2010 United Kingdom general election
The 2010 United Kingdom general election was held on Thursday, 6 May 2010, with 45,597,461 registered voters entitled to vote to elect members to the House of Commons. The election took place in 650 constituencies across the United Kingdom under the first-past-the-post system. None of the parties achieved the 326 seats needed for an overall majority. The Conservative Party, led by David Cameron, won the largest number of votes and seats, but still fell 20 seats short. This resulted in a hung parliament where no party was able to command a majority in the House of Commons. This was only the second general election since the Second World War to return a hung parliament, the first being the February 1974 election. Unlike in 1974, the potential for a hung parliament had this time been widely considered and predicted, and both the country and politicians were better prepared for the constitutional process that would follow such a result. The coalition government that was subsequently formed was the first coalition in British history to eventuate directly from an election outcome. The hung parliament came about in spite of the Conservatives managing both a higher vote total and higher share of the vote than the previous Labour government had done in 2005, when it secured a comfortable majority.
All 650 seats in the House of Commons
326 seats needed for a majority
Colours denote the winning party, as shown in the main table of results
Coalition talks began immediately between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats, and lasted for five days. There was an aborted attempt to put together a Labour/Liberal Democrat coalition (although other smaller parties would have been required to make up the ten seats they lacked for a majority). To facilitate this, Gordon Brown announced on the evening of Monday 10 May that he would resign as Leader of the Labour Party. Realising that a deal between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats was imminent, the next day on Tuesday 11 May Brown announced his resignation as Prime Minister, marking the end of 13 years of Labour government. This was accepted by Queen Elizabeth II, who then invited David Cameron to form a government in her name and become Prime Minister. Just after midnight on 12 May, the Liberal Democrats emerged from a meeting of their Parliamentary party and Federal Executive to announce that the coalition deal had been "approved overwhelmingly", sealing a coalition government of Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.
None of the three main party leaders had previously led a general election campaign, a situation which had not occurred since the 1979 election. During the campaign, the three main party leaders engaged in a series of televised debates, the first such debates in a UK general election campaign. The Liberal Democrats achieved a breakthrough in opinion polls after the first debate, in which their leader Nick Clegg was widely seen as the strongest performer. Nonetheless, on polling day their share of the vote increased by only 1% over the previous general election, and they suffered a net loss of five seats. This was still the Liberal Democrats' largest popular vote since the party's creation in 1988, and they found themselves in a pivotal role in the formation of the new government. The share of votes for parties other than Labour or the Conservatives was 35%, the largest since the 1918 general election. In terms of votes it was the most "three-cornered" election since 1923, and in terms of seats since 1929. The Green Party of England and Wales won its first ever seat in the House of Commons, and the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland also gained its first elected member. The general election saw a 5.1% national swing from Labour to the Conservatives, the third-largest since 1945. The result in one constituency, Oldham East and Saddleworth, was subsequently declared void on petition because of illegal practices during the campaign, the first such instance since 1910.
The prime minister, Gordon Brown, went to Buckingham Palace on 6 April and asked the Queen to dissolve Parliament on 12 April, confirming in a live press conference in Downing Street, as had long been speculated, that the election would be held on 6 May, five years since the previous election on 5 May 2005. The election took place on 6 May in 649 constituencies across the United Kingdom, under the first-past-the-post system, for seats in the House of Commons. Voting in the Thirsk and Malton constituency was postponed for three weeks because of the death of a candidate.
The governing Labour Party had campaigned to secure a fourth consecutive term in office and to restore support lost since 2001. The Conservative Party sought to gain a dominant position in British politics after losses in the 1990s, and to replace Labour as the governing party. The Liberal Democrats hoped to make gains from both sides and hoped to hold the balance of power in a hung parliament. Since the televised debates between the three leaders, their poll ratings had risen to the point where many considered the possibility of a Liberal Democrat role in Government. Polls just before election day saw a slight swing from the Liberal Democrats back to Labour and Conservatives, with the majority of final polls falling within one point of Conservatives 36%, Labour 29%, Liberal Democrats 23%. However, record numbers of undecided voters raised uncertainty about the outcome. The Scottish National Party, encouraged by their victory in the 2007 Scottish parliament elections, set itself a target of 20 MPs and was hoping to find itself holding a balance of power. Equally, Plaid Cymru sought gains in Wales. Smaller parties which had had successes at local elections and the 2009 European elections (UK Independence Party, Green Party, British National Party) looked to extend their representation to seats in the House of Commons. The Democratic Unionist Party looked to maintain, if not extend, its number of seats, having been the fourth largest party in the House of Commons.
The key dates were:
|Monday 12 April||Dissolution of Parliament (the 54th) and campaigning officially began|
|Tuesday 20 April||Last day to file nomination papers, to register to vote, and to request a postal vote|
|Thursday 6 May||Polling day|
|Tuesday 11 May||David Cameron became Prime Minister through a coalition with the Liberal Democrats.|
|Tuesday 18 May||New Parliament (the 55th) assembled|
|Tuesday 25 May||State Opening of Parliament|
|Thursday 27 May||Voting took place in the delayed poll in the constituency of Thirsk and Malton|
|Friday 5 November||Oldham East and Saddleworth election result voided on petition at an election court, causing a by-election|
MPs declining re-election
This election had an unusually high number of MPs choosing not to seek re-election with more standing down than did so at the 1945 general election (which on account of the extraordinary wartime circumstances came ten years after the preceding election). This has been attributed to the 2009 expenses scandal and the fact there was talk that redundancy-style payments for departing MPs might be scrapped after the election.
In all, 149 MPs (100 Labour, 35 Conservatives, 7 Liberal Democrats, 2 Independents, 1 Independent Conservative and 1 member each from the SNP, Plaid Cymru, the DUP, and the SDLP) decided not to contest the election. Additionally, three seats were vacant at the time of the dissolution of Parliament; two due to the deaths of Labour MPs and one due to the resignation in January 2010 of a DUP member.
Each of the four national boundary commissions is required by the Parliamentary Constituencies Act 1986 (as amended by the Boundary Commissions Act 1992) to conduct a general review of all the constituencies in its part of the United Kingdom every eight to twelve years to ensure the size and composition of constituencies are as fair as possible. Based on the Rallings and Thrasher studies using ward by ward data from local elections and the 2005 general election, the new boundaries used in 2010 would have returned nine fewer Labour MPs had they been in place at the previous election; given that there are to be four more seats in the next parliament this nationally reduces Labour's majority from 66 to 48.
Northern Ireland continued to elect 18 MPs, but minor changes were made to the eastern constituencies in accordance with the Northern Ireland Boundary Commission's recommendations. For the first time, these changes include the splitting of an electoral ward between two constituencies.
