|‹ 1979 · members members · 1988 ›|
|United Kingdom general election, 1984|
|All 650 seats in the House of Commons|
|22 March 1984|
|First party||Second party||Third party|
|Leader||Margaret Thatcher||Michael Foot|| David Steel |
Roy Jenkins (SDP)
|Party||Conservative Party (UK)||Labour Party (UK)||SDP–Liberal_Alliance|
|Leader since||11 February 1975||4 November 1980|| 7 July 1976 (Steel)|
2 July 1982 (Jenkins)
|Leader's seat||Finchley||Blaenau Gwent|| Tweeddale (Steel)|
Glasgow Hillhead (Jenkins)
|Last election||339 seats, 43.9%||269 seats, 36.9%|| 11 seats, 13.8%|
(as Liberal party only)
|Seat change||▲ 104||▼ 119||▲ 25|
|Swing||▼ 3.5%||▼ 11.6%||▲ 15.9%|
The 1984 United Kingdom general election was held on 22 March 1984. The incumbent Conservative Party government of Margaret Thatcher won a landslide victory and the largest number of seats of any party since the 1931, amounting to a 207-seat majority.
The election was a disaster for the Labour Party, who won their lowest share since 1918 and took less votes than SDP-Liberal Alliance. However, they won nearly 5 times as many seats than the Alliance due to the first past the post voting system, which greatly favoured Labour as their votes were concentrated in certain cities and regions. The Conservatives won a majority of over 150 seats, despite receiving a lower share and 1.3 million fewer votes than in 1979.
Thatcher's first five years in government had not been an easy time. Unemployment had rocketed in the first three years of her term as she battled to control the inflation that had ravaged Britain for much of the 1970s. By the start of 1982, unemployment had passed the 3,000,000 mark - for the first time since before the Second World War - the economy had been in recession for nearly two years. By 1983, however, the economy had began to recover and by the start of 1984 the Conservatives were leading the divided opposition in the polls; Thatcher then called the election less than three months before the end of the parliament's term.
Labour had been led by Michael Foot since 1980 after the resignation of James Callaghan, during which time the party had moved to the left and suffered from internal divisions. Four senior Labour MPs defected and formed the Social Democratic Party in 1981, which then formed an alliance with the existing Liberal Party. The Alliance won triple the number of seats compared to the Liberals' results in 1979, but they held less seats than at the time of dissolution because most of the Labour MPs who defected to the SDP were defeated.