The election was held on October 19th 1978.
James Callaghan had taken over from Harold Wilson as Labour Leader and Prime Minister in April 1976 during a period of economic recession and union discontent. However during 1978 Britain had experienced the beginnings of economic recovery, and an embarresing loan from the IMF was repaid. In September Callaghan took advantage of the recovery by calling a snap election.
|First Party||Second Party||Third Party|
|Leader||James Callaghan||Margaret Thatcher||David Steel|
|Leader Since||April 5 1976||February 11 1975||July 7 1976|
|Last Election||319 seats, 39.2%||277 seats, 35.8%||13 seats, 18.3%|
The Labour campaign focused on the economic recovery and the personal popularity of the Prime Minister compared with Mrs Thatcher. The campaign was largely positive, with the main exception being the now infamous poster of a candle in a darkened room with the caption "Remember the last Tory government?", a reference to the three day week under the Heath government.
The ongoing "Rinkagate" scandal involving former leader Jeremy Thorpe deeply affected the liberals popularity, and most of the gains of 1974 were fading.
|October 19th, 1978 General Election Results|