The 2001 United Kingdom general election was held on Thursday 7 June 2001, four years after the previous election on 1 May 1997, to elect 659 members to the House of Commons. Under the leadership of Tony Blair, the Labour Party was re-elected to serve a second term in government with another landslide victory, returning 413 of the 418 seats won by the party in the previous general election, a net loss of 5 seats, though with a significantly lower turnout than before—59.4%, compared to 71.3% at the previous election. Blair went on to become the first Labour Prime Minister to serve a consecutive full term in office. It was dubbed "the quiet landslide" by the media.
There was little change outside Northern Ireland, with 620 out of the 641 seats electing candidates from the same party as they did in 1997. Factors contributing to the Labour victory were a strong economy and falling unemployment, as well as the fact that the Labour government was seen as having delivered on many key election pledges that it had made in 1997.
The Conservative Party, under William Hague's leadership, was still deeply divided on the issue of Europe and the party's policy platform was considered to have shifted to a right-wing focus. Hague was also hindered by a series of embarrassing publicity stunts, and resigned as party leader three months later, becoming the first Leader of the Conservative or Unionist party in the House of Commons since Austen Chamberlain to not serve as Prime Minister.
The election was essentially a repeat of the 1997 general election, with Labour losing only 6 seats overall and the Conservatives making a net gain of one seat (gaining nine seats, but losing eight). The Conservatives did manage to gain a seat in Scotland, which ended the party's status as an 'England-only' party in the prior parliament, but once again were left unrepresented in Wales. Although they did not gain many seats, two of the few new MPs elected were future Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron and future Conservative Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne; who would serve in the same Cabinet as Cameron from 2010-16. The Liberal Democrats gained six seats.
The 2001 general election is the last to date in which any government has held an overall majority of more than 100 seats in the House of Commons, and one of only two since the Second World War (the other being 1997) in which a single party won over 400 MPs. It was also the last election at which Labour secured over 40% of the popular vote until the snap 2017 general election, held exactly sixteen years and one day later.
Change was seen in Northern Ireland, with the moderately unionist Ulster Unionist Party losing four seats to the more hardline Democratic Unionist Party. This transition was mirrored in the nationalist community with the moderate SDLP losing votes to the more staunchly republican and abstentionist Sinn Féin.
The election was also marked by exceptionally low voter turnout, falling below 60% for the first (and so far, only) time since 1918. The election was broadcast live on the BBC, and presented by Jeremy Paxman, Andrew Marr, Peter Snow and David Dimbleby.
The 2001 general election was notable for being the first in which pictures of the party logos appeared on the ballot paper. Prior to this, the ballot paper had only displayed the candidate's name, address and party name.
|2001 United Kingdom general election|
All 659 seats to the House of Commons
330 seats needed for a majority
Colours denote the winning party, as shown in the main table of results.
The elections were marked by voter apathy, with turnout falling to 59.4%, the lowest since the Coupon Election of 1918. Throughout the election the Labour Party had maintained a significant lead in the opinion polls and the result was deemed to be so certain that some bookmakers paid out for a Labour majority before the election day.
However, the opinion polls the previous autumn had shown the first Tory lead (though only by a narrow margin) in the opinion polls for eight years as they benefited from the public anger towards the government over the fuel protests which had led to a severe shortage of motor fuel.
By the end of 2000, however, the dispute had been solved and Labour were firmly back in the lead of the opinion polls. In total, a mere 29 parliamentary seats changed hands at the 2001 Election.
One of the more noted events of a quiet campaign was when countryside protester Craig Evans threw an egg at Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott in Rhyl; Prescott then punched him and a struggle ensued, in front of television cameras.
2001 also saw the rare election of an independent. Dr. Richard Taylor of Independent Kidderminster Hospital and Health Concern (usually now known simply as "Health Concern") unseated a government minister. There was also a high vote for British National Party leader Nick Griffin in Oldham, in the wake of recent race riots in the town.
In Northern Ireland, the election was far more dramatic and marked a move by unionists away from support for the Good Friday Agreement, with the moderate unionist Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) losing to the more hardline Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). This polarisation was also seen in the nationalist community, with the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) vote losing out to more left-wing and republican Sinn Féin. It also saw a tightening of the parties as the small UK Unionist Party lost its only seat.
