1945: A landslide victory for Labour by a majority of 146
The general election of 1945 was a landslide victory for Clement Attlee's Labour Party, over Winston Churchill's Conservatives, giving Labour its first majority government, and a mandate to implement its post-war reforms.
The results were counted and declared on 26 July, owing in part to the time it took to transport the votes of those serving overseas.
1950: A slim Labour victory by a majority of just 5 seats
The 1950 general election was the first ever general election to be held after a full term of a Labour government. Despite polling over one and a half million votes more than the Conservatives, the election resulted in Labour receiving a slim majority of just five seats, a stark contrast to the previous election in 1945, where they had achieved a massive 146-seat majority. Turnout increased to 83.9%, the highest turnout in an election under universal suffrage. It was also the first election to be covered on TV.
Both the Conservative and Labour parties entered the campaign positively. The Conservatives, now having recovered from their heavy election defeat in 1945, accepted most of the nationalisation that had taken place under the Attlee government (which included the NHS and the mixed economy). The campaign essentially focused therefore, on the potential future nationalisation of other sectors and industries, which was supported by the Labour party, and opposed by the Tories.
1951: Conservative victory by a majority of 17 after Labour called the election following their win just 12 months earlier
The 1951 general election was held twenty months after the 1950 election, which the Labour Party had won with a slim majority of just five seats. Labour called the election for 25 October 1951 hoping to increase their majority.
Clement Attlee had decided to call the election after the King's concerns over such a slim majority. The Labour government, which by now had implemented most of its 1945 manifesto, was now beginning to lose many senior cabinet ministers, such as Ernest Bevin, due to old age. The Conservatives however, due to the recent election, looked fresher, with more new MPs. As Labour began to have some policy splits during the election campaign, the Conservatives ran an efficient campaign that was well funded and orchestrated. The subsequent Labour defeat is significant for several reasons: the party polled almost a quarter of a million votes more than the Conservatives and their National Liberal allies combined, won the most votes that Labour had ever won (and has ever won as of 2015) and won the most votes of any political party in any election in British political history, a record surpassed by the Conservative Party in 1992. Despite this, it was the Conservatives who formed the next government with a majority of 16. In addition (but less significantly) under the first past the post electoral system, Labour votes translated into increased majorities for MPs in safe seats, rather than into gaining new seats).
This was the second of three elections in the 20th century, where a party lost the popular vote but won the most seats, the others being 1929 and February 1974; it also happened in 1874.
Four Conservative Party candidates were returned unopposed. This was the last general election in which any candidates were returned unopposed, although there have since been unopposed by-elections.
1955: Conservative victory by a majority of 60 against Clement Atlee's Labour Party
The 1955 general election was held four years after the previous general election. It resulted in a substantially increased majority of 60 for the Conservative government under new leader and prime minister Sir Anthoney Eden.
The Labour Party, led by 72 year old Clement Attlee, was also to be the 5th and last election fought by the Labour leader. Eden had only just become leader of the Conservative party a few weeks before the election, after the retirement of Winston Churchill.
For the first time, television took a prominent role in the campaign.
The Conservatives were hoping to take advantage of the end of food rationing and the good mood created by the recent coronation of Queen Elizabeth. However, it would prove to be the last time the Conservatives won the most seats in Scotland; after 1959, Labour established itself as the dominant party in the country at UK general elections, a feat it maintained until the 2011 Scottish Parliament Election.
This is the earliest general election in the United Kingdom of which television coverage survives (the 1950 and 1951 election nights were not recorded).
1959: Conservative victory by a majority of 100 to mark their third consecutive ruling
This general election was held in October 1959 and marked a third successive victory for the ruling Conservative Party, led by Harold Macmillan. The Conservatives increased their overall majority again, to 100 seats over the Labour Party under Hugh Gaitskell.
However, despite this success, they failed to win the most seats in Scotland, and have not done so since, marking the beginning of Labour's dominance north of the border.
1964: Labour victory by a majority of 4 with new leaders for both major parties
The general election of 1964 was won by the Labour Party with a majority of four seats. Both major parties had changed leaders in 1963. Labour chose Harold Wilson, while Sir Alec Douglas-Home had taken over as Conservative leader and Prime Minister in the autumn after Harold Macmillan announced his resignation. Wilson had begun to try to tie the Labour Party to the growing confidence of Britain in the 1960s, asserting that the "white heat of revolution" would sweep away "restrictive practices...on both sides of industry".
The Liberal Party enjoyed a resurgence and doubled its share of the vote, primarily at the expense of the Conservatives.
The majority of just four seats proved to be unworkable and Wilson called a snap election in 1966.
1966: A comfortable Labour victory by a majority of 96 under Harold Wilson
The 1966 general election was easily won by sitting Labour Prime Minister, Harold Wilson. Wilson's decision to call an election was based on the fact that his government, elected only 17 months earlier, had an unworkably small majority of only 4 MPs. The Labour government was returned with a much larger majority of 96.
Shortly after local elections that had reduced Labour's majority to just two, Sir Alec Douglas-Home was replaced by Edward Heath as leader of the Conservative party.The Conservatives had little time to prepare their campaign, and there had been little time for Heath to become well known among the British public, having led the party for just eight months before the election.
1970: Surprise Conservative victory by a majority of 30 under Edward Heath
The 1970 election resulted in a surprise victory for the Conservative Party leader Edward Heath, who defeated the Labour Party under Harold Wilson. The Conservatives, including the Ulster Unionists, were given a majority of 31.
The election was the first in which people could vote from the age of 18, after the Representation of the People Act 1969.
