United Kingdom general election, 2001

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BBC Vote 2001 Election results map

Tony Blair

Tony Blair

The UK general election, 2001 was held on 7 June 2001. It was dubbed "the quiet landslide" by the media, as Labour maintained its position from its landslide victory in the previous election. There was little change at all - outside Northern Ireland - with 620 out of 641 seats remaining unchanged. Labour won a majority of 167 overall (previously 179) and 247 over the Conservatives (previously 254). Tony Blair went on to become the first Labour prime minister to serve a full second consecutive term in office.

The Conservatives netted a gain of only one seat after their crushing defeat of 1997 (gaining a few seats from Labour, but losing several to the Liberal Democrats). Conservative leader William Hague resigned immediately, becoming the first Conservative leader since Austen Chamberlain to leave office without becoming Prime Minister. The Liberal Democrats, under Charles Kennedy, made a gain of six more seats from their already historic high of the 1997 election.

The election was broadcast live on the BBC, and presented by Jeremy Paxman, Andrew Marr, Peter Snow and David Dimbleby[1].



The elections were also marked by voter apathy, with turnout falling to 59%, 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 the opposition 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.

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