For Labour, the last four years had run relatively smoothly. The party had successfully defended all their by election seats, and many suspected a Labour win was inevitable from the start.
Many in the party however were afraid of voter apathy, which was epitomised in the "Hague with Lady Thatcher's hair" poster. Despite recessions in mainland Europe and the United States, due to the bursting of global tech bubbles, Britain was notably unaffected and Labour however could rely on a strong economy as unemployment continued to decline toward election day, putting to rest any fears of a Labour government putting the economic situation at risk.
For William Hague, however, the Conservative Party had still not fully recovered from the loss in 1997. The party was still divided over Europe, and talk of a referendum on joining the Eurozone was rife. As Labour remained at the political centre, the Tories moved to the right. A policy gaffe by Oliver Letwin over public spending cuts left the party with an own goal that Labour soon took advantage of.
Margaret Thatcher also added to Hague's troubles when speaking out strongly against the Euro to applause. Hague himself, although a witty performer at PMQs, was dogged in the press and reminded of his speech at Conservative conference at the age of 16. The Sun newspaper only added to the Conservatives woes by backing Labour once again, calling Hague a "dead parrot" during the Conservative Party's conference in October 1998.
The Tories campaigned on a strongly right-wing platform, emphasising the issues of Europe, immigration and tax, the fabled "Tebbit Trinity". However, Labour countered by asking where the proposed tax cuts were going to come from, and decried the Tory policy as "cut here, cut there, cut everywhere", in reference to the widespread belief that the Conservatives would make major cuts to public services in order to fund tax cuts.
During the election Sharron Storer, a resident of Birmingham, criticised Prime Minister Tony Blair in front of television cameras about conditions in the National Health Service. The widely televised incident happened on 16 May during a campaign visit by Blair to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham. Sharron Storer's partner, Keith Sedgewick, a cancer patient with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and therefore highly susceptible to infection, was being treated at the time in the bone marrow unit, but no bed could be found for him and he was transferred to the casualty unit for his first 24 hours.
The election result was effectively a repeat of 1997, as the Labour Party retained an overwhelming majority with BBC announcing the victory at 02:58 on the early morning of 8 June. Having presided over relatively serene political, economic and social conditions, the feeling of prosperity in the United Kingdom had been maintained into the new millennium, and Labour would have a free hand to assert its ideals in the subsequent parliament. Despite the victory, voter apathy was a major issue, as turnout fell below 60%, 12% down on 1997. All of the 3 main parties saw their total votes fall, with Labour's total vote dropping by 2.8 million on 1997, the Conservatives 1.3 million, and the Liberal Democrats 428,000. Some suggested this dramatic fall was a sign of the general acceptance of the status quo and the likelihood of Labour's majority remaining unassailable.
For the Conservatives, this huge loss they had sustained in 1997 was repeated. Despite gaining 9 seats the Tories lost 7 to the Liberal Democrats, and one even to Labour. The inevitable result was the speedy resignation of William Hague in the election aftermath resigning at 07:44 outside the Conservative Party headquarters. Some believed that Hague had been unlucky, although most considered him to be a talented orator and an intelligent statesman, he had come up against the charismatic Tony Blair in the peak of his political career, and it was no surprise that little progress was made in reducing Labour's majority after a relatively smooth parliament.
Staying at what they considered rock bottom however showed that the Conservatives had failed to improve their negative public image, had remained somewhat disunited over Europe and had not regained the trust that they had lost in the 1990s. But in Scotland, despite gaining one seat from the SNP, their vote collapse continued. They failed to retake former strongholds in Scotland as the Nationalists consolidated their grip on the Northeastern portion of the country.
The Liberal Democrats could point to steady progress under Charles Kennedy, gaining more seats than the main two parties – albeit only six overall – and maintaining the performance of a pleasing 1997 election, where the party had doubled its number of seats from 20 to 46. While they had yet to become electable as a government, they underlined their growing reputation as a worthwhile alternative to Labour and Conservative, offering plenty of debate in parliament and not just representing a protest vote.
