United Kingdom general election, 1859

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United Kingdom general election, 1859
United Kingdom
← 1857 28 April–18 May 1859 1865 →

All 654 seats in the House of Commons
328 seats needed for a majority
  First party Second party
  Palmerston.jpg 14th Earl of Derby.jpg
Leader The Viscount Palmerston The Earl of Derby
Party Liberal Conservative
Leader since 6 February 1855 July 1846
Leader's seat Tiverton Earl of Derby
Last election 377 seats, 65.9% 264 seats, 34.0%
Seats won 356 298
Seat change Decrease 21 Increase 34
Popular vote 372,117 193,232
Percentage 65.7% 34.3%
Swing Decrease 0.2% Increase 0.3%

Prime Minister before election

Lord Derby
Conservative

Subsequent Prime Minister

Lord Palmerston
Whig

In the 1859 United Kingdom general election, the Whigs, led by Lord Palmerston, held their majority in the House of Commons over the Earl of Derby's Conservatives. This election is also considered to be the first to be contested by the Liberal Party - a name unofficially adopted to cover the alliance of Whigs, Peelites, Radicals and Irish Brigade who had previously voted against the Derby administration in the House of Commons that had led to the election. It was also the last general election entered by the Chartists, before their organisation was dissolved. As of 2017, this is the last election in which the Conservatives won the most seats in Wales,[1] as well as being the last election to date in which the Conservative Party took less than a third of the vote in England.

The election was the quietest and least competitive between 1832 and 1885, with most county elections being uncontested. The election also saw the lowest number of candidates between 1832 and 1885, with Tory gains potentially being the result of a lack of opposition as much as a change in public opinion.[2]

Results

UK General Election 1859
Candidates Votes
Party Standing Elected Gained Unseated Net  % of total  % Net %
  Liberal 298 356 - 21 54.4 65.7 372,117 - 0.2
  Conservative 394 298 + 34 45.6 34.3 193,232 + 0.3
  Chartist 1 0 0 0 0 0 0.0 151 - 0.1

Total votes cast: 565,500

Regional Results

Largest party in each constituent country.

Great Britain

Party Candidates Unopposed Seats Seats change Votes  %  % Change
Liberal 392 157 306 314,708 66.6
Conservative & Peelites 327 160 245 157,974 33.4
Chartist 1 0 0 151 0.0
Total 720 317 551 Steady 472,833 100
England
Party Candidates Unopposed Seats Seats change Votes  %  % Change
Liberal 330 109 251 307,949 67.1
Conservative & Peelite 286 129 209 152,591 32.9
Chartist 1 0 0 151 0.0
Total 617 238 460 Steady 460,691 100
Scotland
Party Candidates Unopposed Seats Seats change Votes  %  % Change
Liberal 44 34 40 5,174 66.4
Conservative & Peelite 17 11 13 2,616 33.6
Total 61 45 53 Steady 7,790 100
Wales
Party Candidates Unopposed Seats Seats change Votes  %  % Change
Conservative & Peelite 18 14 17 2,767 63.6
Liberal 18 14 15 1,585 36.4
Total 36 28 32 Steady 4,352 100

Ireland

Party Candidates Unopposed Seats Seats change Votes  %  % Change
Conservative & Peelite 67 36 53 35,258 38.9
Liberal 73 26 50 57,409 61.1
Total 140 62 103 92,667 100

Universities

Party Candidates Unopposed Seats Seats change Votes  %  % Change
Conservative & Peelite 6 6 6
Total 6 6 6 Steady 100

References

  1. ^ Scully, Roger. "Why Wales decided to forgive the Tories". spectator.co.uk. Retrieved 4 May 2017. 
  2. ^ Hawkins, A. Parliament, Party and the Art of Politics in Britain, 1855–59. p. 377. 

Bibliography

  • F. W. S. Craig, British Electoral Facts: 1832-1987
  • British Electoral Facts 1832-1999, compiled and edited by Colin Rallings and Michael Thrasher (Ashgate Publishing Ltd 2000)
  • Spartacus: Political Parties and Election Results
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