
34 Gillingham Labour 2.69% ​Conservative (GAIN)
35 Harwich Labour 2.7% Conservative (GAIN)
36 Enfield North Labour 3.005% Labour
37 Devon North Liberal Democrats 3.03% Liberal Democrats
38 Eastleigh Liberal Democrats 3.215% Conservative (GAIN)
39 Calder Valley Labour 3.26% Labour
40 Ayr Labour 3.3% Conservative (GAIN)
41 Redditch Labour 3.355% Labour
42 Peterborough Labour 3.585% Conservative (GAIN)
43 Shrewsbury & Atcham Labour 3.585% Conservative (GAIN)
44 Moray SNP 3.6% SNP
45 Southport Liberal Democrats 3.655% Liberal Democrats
46 Dartford Labour 3.7% Conservative (GAIN)