United Kingdom general election, 1865

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United Kingdom general election, 1865
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
← 1859 11–24 July 1865 (1865-07-11 – 1865-07-24) 1868 →

All 658 seats to the House of Commons
330 seats needed for a majority
  First party Second party
  Lord Palmerston 1855.jpg 14th Earl of Derby (cropped).jpg
Leader Viscount Palmerston Earl of Derby
Party Liberal Conservative
Leader since 12 June 1859 July 1846
Leader's seat Tiverton House of Lords
Last election 356 seats, 65.7% 298 seats, 34.3%
Seats won 369 289
Seat change Increase13 Decrease9
Popular vote 508,821 346,035
Percentage 59.5% 40.5%
Swing Decrease6.2% Increase6.2%

Prime Minister before election

Viscount Palmerston
Liberal

Appointed Prime Minister

Viscount Palmerston
Liberal

The 1865 United Kingdom general election saw the Liberals, led by Lord Palmerston, increase their large majority over the Earl of Derby's Conservatives to more than 80. The Whig Party changed its name to the Liberal Party between the previous election and this one.

Palmerston died in October the same year and was succeeded by Lord John Russell as Prime Minister.[1] Despite the Liberal majority, the party was divided by the issue of further parliamentary reform, and Russell resigned after being defeated in a vote in the House of Commons in 1866, leading to minority Conservative governments under Derby and then Benjamin Disraeli.

This was the last United Kingdom general election where a party increased its majority after having been returned to office at the previous election with a reduced majority.

Corruption

The 1865 general election was regarded by contemporaries as being a generally dull contest nationally, which exaggerated the degree of corruption within individual constituencies. In his PhD thesis, Cornelius O'Leary described The Times as having reported "the testimony is unanimous that in the General Election of 1865 there was more profuse and corrupt expenditure than was ever known before".[2] As a result of allegations of corruption, 50 election petitions were lodged, of which 35 were pressed to a trial; 13 ended with the elected MP being unseated. In four cases a Royal Commission had to be appointed because of widespread corrupt practices in the constituency.[3]

As a result, when he became Prime Minister in 1867, Benjamin Disraeli announced that he would introduce a new method for election petition trials, which were then determined by a committee of the House of Commons, resulting in the Parliamentary Elections Act 1868, whereby two Judges of the Court of Common Pleas, Exchequer of Pleas or Queen's Bench would be designated to try election petitions with full judicial salaries.[3]

Results

369 289
Liberal Conservative
UK General Election 1865
Candidates Votes
Party Stood Elected Gained Unseated Net % of total % Net %
  Liberal 516 369 +13 56.08 59.52 508,821 −6.2 %
  Conservative 406 289 −9 43.92 40.48 346,035 +6.2 %
Total 658 +4 100% 100% 854,856

Regional results

Great Britain

Party Candidates Unopposed Seats Seats change Votes % % change
Liberal 433 133 311 457,289 60.0
Conservative 347 115 244 304,538 40.0
Total 780 248 555 Steady 761,827 100
England
Party Candidates Unopposed Seats Seats change Votes % % change
Liberal 359 88 251 406,978 59.0
Conservative 308 94 213 291,238 41.0
Total 667 182 464 698,216 100
Scotland
Party Candidates Unopposed Seats Seats change Votes % % change
Liberal 51 30 42 43,480 85.4
Conservative 17 7 11 4,305 14.6
Total 68 37 53 Steady 47,785 100
Wales
Party Candidates Unopposed Seats Seats change Votes % % change
Liberal 21 15 18 4,565 74.0
Conservative 16 12 14 1,600 26.0
Total 37 27 32 Steady 6,165 100

Ireland

Party Candidates Unopposed Seats Seats change Votes % % change
Liberal 83 28 58 51,532 55.6
Irish Conservative 59 27 45 41,497 44.4
Total 142 55 103 Steady 93,029 100

Universities

Party Candidates Unopposed Seats Seats change Votes % % change
Conservative 6 2 6 7,395 76.5
Liberal 2 0 0 2,266 23.5
Total 8 2 6 9,661 100

Sources:

  • Rallings, Colin; Thrasher, Michael, British Electoral Facts 1832–2012, pp. 8–9 

Notes

  1. ^ Everett, Jason M., ed. (2006), "1865", The People's Chronology, Thomson Gale, retrieved 12 May 2007 [permanent dead link]
  2. ^ Kelly, Richard; Hamlyn, Matthew (2013), "The Law and Conduct of MPs", in Horne, Alexander; Drewry, Gavin; Oliver, Dawn, Parliament and the Law, Bloomsbury Publishing, p. 93, ISBN 978-1-7822-5258-0 
  3. ^ a b O'Leary, Cornelius (1962), The Elimination of Corrupt Practices in British Elections 1868–1911, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 27–28, 39 

References

  • Craig, F. W. S., British Electoral Facts: 1832–1987 [publisher missing]
  • Crewe, Ivor (2006), "New Labour's Hegemony: Extension or Erosion?", in Bartle, John; King, Anthony, Britain at the Polls 2005, Washington, D.C.: CQ Press, p. 204 
  • Rallings, Colin; Thrasher, Michael, eds. (2000), British Electoral Facts 1832–1999, Ashgate Publishing Ltd 

External links

  • Spartacus: Political Parties and Election Results
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