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::United Kingdom general election, 1931

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Election::kingdom    United::general    Party::seats    Votes::labour    Leader::party    South::william

{{ safesubst:#invoke:Unsubst||$N=Use dmy dates |date=__DATE__ |$B= }} {{ safesubst:#invoke:Unsubst||$N=Use British English |date=__DATE__ |$B= }}

colspan=4 style="text-align:center;" United Kingdom

colspan=4 { cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0" style="background:transparent; width:100%;" style="width:25%;text-align:left;" class="noprint" 1929 ←

="width:50%;text-align:center;" 27 October 1931

="width:25%;text-align:right;" class="noprint" → 1935
}

colspan=4 style="text-align:center"

{ cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0" style="background:transparent; width:100%;" style="width:50%; text-align:left; text-size: 80%" PM before election
Ramsay MacDonald
style="width:50%; text-align:right; text-size: 80%" Subsequent PM
Ramsay MacDonald
}

United Kingdom general election, 1931
colspan=4
  style="text-align:center;border-bottom: 6px solid #" {{#invoke:InfoboxImage|InfoboxImage|image=Stanley Baldwin ggbain.35233.jpg|suppressplaceholder=yes}} style="text-align:center;border-bottom: 6px solid #" {{#invoke:InfoboxImage|InfoboxImage|image=Arthurhenderson.jpg|suppressplaceholder=yes}} style="text-align:center;border-bottom: 6px solid #" {{#invoke:InfoboxImage|InfoboxImage|image=Sir John Simon 1-3-16.jpg|suppressplaceholder=yes}} colspan=4
  style="text-align:center;border-bottom: 6px solid #" {{#invoke:InfoboxImage|InfoboxImage|image=Gws samuel 01.jpg|suppressplaceholder=yes}} style="text-align:center;border-bottom: 6px solid #" {{#invoke:InfoboxImage|InfoboxImage|image=Ramsay MacDonald ggbain.37952.jpg|suppressplaceholder=yes}} style="text-align:center;border-bottom: 6px solid #" {{#invoke:InfoboxImage|InfoboxImage|image=David Lloyd George.jpg|suppressplaceholder=yes}} colspan=4


  style="text-align:center;border-bottom: 6px solid #" {{#invoke:InfoboxImage|InfoboxImage|image=|suppressplaceholder=yes}} style="text-align:center;border-bottom: 6px solid #" {{#invoke:InfoboxImage|InfoboxImage|image=|suppressplaceholder=yes}}



































colspan=4 style="text-align:center" All 615 seats to the House of Commons
308 seats needed for a majority
style="text-align:left" Turnout

colspan=3 style="text-align:center" 76.4%

style="text-align:left;"   style="text-align:center" First party style="text-align:center" Second party style="text-align:center" Third party
style="text-align:left" Leader

style="width:75px;text-align:center" Stanley Baldwin style="width:75px;text-align:center" Arthur Henderson style="width:75px;text-align:center" John Simon

style="width:75px;text-align:left" Party

style="width:75px;text-align:center" style="width:75px;text-align:center" style="width:75px;text-align:center"

style="text-align:left" Leader since

style="width:75px;text-align:center" 23 May 1923 style="width:75px;text-align:center" 1 September 1931 style="width:75px;text-align:center" 5 October 1931

style="text-align:left" Leader's seat

style="width:75px;text-align:center" Bewdley style="width:75px;text-align:center" Burnley (defeated) style="width:75px;text-align:center" Spen Valley

style="text-align:left" Last election

style="width:75px;text-align:center" 260 seats, 38.1% style="width:75px;text-align:center" 287 seats, 37.1% style="width:75px;text-align:center" N/A

style="text-align:left" Seats won

style="width:75px;text-align:center" 470 style="width:75px;text-align:center" 52* style="width:75px;text-align:center" 35

style="text-align:left" Seat change

style="width:75px;text-align:center" Increase 210 style="width:75px;text-align:center" Decrease 225 style="width:75px;text-align:center" N/A

style="text-align:left" Popular vote

style="width:75px;text-align:center" 11,377,022 style="width:75px;text-align:center" 6,339,306 style="width:75px;text-align:center" 761,705

style="text-align:left" Percentage

style="width:75px;text-align:center" 55.0% style="width:75px;text-align:center" 30.6% style="width:75px;text-align:center" 3.7%

style="text-align:left" Swing

style="width:75px;text-align:center" Increase 16.9% style="width:75px;text-align:center" Decrease 6.5% style="width:75px;text-align:center" Increase 3.7%

style="text-align:left;"   style="text-align:center" Fourth party style="text-align:center" Fifth party style="text-align:center" Sixth party
style="text-align:left" Leader