The SNP failed to gain any seats and lost a seat to the Conservatives by just 79 votes. Plaid Cymru both gained a seat from Labour and lost one to them.
In Northern Ireland the Ulster Unionists, despite gaining North Down, lost 5 other seats.
|Party||Leader||Stood||Elected||Gained||Unseated||Net||% of total||%||No.||Net %|
|Liberal Democrat||Charles Kennedy||639||52||8||2||+6||7.9||18.3||4,814,321||+1.5|
|Plaid Cymru||Ieuan Wyn Jones||40||4||1||1||0||0.6||0.7||195,893||+0.2|
|Sinn Féin||Gerry Adams||18||4||2||0||+2||0.6||0.7||175,933||+0.3|
|Green||Margaret Wright and Mike Woodin||145||0||0||0||0||0.0||0.6||166,477||+0.3|
|Scottish Socialist||Tommy Sheridan||72||0||0||0||0||0.0||0.3||72,516||N/A|
|Socialist Labour||Arthur Scargill||114||0||0||0||0||0.0||0.2||57,288||0.0|
|Health Concern||Richard Taylor||1||1||1||0||+1||0.2||0.1||28,487||N/A|
|UK Unionist||Robert McCartney||1||0||0||1||−1||0.0||0.1||13,509||+0.1|
|ProLife Alliance||Bruno Quintavalle||37||0||0||0||0||0.0||0.0||9,453||−0.1|
|Legalise Cannabis||Alun Buffry||13||0||0||0||0||0.0||0.0||8,677||N/A|
|People's Justice||Shaukat Ali Khan||3||0||0||0||0||0.0||0.0||7,443||N/A|
|Monster Raving Loony||Howling Laud Hope and Catmando||15||0||0||0||0||0.0||0.0||6,655||0.0|
|Mebyon Kernow||Dick Cole||3||0||0||0||0||0.0||0.0||3,199||0.0|
|NI Women's Coalition||Monica McWilliams and Pearl Sagar||1||0||0||0||0||0.0||0.0||2,968||0.0|
|Scottish Unionist||Danny Houston||2||0||0||0||0||0.0||0.0||2,728||N/A|
|Rock 'n' Roll Loony||Chris Driver||7||0||0||0||0||0.0||0.0||2,634||N/A|
|National Front||Tom Holmes||5||0||0||0||0||0.0||0.0||2,484||0.0|
|Workers' Party||Seán Garland||6||0||0||0||0||0.0||0.0||2,352||0.0|
|Neath Port Talbot Ratepayers||Paul Evans||1||0||0||0||0||0.0||0.0||1,960||N/A|
|NI Unionist||Cedric Wilson||6||0||0||0||0||0.0||0.0||1,794||N/A|
|Socialist Alternative||Peter Taaffe||2||0||0||0||0||0.0||0.0||1,454||0.0|
|Reform 2000||Erol Basarik||5||0||0||0||0||0.0||0.0||1,418||N/A|
|Isle of Wight||Philip Murray||1||0||0||0||0||0.0||0.0||1,164||N/A|
|New Britain||Dennis Delderfield||1||0||0||0||0||0.0||0.0||888||0.0|
|Free Party||Bob Dobbs||3||0||0||0||0||0.0||0.0||832||N/A|
|Leeds Left Alliance||Mike Davies||1||0||0||0||0||0.0||0.0||770||N/A|
|New Millennium Bean Party||Captain Beany||1||0||0||0||0||0.0||0.0||727||N/A|
|Workers Revolutionary||Sheila Torrance||6||0||0||0||0||0.0||0.0||607||0.0|
|Government's new majority||167|
|Total votes cast||26,367,383|
All parties with more than 500 votes shown.
