United Kingdom general election, 1992


United Kingdom general election, 1992

Infobox Election
election_name = United Kingdom general election, 1992
country = United Kingdom
type = parliamentary
ongoing = no
previous_election = United Kingdom general election, 1987
previous_year = 1987
previous_mps = MPs elected in the United Kingdom general election, 1987
next_election = United Kingdom general election, 1997
next_year = 1997
next_mps = MPs elected in the United Kingdom general election, 1997
seats_for_election = All 651 seats to the House of Commons
election_date = 9 April 1992



leader1 = John Major
leader_since1 = 28 November 1990
party1 = Conservative Party (UK)
leaders_seat1 = Huntingdon
last_election1 = 376 seats, 42.2%
seats1 = 336
seat_change1 = -40
popular_vote1 = 14,093,007
percentage1 = 41.9%
swing1 = %



leader2 = Neil Kinnock
leader_since2 = 2 October 1983
party2 = Labour Party (UK)
leaders_seat2 = Islwyn
last_election2 = 229 seats, 30.8%
seats2 = 271
seat_change2 = +42
popular_vote2 = 11,560,484
percentage2 = 34.4%
swing2 = %



leader3 = Paddy Ashdown
leader_since3 = 16 July 1988
party3 = Liberal Democrats (UK)
leaders_seat3 = Yeovil
last_election3 = 22 seats, 22.6%
seats3 = 20
seat_change3 = -2
popular_vote3 = 5,999,384
percentage3 = 17.8%
swing3 = %
title = PM
before_election = John Major
before_party = Conservative Party (UK)
after_election = John Major
after_party = Conservative Party (UK)
The United Kingdom general election of 1992 was held on 9 April 1992, and was the fourth consecutive victory for the Conservative Party.

John Major had won the leadership election in November 1990 succeeding the outgoing PM Margaret Thatcher. During his term leading up to the 1992 elections he oversaw the British involvement in the Gulf War, introduced legislation to replace the unpopular Community Charge with Council Tax, and signed the Maastricht treaty. The UK had slid into recession in the early 1990s along with most of the other industrialised nations. John Major announced the date of the election on 11 March shortly after Chancellor of the Exchequer Norman Lamont had delivered the Budget.