Following the recommendations of the Boundary Commission for Wales, the total number of seats remained at 40, although new seats caused by radical redrawing of boundaries in Clwyd and Gwynedd were fought for the first time: Arfon and Dwyfor Meirionnydd replaced Caernarfon and Meirionnydd Nant Conwy, respectively; Aberconwy replaced Conwy. At the time of the election Welsh constituencies had electorates on average around 14,000 smaller than their counterparts in England.
Scotland saw its most recent large-scale review completed in 2004, so its 59 constituencies remained the same as at the 2005 general election.
|Count||Gain||Loss||Net||Of total (%)||Of total (%)||Count||±|
All three main parties went into the general election having changed leaders since 2005. David Cameron became Conservative leader in December 2005, replacing Michael Howard. Gordon Brown succeeded Tony Blair as leader of the Labour Party and Prime Minister in June 2007. Nick Clegg was elected as leader of the Liberal Democrats in December 2007, succeeding Menzies Campbell who had replaced Charles Kennedy in January 2006. The last time all three main parties went into a general election with new leaders was in the 1979 election, when James Callaghan as Labour leader, Margaret Thatcher for the Conservatives, and David Steel with the then-Liberal Party took to the polls.
The prospect of a coalition or minority government was being considered well before polling day. Gordon Brown made comments about the possibility of a coalition in January 2010. In 2009, it was reported that senior civil servants were to meet with the Liberal Democrats to discuss their policies, an indication of how seriously the prospect of a hung parliament was being taken. Nick Clegg and Menzies Campbell had continued the position of Charles Kennedy of not being prepared to form a coalition with either main party and of voting against any Queen's Speech unless there was an unambiguous commitment in it to introduce proportional representation.
Other parties with representation at Westminster after the previous general election included the Scottish National Party, with six parliamentary seats, Plaid Cymru from Wales with three seats, and Respect – The Unity Coalition and Health Concern, each of which held one parliamentary seat in England. Since that election, the SNP won the 2007 Scottish Parliament elections and currently control the Scottish Government, and also won the largest share of the 2009 European Parliament election vote in Scotland. In Wales, the Labour Party remained the largest party in the Welsh Assembly, although Plaid Cymru increased their share of the vote and formed a coalition government with Labour.
In 2009 the Ulster Unionist Party and the Conservative Party announced they had formed an electoral alliance whereby the two parties would field joint candidates for future elections under the banner of "Ulster Conservatives and Unionists – New Force". However, this caused the sole UUP MP Lady Sylvia Hermon to resign from the party on 25 March 2010, leaving them with no representation at Westminster for the first time in their history.
Many constituencies were contested by other, smaller parties. Parties that won no representatives at Westminster in 2005 but have seats in the devolved assemblies or European Parliament included the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland, the Progressive Unionist Party of Northern Ireland, the British National Party, the UK Independence Party (UKIP), and the Green parties in the UK: the Green Party of England and Wales, the Scottish Green Party, and the Green Party in Northern Ireland. In 2009, Nigel Farage announced his intention to resign as UKIP leader to focus on becoming an MP. Farage was replaced in an election by party members by Lord Pearson of Rannoch, whose stated intention was for the electoral support of UKIP to force a hung parliament. The Green Party of England and Wales voted to have a position of leader for the first time; the first leadership election was won by Caroline Lucas, who successfully contested the constituency of Brighton Pavilion.
In addition, a new loose coalition, Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC), contested a general election for the first time. TUSC was a grouping of left wing parties that participated in the 2009 European Parliament elections under the name of No2EU; members included the Socialist Workers Party, the Socialist Party, the Socialist Alliance, Socialist Resistance, and is supported by some members of UNISON, the National Union of Teachers, the University and College Union, the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers, and the Public and Commercial Services Union. Several members of these unions ran as candidates under the TUSC banner. However, some former members of NO2EU, such as the Liberal Party and the Communist Party of Britain, chose not to participate in the TUSC campaign. The coalition did not run candidates against left wing Labour or Respect candidates.
The prospective Labour candidate for Moray, Stuart Maclennan, was sacked after making offensive comments on his Twitter page, referring to elderly voters as "coffin dodgers" and voters in the North of Scotland as "teuchters", and insulting politicians such as Cameron, Clegg, John Bercow and Diane Abbott.
The UKIP candidate for Thirsk and Malton—John Boakes—died, causing the election in the constituency to be postponed until 27 May.
Philip Lardner, the Conservative candidate for North Ayrshire and Arran, was suspended from the party for comments he made about homosexuality on his website, describing it as not "normal behaviour". Andrew Fulton, the chairman of the Scottish Conservative Party, called the comments "deeply offensive and unacceptable", adding: "These views have no place in the modern Conservative party." However, he still appeared as a Conservative candidate because it was too late to remove his name from the ballot paper.
A total of 2,378 postal voters in Bristol West were wrongly sent ballot papers for Bristol East by mistake. Bristol City Council officials asked people to tear up the wrong papers and said: "Every effort will be made to ensure delivery [of new ballot papers] by 30 April."
The SNP attempted but failed to ban the broadcast of the final party leaders' debate in Scotland, in a court action. They had argued that "the corporation [the BBC] had breached its rules on impartiality by excluding the SNP". The judge, Lady Smith, ruled that "the SNP's case 'lacks the requisite precision and clarity'" and added she could not "conclude the BBC had breached impartiality rules". Additionally, broadcasting regulator Ofcom ruled that it had not "upheld complaints received from the SNP and Plaid Cymru about The First Election Debate broadcast on ITV1 on Thursday 15 April 2010".
The leader of the UK Independence Party, Lord Pearson, wrote an open letter to Somerset newspapers, asking voters to support Conservative candidates, rather than UKIP candidates in the Somerton and Frome, Taunton Deane and Wells constituencies. This action was criticised by UKIP candidates who refused to stand down.
The Labour candidate for Bristol East and former MP Kerry McCarthy revealed information about postal votes cast in the constituency on Twitter. Avon and Somerset police said they were "looking into a possible alleged breach of electoral law". Bristol City Council stated: "This is a criminal matter and [it] will be for the police to decide what action to take."
The former Prime Minister Tony Blair returned to the campaign trail for Labour, visiting a polyclinic in Harrow West, after a troubled Labour campaign.
Postal voters in the marginal Vale of Glamorgan constituency had to be issued with new ballot papers after mistakenly being told they did not have to sign applications for postal votes.
Gordon Brown, while in his Prime Ministerial Car on 28 April, privately described a 65-year-old woman and lifelong Labour voter, Gillian Duffy, from Rochdale, Greater Manchester, a Labour-Liberal Democrat marginal seat, as a "bigoted woman". She had asked him about vulnerable people supposedly not receiving benefits because immigrants were receiving them, adding: "You can't say anything about the immigrants because you're saying that you're ... but all these eastern Europeans what are coming in, where are they flocking from?" He replied: "A million people have come from Europe but a million British people have gone into Europe." Brown's conversation with his communications director Justin Forsyth (JF) went:
- "GB: That was a disaster. Sue [Susan Nye, Brown's gatekeeper] should never have put me with that woman. Whose idea was that?