style="width:75px;text-align:center" Herbert Samuel style="width:75px;text-align:center" Ramsay MacDonald style="width:75px;text-align:center" David Lloyd George

style="width:75px;text-align:left" Party

style="width:75px;text-align:center" style="width:75px;text-align:center" style="width:75px;text-align:center"

style="text-align:left" Leader since

style="width:75px;text-align:center" October 1931 style="width:75px;text-align:center" 24 August 1931 style="width:75px;text-align:center" 1931

style="text-align:left" Leader's seat

style="width:75px;text-align:center" Darwen style="width:75px;text-align:center" Seaham style="width:75px;text-align:center" Caernarvon Boroughs

style="text-align:left" Last election

style="width:75px;text-align:center" 59 seats, 23.6% style="width:75px;text-align:center" N/A style="width:75px;text-align:center" N/A

style="text-align:left" Seats won

style="width:75px;text-align:center" 33 style="width:75px;text-align:center" 13 style="width:75px;text-align:center" 4

style="text-align:left" Seat change

style="width:75px;text-align:center" Decrease 26 style="width:75px;text-align:center" N/A style="width:75px;text-align:center" N/A

style="text-align:left" Popular vote

style="width:75px;text-align:center" 1,346,571 style="width:75px;text-align:center" 316,741 style="width:75px;text-align:center" 106,106

style="text-align:left" Percentage

style="width:75px;text-align:center" 6.5% style="width:75px;text-align:center" 1.5% style="width:75px;text-align:center" 0.5%

style="text-align:left" Swing

style="width:75px;text-align:center" Decrease 17.1% style="width:75px;text-align:center" Increase 1.5% style="width:75px;text-align:center" Increase 0.5%

1924 election MPs
1929 election MPs
1931 election MPs
1935 election MPs
1945 election MPs

The United Kingdom general election held on Tuesday 27 October 1931 saw a landslide election victory for the National Government which had been formed two months previously after the collapse of the previous Labour government. The bulk of the National Government's support came from the Conservative Party, and the Conservatives won 470 seats. The Labour party suffered its greatest defeat, losing four out of five seats compared with the previous election. The Liberal Party, split into three factions, continued to shrink and the Liberal National faction never reunited. Ivor Bulmer-Thomas said the results "were the most astonishing in the history of the British party system".<ref> Ivor Bulmer-Thomas, The Growth of the British Party System Volume II 1924–1964 (1967) p 76</ref> It was the last election where one party (the Conservatives) received an absolute majority of the votes cast and the last UK general election not to take place on a Thursday.

After battling with the Great Depression for two years, Ramsay MacDonald's Labour government had been faced with a sudden budget crisis in August 1931. The cabinet deadlocked over its response, with several influential members such as Arthur Henderson unwilling to support the budget cuts (in particular a cut in the rate of unemployment benefit) which were pressed by the civil service and opposition parties. Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Snowden refused to consider deficit spending or tariffs as alternative solutions. When the government resigned, MacDonald was encouraged by King George V to form an all-party National Government to deal with the immediate crisis.

The initial hope that the government would hold office for a few weeks and then dissolve to return to ordinary party politics were frustrated when the government was forced to remove the Pound sterling from the Gold standard; meanwhile the Labour Party expelled all those who were supporting the government. The Conservatives began pressing for the National Government to fight an election as a combined unit, and MacDonald's supporters from the Labour Party formed a National Labour organisation to support him; MacDonald came to endorse an early election to take advantage of Labour's unpopularity. However the Liberals were sceptical about an election and had to be persuaded. Former Liberal leader David Lloyd George firmly opposed the decision to call an election and urged his colleagues to withdraw from the National Government.

A main issue was the Conservatives' wish to introduce protectionist trade policies. This issue not only divided the government from the opposition but also divided the parties in the National Government: the majority of Liberals, led by Sir Herbert Samuel, were opposed and supported free trade, but on the eve of the election a faction known as Liberal Nationals under the leadership of Sir John Simon was formed who were willing to support protectionist trade policies. In order to preserve the Liberals within the National Government, the government itself did not endorse a policy but appealed for a "Doctor's Mandate" to do whatever was necessary to rescue the economy. Individual Conservative candidates did support protective tariffs.

Labour campaigned on opposition to public spending cuts, but found it difficult to defend the record of the party's former government and the fact that most of the cuts had been agreed before it fell. In the event, the Labour vote fell sharply, and the National Government won a landslide majority. Although the overwhelming majority of the Government MPs were Conservatives under the leadership of Stanley Baldwin, Ramsay MacDonald remained Prime Minister in the new National government. The Liberals lacked the funds to contest the full range of seats, but still won almost as many constituencies as the Labour Party.


United Kingdom general election, 1931 sections
Intro  Results  Incumbents defeated  Results by constituency  See also  References  Further reading  External links  

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