Results

Election Summary Party with Candidates
party = Conservative Party (UK)
candidates = 645
seats = 336
gain = 3
loss = 44
net = - 41
votes = 14,093,007
votes % = 41.9
seats % = 51.6
plus/minus = - 0.3
government = yes
Election Summary Party with Candidates
party = Labour Party (UK)
candidates = 634
seats = 271
gain = 43
loss = 1
net = + 42
votes = 11,560,484
votes % = 34.4
seats % = 41.6
plus/minus = + 3.6
Election Summary Party with Candidates
party = Liberal Democrats (UK)
candidates = 632
seats = 20
gain = 4
loss = 6
net = - 2
votes = 5,999,384
votes % = 17.8
seats % = 3.07
plus/minus = - 4.8
Election Summary Party with Candidates
party = Scottish National Party
candidates = 72
seats = 3
gain = 0
loss = 0
net = 0
votes = 629,564
votes % = 1.9
seats % = 0.46
plus/minus = + 0.6
Election Summary Party with Candidates
party = Ulster Unionist Party
candidates = 13
seats = 9
gain = 0
loss = 0
net = 0
votes = 271,049
votes % = 0.8
seats % = 1.38
plus/minus = 0.0
Election Summary Party with Candidates
party = Social Democratic and Labour Party
candidates = 13
seats = 4
gain = 1
loss = 0
net = + 1
votes = 184,445
votes % = 0.5
seats % = 0.61
plus/minus = 0.0
Election Summary Party with Candidates
party = Green Party of England and Wales
candidates = 253
seats = 0
gain = 0
loss = 0
net = 0
votes = 170,037
votes % = 0.5
seats % =
plus/minus = + 0.2
Election Summary Party with Candidates
party = Plaid Cymru
candidates = 38
seats = 4
gain = 1
loss = 0
net = + 1
votes = 156,796
votes % = 0.5
seats % = 0.61
plus/minus = + 0.1
Election Summary Party with Candidates
party = Democratic Unionist Party
candidates = 7
seats = 3
gain = 0
loss = 0
net = 0
votes = 103,096
votes % = 0.3
seats % = 0.46
plus/minus = 0.0
Election Summary Party with Candidates
party = Sinn Féin
candidates = 14
seats = 0
gain = 0
loss = 1
net = - 1
votes = 78,291
votes % = 0.2
seats % =
plus/minus = - 0.1
Election Summary Party with Candidates
party = Alliance Party of Northern Ireland
candidates = 16
seats = 0
gain = 0
loss = 0
net = 0
votes = 68,665
votes % = 0.2
seats % =
plus/minus = 0.0
Election Summary Party with Candidates
party = Liberal Party (UK, 1989)
candidates = 73
seats = 0
gain = 0
loss = 0
net = 0
votes = 64,744
votes % = 0.2
seats % =
plus/minus = "N/A"
Election Summary Party with Candidates
party = Natural Law Party
candidates = 309
seats = 0
gain = 0
loss = 0
net = 0
votes = 62,888
votes % = 0.2
seats % =
plus/minus = "N/A"
Election Summary Party with Candidates
party = Social Democratic Party (UK, 1990)
candidates = 10
seats = 0
gain = 0
loss = 0
net = 0
votes = 35,248
votes % = 0.1
seats % =
plus/minus = "N/A"
Election Summary Party with Candidates
party = Independent Labour
candidates = 6
seats = 0
gain = 0
loss = 0
net = 0
votes = 22,844
votes % = 0.1
seats % =
plus/minus = "N/A"
Election Summary Party with Candidates
party = Ulster Popular Unionist Party
candidates = 1
seats = 1
gain = 0
loss = 0
net = 0
votes = 19,305
votes % = 0.1
seats % = 0.15
plus/minus = 0.0
Election Summary Party with Candidates
party = Independent Conservative
candidates = 12
seats = 0
gain = 0
loss = 0
net = 0
votes = 11,356
votes % = 0.1
seats % =
plus/minus = "N/A"
Election Summary Party with Candidates
party = Official Monster Raving Loony Party
candidates = 25
seats = 0
gain = 0
loss = 0
net = 0
votes = 7,929
votes % = 0.1
seats % =
plus/minus = + 0.1
Election Summary Party with Candidates
party = Independent (politician)
candidates = 23
seats = 0
gain = 0
loss = 0
net = 0
votes = 7,631
votes % = 0.1
seats % =
plus/minus = "N/A"
Election Summary Party with Candidates
party = British National Party
candidates = 13
seats = 0
gain = 0
loss = 0
net = 0
votes = 7,631
votes % = 0.1
seats % =
plus/minus = "N/A"
Election Summary with Candidates
party = Scottish Militant Labour
candidates = 1
seats = 0
gain = 0
loss = 0
net = 0
votes = 6,287
votes % = 0.1
seats % =
plus/minus = "N/A"
Election Summary Party with Candidates
party = National Front (UK)
candidates = 14
seats = 0
gain = 0
loss = 0
net = 0
votes = 4,816
votes % = 0.1
seats % =
plus/minus = "N/A"
Election Summary with Candidates
party = True Labour
candidates = 1
seats = 0
gain = 0
loss = 0
net = 0
votes = 4,665
votes % = 0.1
seats % =
plus/minus = "N/A"
Election Summary with Candidates
party = Anti-Federalist
candidates = 17
seats = 0
gain = 0
loss = 0
net = 0
votes = 4,383
votes % = 0.1
seats % =
plus/minus = "N/A"
Election Summary Party with Candidates
party = Workers Party (Ireland)
candidates = 8
seats = 0
gain = 0
loss = 0
net = 0
votes = 4,359
votes % = 0.1
seats % =
plus/minus = 0.0
Election Summary with Candidates
party = Official Conservative Hove Party
candidates = 1
seats = 0
gain = 0
loss = 0
net = 0
votes = 2,658
votes % = 0.0
seats % =
plus/minus = "N/A"
Election Summary with Candidates
party = Loony Green
candidates = 5
seats = 0
gain = 0
loss = 0
net = 0
votes = 2,538
votes % = 0.0
seats % =
plus/minus = "N/A"
Election Summary Party with Candidates
party = Independent Unionist
candidates = 1
seats = 0
gain = 0
loss = 0
net = 0
votes = 2,256
votes % = 0.0
seats % =
plus/minus = "N/A"
Election Summary with Candidates
party = New Agenda
candidates =
seats = 0
gain = 0
loss = 0
net = 0
votes = 2,133
votes % = 0.0
seats % =
plus/minus = "N/A"
Election Summary with Candidates
party = Independent Progressive Socialist
candidates = 1
seats = 0
gain = 0
loss = 0
net = 0
votes = 1,094
votes % = 0.0
seats % =
plus/minus = "N/A"
Election Summary Party with Candidates
party = Islamic Party of Britain
candidates = 4
seats = 0
gain = 0
loss = 0
net = 0
votes = 1,085
votes % = 0.0
seats % =
plus/minus = "N/A"
Election Summary Party with Candidates
party = Revolutionary Communist Party (Furedi)
candidates = 8
seats = 0
gain = 0
loss = 0
net = 0
votes = 745
votes % = 0.0
seats % =
plus/minus = "N/A"
Election Summary with Candidates
party = Independent Nationalist
candidates =
seats = 0
gain = 0
loss = 0
net = 0
votes = 659
votes % = 0.0
seats % =
plus/minus = "N/A"
Election Summary with Candidates
party = Communist (PCC)
candidates = 4
seats = 0
gain = 0
loss = 0
net = 0
votes = 603
votes % = 0.0
seats % =
plus/minus = "N/A"