- JF: I don't know, I didn't see her.
- GB: Sue's I think. Just ridiculous ...
- JF: What did she say?
- GB: Everything, she was just a sort of bigoted woman who said she used to be Labour. I mean, it's just ridiculous. Sue pushed her up towards me."
Brown's remarks were recorded by a Sky News microphone he was still wearing, and widely broadcast. It was later said that Brown had misheard Duffy and thought she had asked, "where are they fucking from?" Soon after the incident, Brown talked to Jeremy Vine live on BBC Radio 2 where he publicly apologised to Mrs Duffy. American comedian Jon Stewart commented that the clip showed the moment when Brown's "political career leaves his body". Subsequently, Brown visited her house for 43 minutes in order to apologise in person. Upon emerging, he described himself as a "penitent sinner", while Duffy refused to speak to the press and would not shake hands with him in front of the cameras. She said the incident had left her feeling more sad than angry and that she would not be voting for Labour or any other party. The incident was subsequently dubbed "Bigotgate".
The Metropolitan Police launched an investigation in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. The Times reported on 2 May that the investigation had revealed some names on the register were fictitious, with a late surge in applications to be added to the electoral register (before 20 April deadline) leading to 5,000 additions without time for full checks. In terms of the outcome of the borough's two seats, the narrower majority in any event exceeded 5,000 votes in Poplar and Limehouse, at 6,030 votes.
The Labour candidate for North West Norfolk, Manish Sood, described Gordon Brown as Britain's worst ever Prime Minister. The comments, which he repeated to a variety of news outlets, took attention away from the previous day's speech by Brown to Citizens UK, widely described as his best in the campaign.
A Conservative Party activist in Peterborough was arrested after alleged postal voting fraud, calling into question 150 postal votes.
Simon Bennett resigned as the head of the British National Party's online operation then redirected its website to his own on which he attacked the party's leadership.
On the morning of polling day, 6 May, the former and later leader of UKIP, Nigel Farage, standing in Buckingham against the Speaker, was injured when a light banner-towing aircraft in which he was a passenger crashed near Brackley, Northamptonshire.
Groups of voters waiting in queues at 10 pm were locked out of polling stations in Sheffield Hallam, Manchester and Leeds; and police said one London polling station was open until 10.30 pm, which triggered a national review of polling station requirements led by the Electoral Commission.
Following a campaign by Sky News and with agreement of the party leaders. it was announced on 21 December 2009 that there would be three leaders' debates, each broadcast on prime time television, and a subsequent announcement in March 2010 that a debate between the financial spokesmen of the three main parties, Alistair Darling, George Osborne and Vince Cable would be held on 29 March.
|15 April||ITV||Manchester||Alastair Stewart||Domestic policy|
In instant polling after the event Nick Clegg was judged the clear winner. This first debate caused a large, immediate, and unexpected impact on opinion polls in favour of the Liberal Democrats.
|22 April||Sky News||Bristol||Adam Boulton||International affairs|
Nick Clegg and David Cameron came out best in the instant polls with Gordon Brown very closely behind. Nick Clegg, having received such a surge after the first debate, was judged to have fended off Labour and Conservative Party attacks. Gordon Brown was judged to have drastically improved his performance, and David Cameron was judged to have overcome the nerves that commentators believed affected him in the First Debate. In the build-up, the Liberal Democrats were affected by claims Clegg had received secret donations from businessmen, although he subsequently released his financial statements to show that no improper conduct had occurred.
|29 April||BBC||Birmingham||David Dimbleby||Economy and taxes|
In the third and final poll, David Cameron was widely regarded as the party leader who made the best impression to the audience at home. At the end of the debating night, the Conservatives had gained a 5% lead over Labour.
The SNP insisted that as the leading political party in Scotland in the latest opinion poll, it should be included in any debate broadcast in Scotland. On 22 December 2009, the UKIP leader, Lord Pearson stated that his party should also be included. Following a decision by the BBC Trust not to uphold a complaint from the SNP and Plaid Cymru over their exclusion from the planned BBC debate, the SNP announced on 25 April that they would proceed with legal action over the debate scheduled for 29 April. The party said it was not trying to stop the broadcast but it wanted an SNP politician included for balance. The SNP lost the case, in a judgement delivered on 28 April.
Since each MP is elected separately by the first past the post voting system, it is impossible to precisely project a clear election outcome from overall UK shares of the vote. Not only can individual constituencies vary markedly from overall voting trends, but individual countries and regions within the UK may have a very different electoral contest that is not properly reflected in overall share of the vote figures.
Immediately following the previous general election, Labour held a double-digit lead in opinion polls. However, over the course of 2005, this lead was eroded somewhat. By December 2005, the Conservative party showed its first small leads in opinion polls following the controversial 90 days' detention proposals and the election of David Cameron to the leadership of the Conservative party.
In early 2006, opinion polls were increasingly mixed with small leads given alternately to Labour and Conservative. From the May 2006 local elections, in which Labour suffered significant losses, the Conservatives took a small single-digit lead in opinion polls. Labour regained the lead in June 2007 following the resignation of Tony Blair and the appointment of Gordon Brown as prime minister. From November 2007, the Conservatives again took the lead and, from then, extended their lead into double digits, particularly in response to the MPs' expenses scandal, although there was some evidence that the lead narrowed slightly towards the end of 2009. By the end of February 2010, Ipsos MORI, ICM, YouGov and ComRes polls had all found a sufficient narrowing of the Conservative lead for media speculation about a hung parliament to return.
From 15 April 2010, following the first televised debate of the party leaders, polling data changed dramatically, with the Lib Dem vote proportion rising to 28–33%, and the Conservative vote proportion falling. In some polls, the Liberal Democrats took the lead from the Conservatives. Under UNS projections, this made a hung parliament highly probable, if Lib Dem performance had persisted.
The following graph shows ComRes poll results recorded over the period 11 April – 6 May 2010, including annotations of the three TV debates:
After the second debate on 22 April the polls, on average, placed the Conservatives in the lead on 33%, the Liberal Democrats in second on 30% and Labour in third on 28%. If these polls had reflected the election day results on a uniform swing nationwide, Labour would have had the most seats in a hung Parliament.
At 22:00 on election day, coinciding with the closure of the polls, the results of an exit poll completed by GfK NOP and Ipsos MORI on behalf of the BBC, Sky and ITV news services was announced. Data were gathered from individuals at 130 polling stations around the country.
|Conservatives 19 Short of Majority|
The results of the poll initially suggested a hung parliament with the Conservative Party 19 seats from a controlling majority; this was later adjusted to 21 seats. The distribution of seats amongst the Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats and other parties was initially suggested to be 307, 255, 59 and 29, respectively, although the seat numbers were later changed to 303, 251, 69, and 27, respectively.