The seat gains reflect changes on the 1997 general election result. Two seats had changed hands in by-elections in the intervening period. These were as follows:
The results of the election give a Gallagher index of dis-proportionality of 17.74.
|Seat||1997 election||Constituency result 2001 by party||2001 election|
|Belfast North||UUP||DUP gain|
|Carmarthen East and Dinefwr||Labour||4,912||13,540||2,815||16,130||656||Plaid Cymru gain|
|Castle Point||Labour||17,738||16,753||3,116||1273||Conservative gain|
|Cheadle||Conservative||18,444||6,086||18,477||599||Liberal Democrat gain|
|Chesterfield||Labour||3,613||18,663||21,249||437||Liberal Democrat gain|
|Dorset Mid and Poole North||Conservative||17,974||6,765||18,358||621||Liberal Democrat gain|
|Dorset South||Conservative||18,874||19,027||6,531||913||Labour gain|
|Fermanagh and South Tyrone||UUP||Sinn Féin gain|
|Galloway and Upper Nithsdale||SNP||12,222||7,258||3,698||12,148||588||Conservative gain|
|Guildford||Conservative||19,820||6,558||20,358||736||Liberal Democrat gain|
|Isle of Wight||Liberal Democrat||25,223||9,676||22,397||2,106||Conservative gain|
|Londonderry East||UUP||DUP gain|
|Ludlow||Conservative||16,990||5,785||18,620||871||Liberal Democrat gain|
|Norfolk North||Conservative||23,495||7,490||23,978||649||Liberal Democrat gain|
|Norfolk North West||Labour||24,846||21,361||4,292||704||Conservative gain|
|North Down||UK Unionist||UUP gain|
|Romsey||Conservative||20,386||3,986||22,756||Liberal Democrat gain|
|Taunton||Liberal Democrat||23,033||8,254||22,798||1,140||Conservative gain|
|Teignbridge||Conservative||23,332||7,366||26,343||Liberal Democrat gain|
|Tyrone West||UUP||Sinn Féin gain|
|Wyre Forest||Labour||9,350||10,857||28,487||Independent gain|
|Ynys Mon||Plaid Cymru||7,653||11,906||2,772||11,106||Labour gain|
|Party||Name||Constituency||Office held whilst in power||Year elected||Defeated by||Party|
|Labour Party||Alan Williams||Carmarthen East and Dinefwr||1987||Adam Price||Plaid Cymru|
|Christine Butler||Castle Point||1997||Dr. Bob Spink||Conservative Party|
|George Turner||Norfolk North West||1997||Henry Bellingham||Conservative Party|
|Eileen Gordon||Romford||1997||Andrew Rosindell||Conservative Party|
|Keith Darvill||Upminster||1997||Angela Watkinson||Conservative Party|
|David Lock||Wyre Forest||1997||Dr. Richard Taylor||Independent Kidderminster Hospital and Health Concern|
|Conservative Party||Stephen Day||Cheadle||1987||Patsy Calton||Liberal Democrats|
|Christopher Fraser||Mid Dorset and North Poole||1997||Annette Brooke||Liberal Democrats|
|Ian Bruce||Dorset South||1987||Jim Knight||Labour Party|
|Nick St Aubyn||Guildford||1997||Sue Doughty||Liberal Democrats|
|Norfolk North||1997||Norman Lamb||Liberal Democrats|
|Patrick Nicholls||Teignbridge||1983||Richard Younger-Ross||Liberal Democrats|
|Liberal Democrats||Dr. Peter Brand||Isle of Wight||1997||Andrew Turner||Conservative Party|
|Jackie Ballard||Taunton||1997||Adrian Flook||Conservative Party|
|Ulster Unionist Party||Willie Ross||East Londonderry||1974||Gregory Campbell||Democratic Unionist Party|
|Cecil Walker||North Belfast||1983||Nigel Dodds||Democratic Unionist Party|
|William Thompson||West Tyrone||1997||Pat Doherty||Sinn Féin|
|Democratic Unionist Party||William McCrea||Antrim South||2000||David Burnside||Ulster Unionist Party|
|UK Unionist Party||Robert McCartney||North Down||1995||Lady Hermon||Ulster Unionist Party|
|Independent||Martin Bell||Tatton contesting Brentwood and Ongar||1997||Eric Pickles||Conservative Party|
Kent County Council held its elections on 7 June 2001, on the same day as the 2001 United Kingdom general election. They were followed by the 2005 Kent County Council election.