"The turnout was 33,514,074 from an electorate of 43,275,316, voting in a total of 651 seats.""All parties with more than 500 votes shown. Plaid Cymru result includes votes for Green/Plaid Cymru Alliance."

Election campaign

Under the leadership of Neil Kinnock the Labour party had undergone further modernisation following its 1987 election defeat. Labour entered the campaign confident with most opinion polls showing a slight Labour lead that if maintained suggested a hung parliament, with no single party having an overall majority. The parties campaigned on the familiar grounds of taxation and health care. Major became known for delivering his speeches while standing on an upturned soapbox during public meetings. Meanwhile, Labour's shadow chancellor, John Smith put forward a "shadow budget".Fact|date=February 2007 The Liberal Democrats under Paddy Ashdown approached Labour at one point for talks on a possible political alliance; nothing came of the talks.Fact|date=February 2007

An early setback to Labour came in the form of the "War of Jennifer's Ear" controversy, which questioned the truthfulness of a Labour party election broadcast concerning National Health Service (NHS) waiting lists.

Labour seemingly recovered from the NHS controversy, and opinion polls on 1 April (dubbed "Red Wednesday") showed a clear Labour lead. But the lead fell considerably in the following day's polls. Observers blamed the decline on the Labour Party's triumphalist "Sheffield Rally", an enthusiastic American-style political convention at the Sheffield Arena. However most analysts and major participants in the campaign believe it actually had little effect, with the the event only receiving wide-spread attention after the election. [Westlake, Martin (2001)"Kinnock: The Biography"pp.560-564]

Labour defeat

With opinion polls at the end of the campaign showing Labour and Conservative neck and neck, the actual election result was a surprise to many in the media and in polling organisations. The apparent failure of the opinion polls to come close to predicting the actual result led to an inquiry by the Market Research Society. Following the election, most opinion polling companies changed their methodology in the belief that a 'Shy Tory Factor' affected the polling.

The 77.67% election turnout was the highest in eighteen years. There was an overall Labour swing of 2.2%, which widened the gap between Labour and the Liberal Democrats. For the Conservatives, despite the reasonable percentage of votes received (only 0.3 % down on 1987), the actual Conservative overall majority in the House of Commons was reduced to only 21 seats. This number was reduced progressively during the course of Major's term in office due to defections of MPs to other parties, by-election defeats and for a time in 1993 suspension of the Conservative whip for some MPs who voted against the government on the Maastricht Treaty - by 1996, the Conservatives held a single-seat majority and were in minority going into 1997 up until the 1997 General Election. The Conservatives in 1992 received the most total votes ever for any political party in any UK general election, beating the previous largest total vote of 13.98 million achieved by Labour in 1951 (although this was from a smaller electorate and represented a higher vote share). Nine government ministers lost their seats in 1992 including party chairman Chris Patten.