Initial reaction to the exit poll by various commentators was of surprise at the apparent poor prospects for the Liberal Democrats because it was at odds with many opinion polls undertaken in the previous weeks. The actual results showed that the exit poll was a good predictor.
National newspapers in England traditionally endorse political parties before a general election. The following table shows which parties the major papers endorsed.
|The Times||Conservative||Sunday Times||Conservative||The Economist||Conservative|
|The Guardian||Liberal Democrats||The Observer||Liberal Democrats|
|The Daily Telegraph||Conservative||The Sunday Telegraph||Conservative|
|The Independent||Undeclared||The Independent on Sunday||Undeclared|
|Daily Mail||Conservative||The Mail on Sunday||Conservative|
|Daily Express||Conservative||Sunday Express||Conservative|
|Daily Mirror||Labour||Sunday Mirror||Labour|
|The People||Any coalition|
|The Sun||Conservative||News of the World||Conservative|
|The Daily Star||Undeclared||Daily Star Sunday||Undeclared|
The Independent and The Guardian advocated tactical voting to maximise the chance of a Liberal Democrat/Labour coalition to make electoral reform including of the House of Lords and introduction of domestic proportional representation more likely.
|Of total||Of total|
|Conservative Party||David Cameron||306||47.1%||
306 / 650
|Labour Party||Gordon Brown||258||39.7%||
258 / 650
|Liberal Democrats||Nick Clegg||57||8.8%||
57 / 650
|Democratic Unionist Party||Peter Robinson||8||1.2%||
8 / 650
|Scottish National Party||Alex Salmond||6||0.9%||
6 / 650
|Sinn Féin||Gerry Adams||5||0.8%||
5 / 650
|Plaid Cymru||Ieuan Wyn Jones||3||0.5%||
3 / 650
|Social Democratic & Labour Party||Margaret Ritchie||3||0.5%||
3 / 650
|Green Party||Caroline Lucas||1||0.2%||
1 / 650
1 / 650
1 / 650
1 / 650
Turnout nationally was 65%, a rise from the 61% turnout in the 2005 general election.
|Nominated||Elected||Of total (%)||Gained||Lost||Net||Count||Proportion
of total (%)
|Change in |
|Liberal Democrats||Nick Clegg||631||57||8.8||8||13||−5||6,836,824||23.0||+1.0|
|Sinn Féin||Gerry Adams||17||5||0.8||0||0||0||171,942||0.6||−0.1|
|Plaid Cymru||Ieuan Wyn Jones||40||3||0.5||1||0||+1||165,394||0.6||−0.1|
|English Democrat||Robin Tilbrook||107||0||0||0||0||0||64,826||0.2||0.2|
|Independent – Rodney Connor||N/A||1||0||0||0||0||0||21,300||0.1||N/A|
|Independent – Sylvia Hermon||N/A||1||1||0.2||1||0||+1||21,181||0.1||N/A|
|Scottish Green||Eleanor Scott and Patrick Harvie||20||0||0||0||0||0||16,827||0.1||0.0|
|Health Concern||Richard Taylor||1||0||0||0||1||−1||16,150||0.1||0.0|
|Independent – Bob Spink||N/A||1||0||0||0||0||0||12,174||0.0||N/A|
|National Front||Ian Edward||17||0||0||0||0||0||10,784||0.0||0.0|
|Buckinghamshire Campaign for Democracy||John Stevens||1||0||0||0||0||0||10,331||0.0||N/A|
|Monster Raving Loony||Howling Laud Hope||27||0||0||0||0||0||7,510||0.0||0.0|
|Socialist Labour||Arthur Scargill||23||0||0||0||0||0||7,196||0.0||−0.1|
|Blaenau Gwent PV||Dai Davies||1||0||0||0||1||−1||6,458||0.0||−0.1|
|Christian Peoples Alliance||Alan Craig||17||0||0||0||0||0||6,276||0.0||0.0|
|Mebyon Kernow||Dick Cole||6||0||0||0||0||0||5,379||0.0||0.0|
|Lincolnshire Independent||Marianne Overton||3||0||0||0||0||0||5,311||0.0||N/A|
|Mansfield Independent Forum||1||0||0||0||0||0||4,339||0.0||N/A|
|Green (NI)||Mark Bailey and Karly Greene||4||0||0||0||0||0||3,542||0.0||0.0|
|Socialist Alternative||Peter Taaffe||4||0||0||0||0||0||3,298||0.0||0.0|
|Scottish Socialist||Colin Fox and Frances Curran||10||0||0||0||0||0||3,157||0.0||−0.1|
|People Before Profit||N/A||1||0||0||0||0||0||2,936||0.0||N/A|
|Local Liberals People Before Politics||1||0||0||0||0||0||1,964||0.0||N/A|
|Independent – Esther Rantzen||N/A||1||0||0||0||0||0||1,872||0.0||N/A|
|Alliance for Green Socialism||Mike Davies||6||0||0||0||0||0||1,581||0.0||0.0|
|Common Sense Party||Howard Thomas||2||0||0||0||0||0||1,173||0.0||0.0|
|Staffordshire Independent Group||1||0||0||0||0||0||1,208||0.0||0.0|
|Solihull and Meriden Residents Association||2||0||0||0||0||0||977||0.0||0.0|
|Democratic Labour||Brian Powell||1||0||0||0||0||0||842||0.0||0.0|
|English Independence Party||1||0||0||0||0||0||803||0.0||0.0|
|Democratic Nationalist Party||2||0||0||0||0||0||753||0.0||N/A|
|Save King George Hospital||1||0||0||0||0||0||746||0.0||0.0|
|Workers Revolutionary||Sheila Torrance||7||0||0||0||0||0||738||0.0||0.0|
|Christian Movement for Great Britain||2||0||0||0||0||0||598||0.0||0.0|
|New Millennium Bean Party||Captain Beany||1||0||0||0||0||0||558||0.0||0.0|
- This figure excludes John Bercow (Buckingham)
Voting distribution per constituency
Fermanagh and South Tyrone
The defeated Unionist 'Unity' candidate, Rodney Connor, lodged a petition against the successful Sinn Féin candidate, Michelle Gildernew, in Fermanagh and South Tyrone, alleging irregularities in the counting of the votes had affected the result. Gildernew had won with a plurality of four votes. However, the court found that there were only three ballot papers which could not be accounted for, and even if they were all votes for Connor, Gildernew would have had a plurality of one. The election was therefore upheld.
