1880 United Kingdom general election - en.LinkFang.org

1880 United Kingdom general election

1880 United Kingdom general election

← 1874 31 March – 27 April 1880[1] 1885 →

All 652 seats in the House of Commons
327 seats needed for a majority
  First party Second party Third party
Leader Marquess of Hartington Earl of Beaconsfield William Shaw
Party Liberal Conservative Home Rule
Leader since January 1875 27 February 1868 May 1879
Leader's seat North East Lancashire House of Lords County Cork
Last election 242 seats, 52.0% 350 seats, 44.3% 60 seats, 3.7%
Seats won 352 237 63
Seat change 110 113 3
Popular vote 1,836,423 1,426,351 95,535
Percentage 54.7% 42.5% 2.8%
Swing 2.7% 1.8% 0.9%

Colours denote the winning party

Prime Minister before election

Earl of Beaconsfield

Prime Minister after election

William Ewart Gladstone

The 1880 United Kingdom general election was a general election in the United Kingdom held from 31 March to 27 April 1880.

The intense rhetoric of the election was provided by the Midlothian campaign of the Liberals, led by the fierce oratory of Liberal leader William Ewart Gladstone.[2] Gladstone vehemently attacked the foreign policy of the government of Benjamin Disraeli, Earl of Beaconsfield, as utterly immoral.

The Liberals secured one of their largest-ever majorities in the election, leaving the Conservatives a distant second. As a result of the campaign, the Liberal leaders, Lord Hartington and Lord Granville, withdrew in favour of Gladstone, who thus became Prime Minister a second time. It was the last election when the Liberals, or any party other than the Conservatives would win a majority of the votes cast in a general election.


Results summary

352 237 63
Liberal Conservative Home Rule
UK General Election 1880
Candidates Votes
Party Leader Stood Elected Gained Unseated Net % of total % No. Net %
  Liberal 499 352 +110 53.99 54.66 1,836,423 +2.7
  Conservative 521 237 −113 36.35 42.46 1,426,351 −1.8
  Home Rule 81 63 +3 9.66 2.84 95,535 −0.9
  Independent 2 0 0 0 0 0 0.03 1,107 0

Voting summary

Popular vote
Home Rule

Seats summary

Parliamentary seats
Home Rule


The Conservative government was doomed by the poor condition of the British economy and the vulnerability of its foreign policy to moralistic attacks by the Liberals. Gladstone, appealing to moralistic evangelicals, led the attack on the foreign policy of Disraeli (now known as Lord Beaconsfield) as immoral.[3] Historian Paul Smith paraphrases the rhetorical tone which focused on attacking "Beaconsfieldism" (in Smith's words) as a:

Sinister system of policy, which not merely involved the country in immoral, vainglorious and expensive external adventures, inimical to peace and to the rights of small peoples, but aimed at nothing less than the subversion of parliamentary government in favour of some simulacrum of the oriental despotism its creator was alleged to admire.[4]

Smith notes that there was indeed some substance to the allegations, but: "Most of this was partisan extravaganza, worthy of its target's own excursions against the Whigs."[5]

Disraeli himself was now the Earl of Beaconsfield in the House of Lords, and custom did not allow peers to campaign. His party was unable to deal effectively with the rhetorical onslaught. Although he had improved the organisation of the Conservative Party, Disraeli was firmly based in the rural gentry, and had little contact with or understanding of the urban middle class that was increasingly dominating his party.

Besides their trouble with foreign policy issues, it was even more important that the Conservatives were unable to effectively defend their economic record on the home front. The 1870s coincided with a long-term global depression caused by the collapse of the worldwide railway boom of the 1870s which previously had been so profitable to Britain. The stress was growing by the late 1870s; prices fell, profits fell, employment fell, and there was downward pressure on wage rates that caused much hardship among the industrial working class. The free trade system supported by both parties made Britain defenceless against the flood of cheap wheat from North America, which was exacerbated by the worst harvest of the century in Britain in 1879. The party in power got the blame, and Liberals repeatedly emphasised the growing budget deficit as a measure of bad stewardship. In the election itself, Disraeli's party lost heavily up and down the line, especially in Scotland and Ireland, and in the urban boroughs. His Conservative strength fell from 351 to 238, while the Liberals jumped from 250 to 353. Disraeli resigned on 21 April 1880.[6]

Regional results

Great Britain

Party Seats Seats change Votes % % change
Liberal 334 104 1,780,171 57.3 1.9
Lib-Lab 3 1
Conservative 214 105 1,326,744 42.7 1.9
Other 0 1,107 0.04 0.04
Total 551 3,108,022 100


Party Seats Seats change Votes % % change
Liberal 251 82 1,519,576 56.2 2.4
Lib-Lab 3 1
Conservative 197 83 1,205,990 43.7 2.5
Other 0 1,107 0.1 0.1
Total 451 2,726,673 100


Party Seats Seats change Votes % % change
Liberal 52 12 195,517 70.1 1.7
Conservative 6 12 74,145 29.9 1.7
Total 58 269,662 100


Party Seats Seats change Votes % % change
Liberal 29 10 50,403 58.8 2.1
Conservative 4 10 41,106 41.2 2.1
Total 33 100,509 100


Party Seats Seats change Votes % % change
Home Rule 63 3 95,535 37.5 2.1%
Irish Conservative 24 8 99,607 39.8 1.0%
Liberal 15 5 56,252 22.7 4.3%
Total 101 251,394 100


Party Seats Seats change Votes % % change
Conservative 7 5,503 49.2
Liberal 2 5,675 50.8
Total 9 11,178 100

See also


  1. ^ "Data" (PDF), parliament.uk
  2. ^ Fitzsimons 1960, pp. 187–201.
  3. ^ Matthew 1997, pp. 293–312.
  4. ^ Smith 1996, pp. 198–99.
  5. ^ Smith 1996, p. 199.
  6. ^ Smith 1996, pp. 202–3; Blake 1967, pp. 707–13, 717.


External links

Categories: 1880 United Kingdom general election | General elections to the Parliament of the United Kingdom | 1880 elections in the United Kingdom | March 1880 events | April 1880 events

Information as of: 17.06.2020 01:40:58 CEST

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