British Election

June 22, 1945

Report Outline
Revival of Party Politics in Great Britain
Leading Personalities in British Politics
British Election Issues and Party Programs

Revival of Party Politics in Great Britain

Termination of the Wartime Truce on Elections

British voters will go to the polls on Thursday, July 5, to elect a new House of Commons. The coming general election will be the first since Nov. 14, 1935. No one in Great Britain under 30 years of age has voted in a general election. The group of new voters is estimated to number around 10 or 11 million, comprising approximately one-third of a total electorate of about 31.5 million. Persons coming of age since 1935 have had an opportunity to vote for parliamentary candidates, if at all, only in by-elections, most of which since the outbreak of war in 1939 have been uncontested.

During the period in which Britain has had no general election, the United States has had three presidential elections and two additional mid-term congressional elections. The Parliament just dissolved would normally have expired in 1940. However, in accordance with the practice followed in the last war, its life was extended from year to year under a political truce entered into for the purpose of enabling Britain to concentrate on the war effort free from the distractions of party politics. While the war caused no interruption in customary election procedures in the United States, the national administration here remained unchanged until the death of President Roosevelt. In Great Britain, on the contrary, during the life of the late Parliament there were three different prime ministers—Baldwin, Chamberlain, and Churchill. Britons have marveled at the holding of elections in this country in wartime. Yet the British government reorganization which raised Churchill to the premiership, though not involving a political campaign, was carried out at one of the most critical periods of the war.

American Interest in Britain's Political Contest

American interest in the British election is almost as keen as was British interest in the last two presidential elections in the United States. Britons desired the re-election of President Roosevelt as a proved friend of Britain in 1940 and as a known and trusted war leader in 1944. Most Americans, admiring Churchill's war leadership, hope he will be continued at the helm until Japan is defeated. Britain's press and public men were careful last year to avoid laying themselves open to the charge of interfering in American politics; they scrupulously refrained from public expression of their preferences in the presidential contest. The Prime Minister himself came nearest to committing an indiscretion when he said, at the conclusion of the conference at Quebec in September, 1944, that the meeting had ended in “a blaze of friendship” and that he hoped to meet President Roosevelt there again “next year.” The British are less sensitive about American interest in their politics. The London Economist observed on June 1 that there was “some real value in it, for such intense though vicarious interest in other people's affairs is hardly the sign of isolationism.”

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
United Kingdom
Nov. 05, 2010  U.S.-British Relations
Jan. 30, 1998  U.S.-British Relations
Mar. 08, 1996  The British Monarchy
Sep. 15, 1995  Northern Ireland Cease-Fire
Nov. 17, 1978  New Prospects for Britain
Apr. 08, 1977  Britain: Debtor Nation
Sep. 26, 1975  Britain in Crisis
Jun. 10, 1970  British Election, 1970
Oct. 30, 1968  British Economy Since Devaluation
Sep. 27, 1967  Britain in the 1960s: Descent from Power
Sep. 10, 1964  British Election, 1964
Jun. 24, 1964  British Commonwealth in the Postwar World
Aug. 09, 1961  Socialized Medicine in Great Britain
Jul. 19, 1961  Britain, the United States and the Common Market
Sep. 16, 1959  British General Election
Mar. 13, 1957  American-British Relations
May 10, 1954  Political Trends in Britain
Sep. 13, 1951  British Social Services
May 24, 1950  Sterling Balances
Feb. 08, 1950  British Election, 1950
Jan. 12, 1949  British National Health Service
Mar. 28, 1946  Sterling Area and the British Loan
Jul. 14, 1945  British Export Trade
Jun. 22, 1945  British Election
Jan. 01, 1943  Food Rationing in Great Britain
Apr. 19, 1941  Convoys for Britain
Jan. 02, 1941  Financing Britain's War Requirements
Aug. 26, 1938  Anglo-American Relations
Apr. 28, 1938  Economic Recovery in Great Britain
May 12, 1937  Britain's Intra-Imperial Relations
Sep. 09, 1931  Unemployment Insurance in Great Britain
Aug. 09, 1930  The Protectionist Movement in Great Britain
Sep. 10, 1929  The British Task in Palestine
May 06, 1929  The British General Election of 1929
Jun. 12, 1926  The British Trade and Financial Situation
May 07, 1926  Background of the British Labor Crisis
Oct. 17, 1924  British Electoral System and Political Issues
Feb. 29, 1924  British and French Finances
Jan. 14, 1924  The British Labour Party
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