Oldham East and Saddleworth
On 28 May 2010, the defeated Liberal Democrat candidate Elwyn Watkins lodged a petition against the election of Phil Woolas (Labour) in Oldham East and Saddleworth constituency. The petition challenged leaflets issued by Woolas's campaign as having contained false statements of fact concerning Watkins' personal character, which is an illegal practice under section 106 of the Representation of the People Act 1983. The statements attempted to link Watkins with Muslim extremists and death threats to Woolas, accused him of reneging on a promise to live in the constituency, and implied that his campaign was funded by illegal foreign political donations.
During the court case a number of emails between Woolas and his campaign team emerged. In one, Woolas's agent, Joe Fitzpatrick, emailed Woolas and campaign adviser Steven Green, to say: "Things are not going as well as I had hoped ... we need to think about our first attack leaflet." A reply from Fitzpatrick said: "If we don't get the white vote angry he's gone." Some have criticised these tactics in light of significant existing racial tensions in the area. The court hearing finished on 17 September 2010, with the judges reserving their judgement until 5 November 2010. On that day Woolas was found to have breached section 106 of the Representation of the People Act 1983 in relation to three of the four statements complained about, and the judges ruled that his election was void. Phil Woolas applied for a judicial review into the ruling, stating that "this election petition raised fundamental issues about the freedom to question and criticise politicians" and that it "will inevitably chill political speech". He succeeded in overturning the finding in respect of one of the three statements but the main findings of the election court judgment were upheld. A by-election on 13 January 2011 resulted in the election of Debbie Abrahams (Labour).
At 9:41 on 7 May, the BBC confirmed a hung parliament. The Conservatives stood at 290 seats, Labour at 247 and Liberal Democrats at 51. One constituency seat (Thirsk and Malton) was contested on 27 May because of the death of the UKIP candidate and was won by the Conservative Party, whilst another seat (Oldham East and Saddleworth) later had its result declared void; Labour won the resulting by-election.
The result showed an overall 5.1% swing from Labour to the Conservatives, the third largest national swing achieved in a General Election since 1945 and similar to the 5.3% swing achieved by the Conservative leader Margaret Thatcher in 1979. The 97 net seat gains made by the Conservatives outdid their previous best gains total in 1950, when they gained 85. Labour's loss of 91 seats was worse than their previous greatest loss of seats, when they lost 77 seats in 1970.
Of the 532 seats contested in England (a final seat, Thirsk and Malton, was contested on 27 May), the Conservatives won 298 seats and an absolute majority of 61 seats over all other parties combined, securing an average swing of 5.6% from Labour. Labour did poorly in many Southern areas, notably in the Eastern Region where they won only two of their 14 seats from 2005: Luton North and Luton South. Labour did, however, gain two seats: Bethnal Green and Bow and Chesterfield. The Conservatives made 95 of their gains in England, but they also suffered three losses, all to the Liberal Democrats. For the Liberal Democrats, their eight gains were overshadowed by their 12 losses – one to Labour and 11 to the Conservatives.
None of Scotland's 59 seats changed hands and all were held by the same party that had won them at the 2005 election, with Labour regaining the two seats they had lost in by-elections since 2005. There was a swing to Labour from the Conservatives of 0.8% (with Labour increasing its share of the vote by 2.5% and the Conservatives increasing by just 0.9%) The Conservatives finished with just a single MP representing a Scottish constituency.
Of the 40 seats contested in Wales, the Conservatives more than doubled their seats from three to eight, taking one from the Liberal Democrats and four from Labour. Welsh nationalist party Plaid Cymru's number of seats was reduced from three to two on the new seat boundaries, but they managed to gain one seat, Arfon, from Labour. Labour did, however, regain Blaenau Gwent, which had once been Labour's safest seat in Wales until it had been taken by an Independent, Peter Law, in 2005. Overall, Labour made a net loss of 4 seats but remained the biggest party, with 26.
There were 18 seats contested in Northern Ireland. Both Irish nationalist parties, Sinn Féin and the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), held their seats. The unionist Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) (the latter in an electoral pact with the Conservatives), lost one seat each. This left the nationalist parties unchanged with eight seats, the main unionist parties with eight seats (all DUP), the Alliance with one seat and an independent unionist with one seat. It is the first time since the partition of Ireland that unionist parties failed to secure a majority of Northern Ireland's Westminster seats in a general election, and also the first time Sinn Féin obtained the largest share of the vote in Northern Ireland at a general election.
- Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families Ed Balls held his seat in Morley and Outwood by just 1,101, despite much anticipation of a "Portillo moment" (Despite this, he would indeed lose the seat at the following election).
- Minister of State for Borders and Immigration Phil Woolas retained Oldham East and Saddleworth by just 103 votes. However, following a legal challenge by his Liberal Democrat opponent, Elwyn Watkins, a new by-election was ordered and held on 13 January 2011. Woolas was barred from standing in this by-election but Labour held the seat with an increased majority.
- Minister of State for Health Mike O'Brien unexpectedly lost North Warwickshire, a seat he had held for 18 years, by just 54 votes to Conservative challenger Dan Byles.
- Green Party leader Caroline Lucas won Brighton Pavilion, becoming their first Westminster MP
- British National Party leader Nick Griffin finished in third place after a heavy loss in Barking to incumbent Labour MP Margaret Hodge
- In the wake of job losses at the local steel works, Solicitor General Vera Baird lost her seat of Redcar on a swing of 21.8% to Ian Swales of the Liberal Democrats.
- Gisela Stuart held onto her Birmingham Edgbaston seat despite many predictions that she would lose it. This was the only one of the 50 most marginal seats Labour held that was not lost by the party.
The election resulted in an increase in the number of MPs from ethnic minorities from 14 to 27, including the first black and Asian female Conservative MPs, Helen Grant and Priti Patel, and the first female Muslim MPs, Rushanara Ali, Shabana Mahmood and Yasmin Qureshi. This means that 4.2% of MPs are from an ethnic minority—in the 2001 Census, it was reported that ethnic minorities comprised 7.9% of the population. The number of female MPs rose to 141, an increase from 19.5% to 21.7% of all MPs, and the highest ever total; the number of female Conservative MPs rose from 18 (8.6% of all Conservatives) to 48 (15.7%).
Polling after the election suggested the following demographic breakdown:
|The 2010 UK General Election vote in Great Britain|
|Social group||Con||Lab||Lib Dem||Others||Lead|
|Men by Age|
|Women by Age|
|Men by social class|
|Women by social class|
In Northern Ireland a swing of more than 20% resulted in DUP First Minister Peter Robinson losing his Belfast East seat to the Alliance Party's Naomi Long, giving Alliance its first elected MP in Westminster.