Most opinion polls prior to the election had indicated a comfortable Labour victory ahead of the Conservatives. On election day, however, a late swing gave the Conservatives a 3.4% lead and ended almost six years of Labour government.
1974: Labour victory, minority government
The general election of February 1974 was the first of two United Kingdom general elections held that year, and the first election since the Second World War not to produce an overall majority in the House of Commons. Instead there was a hung parliament, with Labour 17 seats short of an overall majority.
The Conservative government of Edward Heath attempted to form a coalition government with the Liberals but refused to agree to the demand of Jeremy Thorpe on electoral reforms.
Edward Heath resigned for Harold Wilson to form a minority Government leading to a further election in October 1974.
1974: Labour victory the second general election of the same year by a majority of 3
The general election of October 1974 was the second general election of that year and resulted in the Labour Party, led by Harold Wilson, winning by a small majority of 3 seats. The election of February that year had produced an unexpected hung parliament. Coalition talks between the Conservatives and other parties failed, allowing Labour leader Harold Wilson to form a minority govenment.
The Conservative Party, led by Edward Heath, released a manifesto promoting national unity, however their chances of forming a government were hindered by the Ulster Unionist Party refusing to take their whip at Westminster in response to the Sunningdale Agreement of 1973.
The election saw the Labour Party return 319 MPs, giving them the ability to form a majority government, albeit with a mere three seats. The Scottish National Party achieved their best ever Westminster representation at this election, winning 11 of Scotland's 71 seats and 30% of the Scottish popular vote.
1979: Conservative victory by a majority of 102 to oust the incombent Labour government
The Conservative Party, led by Margaret Thatcher, ousted the incumbent Labour government of James Callaghan. Thatcher became the United Kingdom's and Europe's first female head of government. Thatcher tabled a motion of no confidence
in James Callaghan's Labour government, which was passed by just one vote (311 to 310), triggering a general election five months before the end of the government's term.
The Labour campaign was hampered by the series of industrial disputes and strikes during the winter of 1978-79 (known as the Winter of Discontent), and the party focused its campaign on support for the National Health Service
and full employment. The Conservative campaign employed the advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi and pledged to control inflation as well as curbing the power of the trade unions.
The Liberal Party leader Jeremy Thorpe had been replaced by David Steel, meaning that all three major parties entered the election with new leaders.
1983: Conservative victory by a majority of 144 following British triumph in the Falklands
The 1983 General election was held on 9th June 1983. It gave the Conservative Party (under Margaret Thatcher) the most decisive election victory since that of Labour in 1945. British victory in the Falklands War and the economy returning to growth ahead of the election helped the Conservative campain.
The Labour Party had been led by Michael Foot since the resignation of James Callaghan. Labour adopted a platform that was considered more left-wing than usual and several moderate Labour MPs had left the party to form the Social Democrats. The Social Democrats then formed the SDP-Liberal Alliance with the existing Liberal Party. With its worst performance since 1918, the Labour vote fell by over three million from 1979 and this accounted for both a national swing of almost 4% towards the Conservatives and their larger parliamentary majority of 144, even though the Conservatives' total vote fell by almost 700,000.
This is the most recent election where a party in government increased its majority.
1987: The third consecutive election victory for the Conservative Party under Margaret Thatcher by a majority of 102
The election was the third consecutive election victory for the Conservative Party under the leadership of Margaret Thatcher, who became the first Prime Minister since the 2nd Earl of Liverpool in 1820 to lead a party into three successive election victories.
The Labour Party, under the Leadership of Neil Kinnock, was slowly moving its policy to a more centrist agenda. The Liberals and Social Democrats parties were continuing with their alliance under the leaderships of David Owen and David Steel but were undecided as to which major party to support.
1992: The Conservative Party wins its fourth consectutive success by a majority of 21
The 1992 election saw the last outright Conservative Party victory and its fourth consectutive success. John Major having been elected leader following Margaret Thatcher's resignation two years earlier, was forecast to lose to the Labour leader, Neil Kinnock. The polls had had the Labour Party consistently ahead, although narrowly, but were proved wrong, producing one of the most dramatic elections since the end of the Second World War.
1997: The Labour Party ends its 18 years in oposition by a majority of 179
The Labour Party, under the leadership of Tony Blair, ended its 18 years in opposition with a landslide victory, returning 418 MPs. Campaining under the heading of "New Labour", the party was seen as moving away from its left-wing policies to a more centrist position.
The Conservative Party, led my the incumbent Prime Minister John Major, campained on a strong economy and full employment, and suffered their worst defeat since 1906 returning only 165 MPs, as well as their lowest percentage share of the vote since 1832.
2001: Another landslide victory for Labour by majority of 167
The 2001 election saw Tony Blair's re-election with another landslide victory for Labour. The election was essentially a repeat of the 1997 election, with Labour losing only 6 seats overall and the Conservatives making a net gain of 1 seat .
The Conservatives did manage to gain a seat in Scotland, which ended the party's status as an 'England-only' party in the prior parliament.
2005: Labour wins its third consecutive victory with Tony Blair by a majority of 66
The results of this election saw Tony Blair winning his third consecutive victory, but a lower majority count overall for Labour.
This election marked the lowest majority vote for a winning party in UK history.
Under Micheal Howard, The Conservatives increased their number of MPs to 198 whilst the Liberal Democrats became the largest third party since 1923, returning 62 MPs.
2010: The first coalition government in modern history (the last being in 1940)
2010's election marked the first coalition government in British history. The Conservatives won the largest number of votes, but did not achieve the number of seats required for a majority.
After five days of discussions, a coalition was formed between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats. David Cameron, the Conservative leader, became Prime Minister with Nick Clegg the Liberal Democrat leader, becoming Deputy.