Elections were held in all divisions across Kent, excepting Medway Towns which is a unitary authority.2001 Lancashire County Council election
Elections to Lancashire County Council were held in May 2001 on the same day as the 2001 United Kingdom general election. The Labour party held overal control of the council.2001 Suffolk County Council election
Elections for Suffolk County Council as part of the 2001 United Kingdom local elections were held on 7 June. The whole council was up for election and the council stayed under no overall control.
As with other county elections in England, these local elections in Suffolk took place on the same day as the 2001 United Kingdom general election.2001 United Kingdom foot-and-mouth outbreak
The outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in the United Kingdom in 2001 caused a crisis in British agriculture and tourism. This epizootic saw 2,026 cases of the disease in farms across most of the British countryside. Over 6 Britons were killed in an eventually successful attempt to halt the disease. Cumbria was the worst affected area of the country, with 893 cases.
With the intention of controlling the spread of the disease, public rights of way across land were closed by order. This damaged the popularity of the Lake District as a tourist destination and led to the cancellation of that year's Cheltenham Festival, as well as the British Rally Championship for the 2001 season, as well as delaying that year's general election by a month. By the time that the disease was halted in October 2001, the crisis was estimated to have cost the United Kingdom £8bn (US$16bn).2001 United Kingdom general election in England
The 2001 United Kingdom general election in England was held on 7 June 2001 for 529 English seats to the House of Commons. The Labour Party won a landslide majority of English seats for the second election in a row.2001 United Kingdom general election in Northern Ireland
These are the results of the 2001 United Kingdom general election in Northern Ireland. The election was held on 7 June 2001 and all 18 seats in Northern Ireland were contested. The election resulted in a reduction in the share of vote and the number of seats won by the Ulster Unionist Party, though the UUP did remain the largest political party in Northern Ireland, and even managed to regain the seats of South Antrim after it was lost in a by-election in 2000 to the Democratic Unionist Party and North Down from the UK Unionist Party. The Social Democratic and Labour Party also suffered from a reduction in their share of the vote – ending in fourth place from second place at the last general election – though the SDLP did not lose any seats. Both the DUP and Sinn Féin increased their share of the vote as well as their number of seats.2001 United Kingdom general election in Scotland
These are the results of the 2001 United Kingdom general election (Scotland). The election was held on Thursday, 7 June 2001 and all 72 seats in Scotland were contested. There was only one Scottish seat which changed parties during the election; that of Galloway and Upper Nithsdale which Peter Duncan of the Conservative Party gained from Alisdair Morgan of the SNP, by just 74 votes. Apart from the Conservatives increasing their representation to a single seat, the election was essentially a repeat of the previous result four years earlier; with Labour still the largest party in terms of seats won.2001 United Kingdom general election in Wales
These are the results of the 2001 United Kingdom general election in Wales. The election was held on 7 June 2001 and all 40 seats in Wales were contested. The overall result remained exactly the same as in the previous election in 1997, with only two changes - Labour gained Ynys Môn from Plaid Cymru and Plaid gained Carmarthen East and Dinefwr from Labour. The Conservatives once again won no seats; this was only the second election since 1918 to leave them with no representation in Wales.2001 Wiltshire County Council election
Elections to Wiltshire County Council were held on 7 June 2001. The whole council was up for election and the Conservatives held onto control.As with other county elections in England, these local elections in Wiltshire took place on the same day as the 2001 United Kingdom general election.Anthony Bottrall
Anthony Bottrall (15 May 1938 – 16 December 2014) was a British diplomat, expert in developmental agriculture and a Liberal Democrat, Lambeth London Borough Council, Stockwell ward politician.He stood against incumbent Labour MP Kate Hoey at the 2001 United Kingdom general election in the seat of Vauxhall, finishing second.
He was the son of the poet Ronald Bottrall.List of MPs elected in the 2001 United Kingdom general election
This is a list of Members of Parliament (MPs) elected to the House of Commons at the 2001 general election, held on 7 June.
The list is arranged by constituency. New MPs elected since the general election and changes in party allegiance are noted at the bottom of the page.
Notable newcomers to the House of Commons included David Cameron, David Miliband, Boris Johnson, John Thurso, George Osborne, Nigel Dodds, Chris Grayling, Andy Burnham, Adam Price, Alistair Carmichael, Angus Robertson, Chris Bryant, Norman Lamb, and Tom Watson.