Sir Reg Empey, leader of the UUP/Conservative alliance (UCUNF), standing for the first time in South Antrim, lost to the DUP incumbent William McCrea. Thus both leaders of the main Unionist parties failed to win seats while the UUP for the first time has no MPs at Westminster. A few days after the election, Empey announced that he would resign before the party conference, triggering a leadership election.
Sylvia Hermon, Lady Hermon retained her seat in North Down, significantly increasing her percentage of the vote despite a slightly lower turnout and her defection from the UUP/Conservative alliance to stand as an independent.
New SDLP leader Margaret Ritchie, succeeding Eddie McGrady MP, won against Sinn Féin's Caitriona Ruane in South Down. All of the Sinn Féin and SDLP incumbents held their seats, although Sinn Féin's Michelle Gildernew retained her seat in Fermanagh & South Tyrone by only four votes over the Independent Unionist Unity candidate, Rodney Connor, after three recounts.
MPs who lost their seats
MPs first elected in 2010
Effect of the expenses scandal
Many of the MPs who were most prominently caught up in the scandal decided, or were ordered, not to stand for re-election in 2010. Among them were Margaret Moran, Elliot Morley, David Chaytor, Nicholas and Ann Winterton, Derek Conway, John Gummer, Douglas Hogg, Anthony Steen, Peter Viggers, Julie Kirkbride and her husband Andrew MacKay.
Where sitting MPs did stand for re-election after their expenses claims were criticised, there were some notable losses. Former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith lost her marginal Redditch seat, which showed a large 9.2% swing to the Conservatives. Smith had claimed expenses on a large family home in Redditch by declaring her house-share with her sister in London as her main home, which had been described as "near fraudulent" by the former chairman of the committee on Standards in Public life, although she had only been ordered to apologise rather than repay the money. Former Home Office minister Tony McNulty lost Harrow East to the Conservatives on an 8% swing, after repaying over £13,000 claimed on a second home, occupied by his parents, which was 8 miles away from his primary residence. Ann Keen lost Brentford and Isleworth on a 6% swing, but her husband Alan Keen retained Feltham and Heston. The couple were criticised for claiming for a second home in central London while rarely staying in their nearby constituency home.
Shahid Malik lost his Dewsbury seat on a 5.9% swing to the Conservatives. Malik had been required to repay some of his expense claims and, at the time of the election, was under investigation for other claims. David Heathcoat-Amory was one of only two sitting Conservatives to be defeated when he lost Wells to the Liberal Democrats by 800 votes. Heathcoat-Amory was criticised for claiming manure on expenses. Phil Hope, who repaid over £40,000 in expenses, was defeated in his Corby constituency although the swing was lower than the national average at 3.3%.
Hazel Blears, who had paid more than £13,000 to cover capital gains tax which she had avoided by "flipping" the designation of her main residence, suffered a large drop in her vote in Salford and Eccles, but was still comfortably re-elected; a 'Hazel must go' candidate won only 1.8%. Conversely, Brian Jenkins lost his Tamworth seat on a large 9.5% swing despite being described as a "saint" by The Daily Telegraph on account of his low expenses.
Predictions of a rise in the number of successful Independents in the election as a result of the 2009 expenses scandal failed to materialise. Independents supported by the Jury Team or the Independent Network, support networks who both attempted to select and promote high quality Independents who had signed up for the so-called Nolan Principles of public life, set out in the Committee on Standards in Public Life, failed to have any significant impact. Broadcaster Esther Rantzen gathered a great deal of publicity for her campaign in Luton South constituency where the former MP Margaret Moran had stood down, but ended up losing her deposit in 4th place with 4.4% of the vote; the winner was Moran's successor as Labour candidate.
There was also a high-profile campaign over expenses directed against Speaker John Bercow, who had 'flipped' his designation of second home. An imperfectly observed convention states that the major parties do not oppose the Speaker seeking re-election; Bercow faced two main opponents in Buckingham. Independent former Member of the European Parliament John Stevens, standing on the Buckinghamshire Campaign for Democracy ticket, campaigned with a man dressed in a dolphin costume whom he called 'Flipper' and polled second with 21.4%. Former leader of the UK Independence Party Nigel Farage also fought the seat but came third in the vote with 17.4%. Bercow won with 47.3%.
Problems occurred with voting at 27 polling places in 16 constituencies, and affected approximately 1,200 people. This situation was condemned by politicians of various parties. Jenny Watson, chair of the Electoral Commission, the independent body that oversees the electoral process, was forced on to television to defend preparations and procedures. The Electoral Commission announced it would be carrying out a "thorough investigation". Under the law in force at the 2010 election, voters had to have been handed their ballots by the 10 pm deadline; people who were waiting in queues to vote at 10 pm were not allowed to vote.
In Chester there were reports that 600 registered voters were unable to vote because the electoral roll had not been updated, while in Hackney, Islington, Leeds, Lewisham, Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield long queues led to many voters being turned away and unable to vote as the 10 pm deadline arrived. Some dissatisfied voters staged sit-ins to protest against what some of them had called "disenfranchisement". In Liverpool, higher-than-expected turnout meant several polling stations ran out of ballot papers, with defeated council leader Warren Bradley stating that some residents were unable to cast their votes. In Wyre and Preston North, a 14-year-old boy cast a vote after being sent a polling card.
In parts of Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg's Sheffield Hallam seat it was reported that students from the city's two universities were placed in separate queues from 'local' residents, who were given priority, resulting in many students being unable to cast their votes.
Just days after the election Clegg spoke at a Take Back Parliament rally saying the results showed the British system is broken and needs fixing, while vowing the voices of the protesters would be heard. The rally demanded Clegg affirm his promise to push for "democratic and proportional representation of the British public".
Because of closure of United Kingdom airspace as a result of the Iceland volcanic eruption, potential expat voters in New Zealand were denied a vote when postal voting papers arrived too late to be returned to the UK, although Australian broadcaster SBS suggested that given the extremely tight timetabling of overseas votes, there is very little chance that voting papers [for voters outside Europe] will be received, let alone returned, in time to be counted.
When it became clear that no party would achieve an overall majority the three main party leaders made public statements offering to discuss the options for forming the next government with the other parties.
On 11 May 2010, as coalition talks between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats seemed to be drawing to a successful conclusion, Gordon Brown announced that he was resigning as Prime Minister and also as Labour leader. He then left Downing Street, accompanied by his wife and children, driving to Buckingham Palace where he tendered his resignation to the Queen and advised her to call for David Cameron. Cameron became Prime Minister one hour after the Queen accepted Brown's resignation. In his first address outside 10 Downing Street, he announced his intention to form a coalition government, the first since the Second World War, with the Liberal Democrats. As one of his first moves, Cameron appointed Nick Clegg as Deputy Prime Minister.
Just after midnight on 12 May 2010, the Liberal Democrats emerged from a meeting of their Parliamentary party and Federal Executive to announce that the coalition deal had been "approved overwhelmingly", meaning that David Cameron would lead a coalition government of Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.