On the morning of polling day, "The Sun" newspaper (which had consistently supported the Conservatives throughout the campaign, except in Scotland) published a front page with the headline "If Kinnock wins today, will the last person to leave Britain please turn out the lights."; and featured an overweight woman on Page 3 under the headline, "Here's How Page 3 Will Look Under Kinnock!" Some, The Sun especially, believed this caused a late swing to the Conservatives sufficient to overcome Labour's poll lead. The Sun's analysis of the election results was headlined "It's the Sun wot won it." Tony Blair also accepted this theory of Labour's defeat and after successfully put considerable effort into securing the Sun's support for New Labour, both as Leader of the Opposition before the 1997 general election and as Prime Minister afterwards.

The results continued the Conservatives' decline in Northern England with Labour regaining many seats they had not held since 1979. The Conservatives also began to lose support in the Midlands, but had a slight increase in their vote in Scotland, and had a net gain of one seat in Scotland. Labour and Plaid Cymru strengthened in Wales with Conservative support declining there, however, in the South East, South West, London and Eastern England the Conservative vote held up leading to few losses there with many considering Basildon to be indicative of a nouveau riche Working Class element referred to as Essex Man voting strongly Conservative.

It represented the second General Election defeat under Leader Neil Kinnock and Deputy Leader Roy Hattersley and both resigned soon after the election, and were succeeded by John Smith and Margaret Beckett respectively.

In retrospect, the election defeat can arguably be viewed paradoxically as a success for Labour in that the party avoided being in government during the financial crisis of Black Wednesday, that fatally damaged the reputation for economic management of the winning Conservative government and contributed to Labour's landslide win in the United Kingdom general election, 1997

Other parties

In Scotland the Scottish National Party (SNP) hoped to make a major electoral breakthrough in 1992 and had run a hard independence campaign with "Free by '93" as their slogan. Support for an independent Scotland polled at 50% in one newspaper poll shortly before the election.Fact|date=February 2007 Although the party managed to increase its total vote by 50% since 1987, the SNP only held onto the three seats they had won at the previous election. They also lost Glasgow Govan, which their deputy leader Jim Sillars had taken in a by-election in 1988. Sillars quit active politics after the General Election with a parting shot at the Scottish electorate as being "ninety minute patriots". [Peterkin, Tom. [http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1428647/Swinney-should-stop-his-sneering-at-'second-best'.html Swinney should stop his sneering at 'second best'] , "Daily Telegraph", 28 April 2003. ]

The election also saw a small change in Northern Ireland as the Conservatives organised and stood candidates in the province for the first time since the Ulster Unionist Party had broken with them in 1972 over the Sunningdale Agreement, although no Conservatives were elected in Northern Ireland.

Margaret Thatcher, Norman Tebbit, Denis Healey, Nigel Lawson, Geoffrey Howe, Michael Foot, David Owen and Merlyn Rees were among the prominent retirees.

ee also

* MPs elected in the United Kingdom general election, 1992.

Manifestos

* [http://www.psr.keele.ac.uk/area/uk/man/con92.htm The Best Future For Britain] - 1992 Conservative manifesto.
* [http://www.psr.keele.ac.uk/area/uk/man/lab92.htm It's time to get Britain working again] - 1992 Labour Party manifesto.
* [http://www.psr.keele.ac.uk/area/uk/man/libdem92.htm Changing Britain for good] - Liberal Democrat manifesto.

Notes

External links

* [http://archives.lse.ac.uk/dserve.exe?dsqServer=lib-4.lse.ac.uk&dsqIni=Dserve.ini&dsqApp=Archive&dsqDb=Catalog&dsqCmd=Overview.tcl&dsqSearch=((RefNo='general')AND(RefNo='election')AND(RefNo='1992')) Catalogue of 1992 general election ephemera] at the [http://www.lse.ac.uk/library/archive/Default.htm Archives Division] of the London School of Economics.


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