The British General Election of 1929

May 6, 1929

Report Outline
The Fifth Winston Churchill Budget
The Unemployment Issue
Questions of Foreign Policy
Special Focus

In the British general election of May 30, 1929, some twenty million voters will go to the polls in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to choose the 615 members who will constitute the next House of Commons. The present Parliament will come to a close on May 10, having served all but six months of the maximum five-year term, and the new Parliament will assemble in June. The leader of the party that is able, of itself or in combination with another, to command a majority in the new House of Commons, will become-or will remain-the Prime Minister, and his party will assume-or will retain-control of the administrative branch of the British government.

The election will be contested by three major parties, each with 500 or more candidates in the field.1 They are the Conservative party, led by Stanley Baldwin, the present Prime Minister; the Labour party, the official Opposition, led by James Ramsay MacDonald, former Prime Minister; and the Liberal party, led by former Prime Minister David Lloyd George. In addition there are several minor parties in the field, no one of which can expect to elect more than a very few members to the House.

The changes in the political complexion of the House of Commons as a result of the last three general elections are shown in the following table. The first column shows party strength in the House as it stood in October, 1922, shortly before the retirement of the Coalition government that had served since 1918.

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