Later that day, the two parties jointly published the Conservative–Liberal Democrat coalition agreement specifying the terms of the coalition deal.
A film of the election was made by candidate and filmmaker John Walsh entitled ToryBoy The Movie, exploring the candidate's selection process and the work that goes into an election campaign. One of the film's subjects, the British Labour Party MP Sir Stuart Bell, was later described as "Britain's laziest MP". The film received cinema releases in 2011 and again ahead of the 2015 general election.
Party political and administration costs
UK parties spent £31.1m on the campaign of which Conservatives spent 53%, the Labour Party spent 25% and the Liberal Democrats 15%. Figures from returning officers show that the average administration cost per constituency was £173,846 meaning the average cost per vote was £3.81.
- Adonis, Andrew (2013). 5 days in May: the coalition and beyond. London: Biteback Publishing. ISBN 9781849545662.
- Baldini, Gianfranco; Hopkin, Jonathan (2012). Coalition Britain: the UK election of 2010. Manchester New York: Manchester University Press. ISBN 9780719083709.
- Cowley, Philip; Kavanagh, Dennis (2010). The British General Election of 2010. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 9780230521902.
- Cutts, David; Goodwin, Matthew J. (February 2014). "Getting out the right-wing extremist vote: extreme right party support and campaign effects at a recent British general election". European Political Science Review. 6 (1): 93–114. doi:10.1017/S1755773912000288.
- Fisher, Justin; Wlezien, Christopher (2012). The UK general election of 2010: explaining the outcome. London New York: Routledge. ISBN 9780415583015.
- Worcester, Robert; Mortimore, Roger; Baines, Paul; Gill, Mark (2012). The UK general election of 2010 : explaining the outcome. London New York: Routledge. ISBN 9780415583015.
- "General elections". Electoral Commission. 18 May 2012. Retrieved 24 August 2013.
- Naughton, Philippe; Watson, Roland (7 May 2010). "Britain wakes up to a hung Parliament". The Times. London. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
- "Gordon Brown resigns as UK prime minister". BBC News. 11 May 2010.
- Sparrow, Andrew (12 May 2010). "New government – live blog". The Guardian. London.
- "Lib Dems approve coalition deal". BBC News. 11 May 2010. Retrieved 11 May 2010.
- In 1973 Stratton Mills, elected as a Unionist, defected to the Alliance Party but retired from Westminster at the following general election.
- "Gordon Brown calls 6 May general election". BBC News. 6 April 2010.
- "Brown would 'renew' Labour Party". BBC News. 5 January 2007.
- "Election 2010: Lib Dem policies targeted by rivals". BBC News. 19 April 2010.
- Wells, Anthony (6 May 2010). "Final poll of the campaign". UK Polling Report. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
- Riddell, Peter; Sherman, Jill; Watson, Roland (6 May 2010). "Tories scent victory as poll lead widens". The Times. London. Retrieved 6 May 2010.
- Pickard, Jim (5 May 2010). "UK – Brown woos undecided voters". Financial Times. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
- Jefferson, Rodney; Hutton, Robert (27 April 2010). "Brown Placing Third May Win Most Seats as Undecided Hold Key". Bloomberg. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
- "Salmond wants Westminster to 'dance to a Scottish jig' as he targets 20 seats". The Scotsman. Edinburgh. 21 April 2008.
- "Research Paper 07/31: Election Timetables" (PDF). House of Commons Library. Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 February 2009.
- "Election delayed after the death of candidate". Malton & Pickering Mercury. 28 April 2010. Retrieved 29 April 2010.
- "A post-war record for MPs standing down". BBC News. 2 December 2009.
- Winnett, Robert; Prince, Rosa (28 December 2009). "Quarter of MPs to stand down over expenses". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 26 May 2010.
- Colin Rallings, Michael Thrasher, "The Media Guide to the New Parliamentary Constituencies", Local Government Chronicle Elections Centre, 2007, ISBN 0-948858-45-1
- "The Parliamentary Constituencies (England) Order 2007 (S.I. 2007 No. 1681)". Office of Public Sector Information. 13 June 2007.
- "The Parliamentary Constituencies (Northern Ireland) Order 2008 (S.I. 2008 No. 1486)". The National Archives. 11 June 2006.
- "The Parliamentary Constituencies and Assembly Electoral Regions (Wales) Order 2006 (S.I. 2006 No. 1041)". The National Archives. 11 June 2006.
- Morris, Nigel (4 January 2010). "PM paves way for deal with Lib Dems in hung parliament". The Independent. London. Retrieved 26 May 2010.
- Watt, Nicholas (1 January 2009). "Whitehall prepares for hung parliament with Lib Dem talks". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 17 May 2010.
- Sparrow, Andrew (10 March 2008). "Clegg's terms for deal in hung parliament". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 26 May 2010.
- "Liberal Democrats under my leadership would vote against any Queens Speech without a clear and unambiguous commitment for Proportional Representation". Ming Campbell Official Website. 15 February 2006.
- "Salmond hails 'historic' Euro win". BBC News. 8 June 2009. Retrieved 9 April 2010.
- "Labour-Plaid coalition is sealed". BBC News. 7 July 2007. Retrieved 25 November 2011.
- "Lady Hermon under 'no pressure'". BBC News. 27 February 2009. Retrieved 25 November 2011.
- "MP Lady Sylvia Hermon quits Ulster Unionists". BBC News. 25 March 2010. Retrieved 25 November 2011.
- "Trade Unionist and Sociaist Coalition". TUSC. Retrieved 13 April 2010.
- Executive Committee statement on elections Communist Party, 17 January 2010
- TUSC left coalition to stand in general election Socialist Worker, 6 February 2010
- Launch of Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition The Socialist, 12 January 2010
- "Twitter abuse candidate Stuart MacLennan removed". BBC News. 9 April 2010. Retrieved 3 May 2010.
- Jagger, Suzy (23 April 2010). "Death of UKIP candidate John Boakes delays poll in Thirsk & Malton". The Times. London. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
- "Election delayed after the death of candidate". Malton & Pickering Mercury. 28 April 2010. Retrieved 29 April 2010.
- Stead, Mark (23 April 2010). "Thirsk and Malton election postponed after candidate John Boakes dies". The Press. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
- "Funeral for UKIP election candidate John Boakes". BBC News. 4 May 2010. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
- "Tory candidate Philip Lardner suspended for gay comment". BBC News. 27 April 2010. Retrieved 1 May 2010.
- "Postal voters sent wrong ballot papers in Bristol West". BBC News. 27 April 2010. Retrieved 2 May 2010.
- "SNP fails in BBC debate court bid". BBC News. 28 April 2010. Retrieved 29 April 2010.
