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Study Notes

General Election 1983 - Introduction

AS, A-Level
AQA, Edexcel

Last updated 23 Nov 2017

The General Election of 1983 is famous today because of it being an electoral low-point for the Labour Party and the event that sowed the seeds of the New Labour reforms over a decade later. It was also the election that secured the position of Margaret Thatcher, giving her a much larger majority than she had enjoyed for her first term from 1979.

The 1983 election was in a very different political era with some unfamiliar personnel, so some historical notes will be required here and there. The key figures are the party leaders: Margaret Thatcher (Conservative) and Michael Foot (Labour) as well as the so-called Gang of Four who had established a new party, the SDP, which also had a major impact on the election and its results.

The General Election 1983 - Results

As can be seen from the results, this was a landslide victory for the Conservative Party which gained a large majority, at the expense of the Labour Party. 

Another important factor was the role of a new party, the SDP although, as can be seen, their impressive vote share did not translate into many seats in parliament. (Link to electoral systems: think about how can Labour get nearly 200 more seats than the SDP with only 2% more of the vote?)

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