Tony Blairs Labour win 3rd General Election
The 5th of May 2005 AD
In spite of huge resentment over the war in Iraq, and in spite of increasing hostility personally to Tony Blair himself in several quarters, his party managed to win a historic third successive general election victory in May 2005. The Labour Party was surely helped by their Conservative rivals having changed party leader three times since the 1997 election, the latest in the line, Michael Howard , doing a good job in organisational terms but looking like a candidate from the past rather than for the future.
Labour’s majority was cut radically, with 47 seats lost (compared with 33 seats gained by the Tories). The biggest winners were the Liberal Democrats, who surged to a net gain of 11. The three major parties ended with 356 seats (Labour); 198 seats (Tories) and 62 seats (Lib Dems).
Although Iraq did not cost Blair the election, it was a significant factor in the voting: seats with large Muslim populations veered away from their traditional support of the Labour Party, the Liberal Democrats winning many of those disaffected votes. And incredibly George Galloway scored a major personal victory standing largely on the Iraq question, in Bethnal Green . Though it was little noticed in all the analysis focussing on the politicians, it is clear that the electorate responded to an election of issues by turning out in greater numbers than in 2001 – the turnout was 61.3% compared with the previous 59.4%.
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