The Course of Government 1974–8

  • David Butler
  • Dennis Kavanagh


The October 1974 election, unlike its predecessor, produced a clear result — though not a very decisive one. The Labour government secured a majority but only just. Against all expectation, the Conservatives held on in many marginal constituencies and Mr Wilson came back to Westminster with only 319 seats, three more than all other parties combined. Only once before, in 1922, had a party won a clear majority with under 40% of the votes cast.1


Prime Minister Union Leader Labour Government Labour Party European Monetary System 
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  1. 2.
    For a full discussion see D. Butler and U. Kitzinger, The 1975 Referendum, (London, and A. King, Britain Says Yes, (Washington, 1977).Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    For a fuller discussion of this see Michael Hatfield, The House the Left Built, (London, 1978).Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    See M. Steed, ‘The National Front Vote’, Parliamentary Affairs, (Summer 1978).Google Scholar
  4. 7.
    S. Fay and H. Young, The Day the Pound Nearly Died, (London, 1978).Google Scholar
  5. 9.
    For a full account of the negotiations see Simon Hoggart and Alistair Michie The Pact, (London, 1978)Google Scholar
  6. David Steel’s own account A House Divided, (London, 1979).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© David Butler and Dennis Kavanagh 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Butler
    • 1
  • Dennis Kavanagh
    • 2
  1. 1.Nuffield CollegeOxfordUK
  2. 2.University of ManchesterUK

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