During the 2001–05 Parliament, Michael Martin was the Speaker, Tony Blair served as Prime Minister, and William Hague, Iain Duncan Smith and Michael Howard served as Leader of the Opposition. This Parliament was dissolved on 11 April 2005.List of elections in 2001
The following elections occurred in the year 2001.
2001 Bangladeshi general election
2001 East Timorese parliamentary election
2001 Fijian general election
2001 Iranian presidential election
2001 Republic of China legislative election
2001 Samoan general election
2001 Singaporean general election
2001 Solomon Islands general election
2001 Sri Lankan parliamentary election
2001 Thai general electionLists of United Kingdom MPs
Following is a (currently incomplete) list of past Members of Parliament of the United Kingdom in alphabetical order.Nanette Milne
Nanette Lilian Margaret Milne (born 27 April 1942, in Aberdeen) is a Scottish Conservative Party politician who served as a Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) for North East Scotland between 2003 and 2016.Northern Ireland Women's Coalition
The Northern Ireland Women's Coalition (NIWC) was a minor cross-community political party in Northern Ireland from 1996–2006.The NIWC was founded by Catholic academic Monica McWilliams and Protestant social worker Pearl Sagar to contest elections to the Northern Ireland Forum, the body for all-party talks which led to the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement. The party campaigned principally around the fact that it was led by women, declining to take a position on whether Northern Ireland should be part of the United Kingdom or a United Ireland.Opinion polling for the 2001 United Kingdom general election
In the run up to the general election of 2001, several polling organisations carried out opinion polling in regards to voting intention in Great Britain (i.e. the UK excluding Northern Ireland, which is usually excluded from such voting intention surveys). Results of such polls are displayed below.
The election took place on 7 June 2001. The previous general election was held on 1 May 1997, and had seen Labour return to power with a landslide victory after 18 years, led by Tony Blair. Such was the scale of Labour's victory that it was widely accepted - even within the Conservative Party - that the next election would produce another Labour victory, with the best realistic target for other parties being to reduce the Labour majority.
The parliamentary term of 1997-2001 had seen the opinion polls led by the Labour Party, mostly with a lead in excess of 10 points, over the Conservatives (who had replaced John Major with William Hague as their new leader), apart from a brief spell in the autumn of 2000 when fuel protests threatened to bring Britain to a standstill. However, the blockades which had caused the protests were quickly resolved and Labour support recovered to the extent that Blair felt able to call an election for 3 May 2001, although the recent foot and mouth crisis meant that the election was delayed for five weeks until 7 June.
Another rare success for the Conservatives during this parliamentary term came in June 1999, when it enjoyed the largest share of the votes in the European parliament elections, with William Hague vowing to keep the pound at Britain's currency, whereas Tony Blair was refusing to rule out eventually adopting the Euro.
In the event, the election produced a low turnout (with many voters perhaps feeling that another Labour victory was inevitable) and Labour won a second successive landslide, with the British political scene remaining almost completely unchanged with only a few seats changing hands.Regan Tamanui
Regan Tamanui is a self-taught artist based in Melbourne, Australia. In October 2000, he founded the Melbourne Stuckists, the fourth Stuckist group to be started and the first outside of the United Kingdom. The Stuckists are pro-painting and anti-conceptual art.Rosemary Byrne
Rosemary Byrne (born 3 March 1948, Irvine, North Ayrshire) is a Scottish politician and co-convenor of Solidarity, along with Pat Lee.
She is a former Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) for the South of Scotland region 2003–2007. She was elected as a Scottish Socialist Party MSP but in September 2006, together with Tommy Sheridan, she left that party to form Solidarity.
Byrne lives in Irvine, and was a teacher and a trade union activist for several years. At one time she was president of Irvine Trades Council.Sandip Verma, Baroness Verma
Sandip K. Verma, Baroness Verma (born 30 June 1959) known until 1977 as Sandip K. Rana, is an Indian-English politician in the United Kingdom. An appointed member of the House of Lords, she is Ministerial Champion for Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls Overseas, a role who chairs the UN Women's national committee. Verma has been the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development, from 2015 to 2016.
|Shadow Cabinet elections|