United Kingdom general election, 1929

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United Kingdom general election, 1929
United Kingdom
← 1924 30 May 1929 1931 →

All 615 seats in the House of Commons
308 seats needed for a majority
Turnout 76.3% (Decrease0.7%)
  First party Second party Third party
  Ramsay MacDonald ggbain 35734.jpg Stanley Baldwin ggbain.35233.jpg LloydGeorge.jpg
Leader Ramsay MacDonald Stanley Baldwin David Lloyd George
Party Labour Conservative Liberal
Leader since 21 November 1922 23 May 1923 14 October 1926
Leader's seat Seaham Bewdley Caernarvon Boroughs
Last election 151 seats, 33.3% 412 seats, 46.8% 40 seats, 17.8%
Seats won 287 260 59
Seat change Increase 136 Decrease 152 Increase 19
Popular vote 8,048,968 8,252,527 5,104,638
Percentage 37.1% 38.1% 23.6%
Swing Increase 3.8% Decrease 8.7% Increase 5.8%

UK General Election, 1929.png
Colours denote the winning party, as shown in the main table of results.

Prime Minister before election

Stanley Baldwin

Elected Prime Minister

Ramsay MacDonald

The 1929 United Kingdom general election was held on Thursday 30 May 1929, and resulted in a hung parliament. It was the second of four general elections under the secret ballot and the first of three under universal suffrage in which a party lost the popular vote (i.e. gained fewer popular votes than another party) but gained a plurality of seats—the others of the four being 1874, 1951 and February 1974. In 1929 that party was Ramsay MacDonald's Labour Party, which won the most seats in the House of Commons for the first time, but failed to get an overall majority. The Liberal Party led by David Lloyd George regained some of the ground it had lost in the 1924 election, and held the balance of power.

The election was often referred to as the "Flapper Election", because it was the first election in which women aged 21–29 were allowed to vote, under the provisions of the Representation of the People Act 1928. (Women over 30 had been able to vote since the 1918 election.)

The election was fought against a background of rising unemployment, with the memory of the 1926 General Strike still fresh in voters' minds. By 1929, the Cabinet was being described by many as "old and exhausted".[1]

The Liberals campaigned on a comprehensive programme of public works under the title "We Can Conquer Unemployment". The incumbent Conservatives campaigned on the theme of 'Safety First', with Labour campaigning on the theme of 'Labour & the Nation'.

The 1929 election was the first general election to be contested by the newly formed Welsh nationalist party Plaid Cymru.


UK General Election 1929
Candidates Votes
Party Leader Standing Elected Gained Unseated Net  % of total  % No. Net %
  Conservative Stanley Baldwin 590 260 − 152 42.227 38.1 8,252,527 − 8.7
  Labour Ramsay MacDonald 569 287 + 136 46.666 37.1 8,048,968 + 3.8
  Liberal David Lloyd George 513 59 + 19 9.593 23.6 5,104,638 + 5.8
  Independent N/A 11 4 3 1 + 2 0.650 0.4 94,742 + 0.2
  Communist Harry Pollitt 25 0 0 1 − 1 0.2 47,554 − 0.1
  Independent Conservative N/A 8 0 0 0 0.2 46,278
  Scottish Prohibition Edwin Scrymgeour 1 1 0 0 0 0.1 25,037 + 0.1
  Nationalist Joseph Devlin 4 3 0 0 + 2 0.1 24,177 + 0.1
  Independent Labour N/A 4 1 1 0 + 1 0.1 20,825 + 0.1
  Independent Liberal N/A 2 0 0 0 0 0.1 17,110 + 0.1
  National (Scotland) Roland Muirhead 2 0 0 0 0 0.0 3,313 N/A
  Plaid Cymru Saunders Lewis 1 0 0 0 0 0.0 609 N/A

Total votes cast: 21,685,779. Turnout 76.3%.[2] All parties shown. Conservatives include Ulster Unionists.

Votes summary

Popular vote

Seats summary

Parliamentary seats

Constituency results

For a full list of the results by constituency, see Constituency election results in the United Kingdom general election, 1929.

