2005 Flag of the United Kingdom 2011
United Kingdom general election, 2010
All 650 seats in the House of Commons
326 seats needed for a majority
6 May 2010
Turnout 62.60%
First party Second party Third party
David Cameron Gordon Brown
Leader David Cameron Gordon Brown Chris Huhne
Party Conservative Labour Liberal Democrats
Leader's seat Witney Kirkcaldy & Cowdenbeath Eastleigh
Last election 198 seats, 32.4% 355 seats, 35.2% 62 seats, 22.0%
Seats before 210* 336* 62
Seats won 321 252 49
Seat change 111 76 13
Popular vote 11,289,654 8,627,517 6,811,002
Percentage 38.8% 29.0% 22.8%
Swing 6.4% 6.2% 0.8%
Colours show the winning party in each constituency.
* notional figure due to boundary changes
Prime Minister before election
Gordon Brown
Elected Prime Minister
David Cameron

The United Kingdom general election, 2010 was held on Thursday 6 May 2010 to elect the members of the 55th House of Commons of the United Kingdom. Incumbent Prime Minister and Labour Party leader Gordon Brown was defeated by Leader of the Opposition and Conservative Party leader David Cameron. The Conservatives made significant gains throughout England and Wales, gaining many urban seats (this was mostly attributed to the recession and voters tired with Labour), although Labour did well Scotland. The third party, the Liberal Democrats, lost seats, likely because of tactical voting and a scandal emerging against leader Chris Huhne. The Green Party and the Northern Irish Alliance Party also gained their first ever Westminster seats.

For the first time since February 1974, a hung parliament was returned, with the Conservatives holding a pluralarity of seats, but 5 seats short of a majority. A Conservative minority government was formed, supported by the Northern Irish DUP and Independent MP Rodney Connor and later, by the Liberal Democrats.

The election took place on new constituency boundaries in England and Wales, which increased the number of seats from 646 to 650.


The incumbent Prime Minister, Gordon Brown went to Buckingham Palace on the 6 April and asked Queen Elizabeth II to call an election for 6 May 2010- exactly five years and one day since the previous election in 2005. This was just 4 months until the expiration of the parliamentary term in June. Gordon Brown had been Prime Minister since the resignation of Tony Blair in 2007, David Cameron was elected Conservative leader in 2005 and Chris Huhne had succeded Ming Campbell as Liberal Democrats leader in 2007, meaning that the three main parties entered with a new leader. This had not happened since 1979.


Parliament was dissolved on 12 April, beginning the official campaign. For the first time in the UK, Brown, Cameron and Huhne took part in three televised TV debates- opinion polls showed that most people thought David Cameron had won all three.

The Conservative campaign mostly attacked Labour for the recession and unpopular policies, wheras Labour mainly promised constitutional reforms and continued support of the welfare state, as well as a pledge that Brown would step down within 6 months. The campaign did however take a turn for the worst following the "bigotgate" scandal. The Liberal Democrats were similarly damaged- several newspapers published allegations that leader Chris Huhne had been having an affair and had disowned some speeding fines. Throughout the campaign, there opinion polls throughout mostly predicted a hung parliament or a tiny Conservative majority.


Polling stations opened at 7:00 and closed at 22:00 and the count was completed in the afternoon of Friday 7 May, with the exception of the Thirsk and Malton constituency (where voting was delayed due to the death of a candidate who could not be removed from the ballot in time.)

Results of the United Kingdom general election, May 6 2010
(GB only)
Party Leader Leader's seat Seats Votes
No. % ± No. % ±
  Conservative David Cameron Witney 321 49.38% 111 11,289,654 38.8% 6.4
  Labour Party Gordon Brown Kirkcaldy &
252 38.76% 84 8,627,517 29.0% 6.2
  Liberal Democrats Chris Huhne Eastleigh 49 7.53% 13 6,811,002 22.8% 0.8
  UKIP Lord Pearson None 0 0% 0 916,471 3.1% 0.9
  BNP Nick Griffin None 0 0% 0 561,321 1.9% 1.2
  Scottish National Angus Robertson Moray 5 0.76% 1 491,386 1.7% 0.1
  Green Caroline Lucas Brighton Pavilion 1 0.15% 1 265,243 0.9% 0.2
  Plaid Cymru Elfyn Lwyd Dwyfor Meirionnydd 3 0.46% 1 165,394 0.6% 0.1
  Others - - 0 0% 3 679,620 0.2% 0
  Speaker (John Bercow) Buckingham 1 0.15% 0 55,859 2.2% 0
Total (Turnout: 62.60%) 633 100% 5 290,453,030 100% -
321 252 49 28
Conservative Labour LD Others
Liberal Democrats

Vote share
Liberal Democrats

Post-election events

The following morning, Chris Huhne announced he would resign as Liberal Democrats leader in light of the allegations made against him. Deputy leader Vince Cable then said that the Liberal Democrats would not enter a formal coalition, but did not rule out an informal pact once a new leader was elected. David Cameron then said that he was forming a minority government and "looked forward to working with them in the future." Once it was clear that he could not form a government, Gordon Brown resigned, and David Cameron was swiftly appointed by Queen Elizabeth II afterwards. This marked the end of 13 years of Labour government. The Conservatives later successfully negotiated with the Liberal Democrats to strike a supply-and-confidence deal.