The October 1974 United Kingdom general election took place on Thursday 10 October 1974 to elect 635 members of the British House of Commons. It was the second general election held that year, and the first year that two general elections were held in a single year since 1910, 64 years earlier. The election resulted in the Labour Party led by Harold Wilson winning a narrow majority of just 3 seats. This was the last general election victory for the Labour Party until 1997; the next four consecutive general elections all produced an outright Conservative victory.

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  • The October 1974 United Kingdom general election took place on Thursday 10 October 1974 to elect 635 members of the British House of Commons. It was the second general election held that year, and the first year that two general elections were held in a single year since 1910, 64 years earlier. The election resulted in the Labour Party led by Harold Wilson winning a narrow majority of just 3 seats. The election of February that year had produced an unexpected hung parliament. Coalition talks between the Conservatives and other parties such as the Liberals and the Ulster Unionists failed, allowing Labour leader Harold Wilson to form a minority government. The October campaign was not as vigorous or exciting as the one in February. Despite continuing high inflation, Labour was able to boast that it had ended the miners' strike, which had dogged Heath's premiership, and had returned some stability. The Conservative Party, still led by Edward Heath, released a manifesto promoting national unity; however, its chances of forming a government were hindered by the Ulster Unionist Party refusing to take the Conservative whip at Westminster, in response to the Sunningdale Agreement of 1973. At the election, the Labour Party won 319 seats, allowing it to form a majority government, albeit with a narrow majority of only 3. The Conservatives and the Liberals each saw their vote share decline, and Conservative Party leader Edward Heath, who had lost three of the four elections he contested, was ousted as party leader in February 1975 and replaced with future Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. The Scottish National Party won 30% of the Scottish popular vote and 11 of Scotland's 71 seats; it was their most successful general election result until 2015, where they won 56 of 59 Scottish seats and replaced the Liberal Democrats as the third largest party in Westminster. Subsequently, Labour's narrow parliamentary majority had disappeared by 1977 through a series of by-election losses and defections. It then required deals with the Liberals, the Ulster Unionists, the Scottish Nationalists and the Welsh Nationalists. This was the last general election victory for the Labour Party until 1997; the next four consecutive general elections all produced an outright Conservative victory. The election was broadcast live on the BBC, and was presented by David Butler, Alastair Burnet, Robert McKenzie, Robin Day and Sue Lawley. (en)
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  • October 1974 United Kingdom general election (en)
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  • The October 1974 United Kingdom general election took place on Thursday 10 October 1974 to elect 635 members of the British House of Commons. It was the second general election held that year, and the first year that two general elections were held in a single year since 1910, 64 years earlier. The election resulted in the Labour Party led by Harold Wilson winning a narrow majority of just 3 seats. This was the last general election victory for the Labour Party until 1997; the next four consecutive general elections all produced an outright Conservative victory. (en)
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  • October 1974 United Kingdom general election (en)
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