Seats changing hands

  • All comparisons are with the 1924 election.
  • In some cases, the change is owing to the MP having defected to the gaining party, and then retaining the seat in 1929. Such circumstances are marked with a *.
  • In other circumstances, the change is owing to the seat having been won by the gaining party in a by-election in the intervening years, and then retained in 1929. Such circumstances are marked with a †.
Gain Gained from Number Seats
Independent Labour Labour 1 Govan*
Labour Communist 1 Battersea North
Liberal 15 Chesterfield, South Shields, Walthamstow West, Bristol North, Bristol South, Hull Central*, Blackburn (one of two), Oldham (one of two), Hackney South, Lambeth North, Bradford East, Batley and Morley, Wrexham, Carmarthen, Swansea West
Constitutionalist 3 Walthamstow East1, Accrington2, Stoke2
Conservative 121 Stirlingshire West, Dunbartonshire, Lanark, Partick, Lanarkshire North†, Renfrewshire West, Maryhill, Kilmarnock, Edinburgh West, Linlithgow†, Berwick & Haddington, Reading, Birkenhead West, Crewe, Stalybridge and Hyde, Stockport (one of two)†, Carlisle, Whitehaven, Derby (one of two), Belper, Derbyshire South, Drake, Barnard Castle, Sedgefield, Darlington†, Stockton-on-Tees, Sunderland (both seats), Leyton East, East Ham North, Essex SE, Leyton West, Romford, Upton, Bristol Central, Portsmouth Central, Southampton (both seats), Dudley, Stourbridge†, Hull East, Hull South West, Chatham, Dartford, Blackburn (one of two), Ormskirk, Rossendale, Ashton-under-Lyne†, Bolton (both seats), Eccles, Hulme, Oldham (one of two), Salford North, Salford South, Salford West, Bootle, Everton, Kirkdale, Warrington, Widnes, Leicester East, Loughborough, Brigg, Fulham West, Hammersmith South, Islington North, Kensington North, Battersea South†, Greenwich, Islington East, Camberwell North-West, Hackney Central, Kennington, Hammersmith North†, St Pancras North, St Pancras South East, St Pancras South West, Wandsworth Central, Norfolk South West, Norwich (one of two), Kettering, Northampton†, Peterborough, Bassetlaw, Nottingham South, The Wrekin, Frome, Lichfield, Walsall, Wolverhampton West, Nuneaton, Duddeston, Coventry, Aston, Deritend, Erdington, Ladywood, Yardley, Swindon, York, Cleveland, Acton, Enfield, Tottenham South, Sheffield Central, Bradford North, Leeds Central, Sowerby, Wakefield, Sheffield Park, Bradford Central, Pontefract, Newport (Monmouthshire), Brecon and Radnor, Llandaff & Barry, Cardiff Central, Cardiff East, Cardiff South
Speaker 1 Halifax
Independent 1 Mossley
Labour gains: 142
Liberal Labour 2 Bethnal Green North-East, Newcastle upon Tyne East
Constitutionalist 2 Camborne, Heywood and Radcliffe*
Conservative 32 Banff, Aberdeenshire West and Kincardine, Fife East, Dumfriesshire, Galloway, Bedfordshire Mid, Luton, Huntingdonshire, Isle of Ely, Birkenhead East, Eddisbury, Bodmin, Cornwall North, Penryn and Falmouth, St Ives†, South Molton, Dorset East, Harwich, Hereford, Ashford, Darwen, Preston (one of two), Blackley, Withington, Bosworth†, Holland with Boston†, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk East, Nottingham East, Eye, Flintshire, Pembrokeshire
Liberal gains: 36
Conservative Labour 1 King's Norton
Constitutionalist 1 Epping*
Conservative gains: 2
Independent Constitutionalist 1 Stretford*
Independent Conservative Conservative 1 Exeter*
Nationalist Ulster Unionist 2 Fermanagh and Tyrone (both seats)

1previous MP had defected to the Conservatives by the 1929 election

2previous MP had defected to the Liberals by the 1929 election

See also


  1. ^ Paul W. Doerr British foreign policy 1919-1939 p.104-5
  2. ^ http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons/lib/research/rp2008/rp08-012.pdf

Further reading

  • F. W. S. Craig, British Electoral Facts: 1832-1987
  • Howell, David. MacDonald’s Party: Labour Identities and Crisis, 1922–1939 (Oxford, 2002)
  • Redvaldsen, David. "'Today is the Dawn': The Labour Party and the 1929 General Election," Parliamentary History (2010) 29#3 pp 395–415.
  • Williamson, Philip. "'Safety First': Baldwin, the Conservative Party and the 1929 General Election," Historical Journal (1982) 25: 385–409.

External links

  • United Kingdom election results - summary results 1885-1979

External links

  • 1929 Conservative manifesto
  • 1929 Labour manifesto
  • 1929 Liberal manifesto
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