- "UKIP asks voters in Somerset to back the Tories". BBC News. 28 April 2010. Retrieved 30 April 2010.
- "Police probe Twitter votes gaffe by Bristol candidate". BBC News. 29 April 2010. Retrieved 30 April 2010.
- "Tony Blair Returns To Campaign Trail". PoliticsRAW. 30 April 2010. Archived from the original on 4 May 2010. Retrieved 30 April 2010.
- "Key marginal Vale of Glamorgan's postal votes error". BBC News. 30 April 2010. Retrieved 2 May 2010.
- Lib-Lab coalition would be 'disastrous for British business' The Times 29 April 2010:
- Watson, Roland Brown's 'bigot' blunder plunges Labour campaign into crisis, The Times, 29 April 2010
- Leach, Ben (29 April 2010). "General Election 2010: Lib-Lab coalition 'would be bad for business', say leaders". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 7 June 2010.
- "Profile of Gillian Duffy, the voter PM called 'bigoted'". BBC News. 28 April 2010. Retrieved 4 May 2010.
- "How Gordon Brown 'bigot' jibe row unfolded". BBC News. 28 April 2010. Retrieved 3 May 2010.
- Minute by minute, in words and pictures, Gordon Brown's most humiliating day Mail Online, 29 April 2010
- Web Only: the best of the blogs New Statesman, 29 April 2010
- [waugh.standard.co.uk/2010/04/what-did-gordon-think-mrs-duffy-said.html What did Gordon think Mrs Duffy said?] London Evening Standard, 29 April 2010
- Gordon Brown thought Gillian Duffy had said F-word Mirror, 30 April 2010
- Clustershag to 10 Downing-The Daily Show with Jon Stewart - Video Clip | Comedy Central, retrieved 30 September 2016
- "Brown apologises to voter for 'bigoted woman' comment". BBC News. 28 April 2010. Retrieved 28 April 2010.
- "Election 2010: Woman in Brown 'bigot' row not to vote". BBC News. 1 May 2010. Retrieved 1 May 2010.
- "Error leads to new ballot papers in Haringey". BBC News. 1 May 2010. Retrieved 2 May 2010.
- Kennedy, Dominic (1 May 2010). "Late surge in Tower Hamlets postal votes prompts police fraud probe". The Times. London. Retrieved 2 May 2010.
- "Manish Sood Turns Against PM". PoliticsRAW. 4 May 2010. Archived from the original on 7 May 2010. Retrieved 4 May 2010.
- General election 2010: Brown worst prime minister ever – Labour candidate The Guardian, 4 May 2010
- General election 2010: Battered Gordon Brown finds his voice The Guardian, 3 May 2010
- "Arrest after alleged voting fraud in Peterborough". BBC News. 5 May 2010. Retrieved 5 May 2010.
- Hamilton, Fiona (5 May 2010). "BNP in turmoil after online chief Simon Bennett walks out". The Times. London. Retrieved 5 May 2010.
- "Nigel Farage injured in plane crash on election day". BBC News. 6 May 2010. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
- "Election 2010: Voters turned away as polls close". BBC News. 7 May 2010. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
- Norman, Laurence (3 October 2009). "Brown Agrees to U.S.-Style Debates". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 10 January 2010.
- "Brown to face three televised election debates". BBC News. 21 December 2009. Retrieved 21 December 2009.
- Ask the Chancellors Channel 4
- Shirbon, Estelle (15 April 2010). "Outsider Clegg judged winner in first UK TV debate". Reuters.
- "Papers divided over verdict on second leaders debate". BBC News. 23 April 2010. Retrieved 27 April 2010.
- Ralph, Alex; Jagger, Suzy (23 April 2010). "Nick Clegg left £700 out of pocket in unusual financial arrangement". The Times. London. Retrieved 27 April 2010.
- Instant reactions: The final debate Archived 1 May 2010 at the Wayback Machine YouGov, 29 April 2010
- "ITV News Instant Debate Poll 29 April 2010". ComRes. Archived from the original on 2 May 2010. Retrieved 30 April 2010.
- "Polls Suggest Cameron Wins Final Debate". Sky News. 29 April 2010. Archived from the original on 3 May 2010.
- "Post Debate Poll – 29 April 2010". Populus Ltd. Archived from the original on 24 November 2011. Retrieved 30 April 2010.
- Patrick Wintour and Polly Curtis (29 April 2010). "Election debate: David Cameron wins third leg". The Guardian. London.
- Salmond slams rigged election debate proposals Archived 14 April 2010 at the Wayback Machine SNP, 21 December 2009
- "SNP in legal bid over BBC TV prime ministerial debate". BBC News. 25 April 2010. Retrieved 27 April 2010.
- "Opinion of Lady Smith in the Petition of Scottish National Party and Others for Judicial Review". Scottish Courts. 28 April 2010. Archived from the original on 2 May 2010. Retrieved 28 April 2010.
- Wells, Anthony (10 December 2005). "Tories take the Lead". UKPollingReport. Retrieved 15 March 2010.
- YouGov show Tory lead cut to 7 points UK Polling Report, 29 January 2010
- General election 2010: All change for new politics The Guardian, 20 April 2010
- "Election exit poll: Tories to be 19 short of majority". BBC News. 6 May 2010. Retrieved 25 November 2011.
- "Live coverage – General Election 2010". BBC News. 6 May 2010. Retrieved 6 May 2010.
- "Parties surprised by exit poll". BBC News. 6 May 2010. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
- Bremner, Charles; Robertson, David (30 April 2010). "Vote of Confidence". The Times. London. Retrieved 26 May 2010.
- Bremner, Charles; Robertson, David (2 May 2010). "Tories deserve a chance to govern". Sunday Times. London. Retrieved 26 May 2010.
- "The Economist backs the Conservatives". The Guardian. London. 29 April 2010. Retrieved 6 April 2015.
- "General Election 2010: The liberal moment has come". The Guardian. London. 30 April 2010. Retrieved 26 May 2010.
- "Nick Clegg is the candidate of change". The Observer. London. 1 May 2010. Retrieved 26 May 2010.
- "General Election 2010: Now is the time for character". The Daily Telegraph. London. 4 May 2010. Retrieved 26 May 2010.
- "Election 2010: Party leaders step up campaigning". Newspaper Backing. BBC News. 2 May 2010.
- "Editorial The Case for Change". Financial Times. 2 May 2010.
- "David Cameron: the Prime Minister that London now needs". Evening Standard. London. 5 May 2010. Archived from the original on 7 May 2010.
- "Who can you trust to clear up this mess?". Daily Mail. London. 1 May 2010.
- "Only David Cameron can save Britain". Daily Express. 5 May 2010.
- Updated, Last (30 September 2009). "The Sun Says: Labour's lost it". The Sun. London.
- "News of the World backs Conservatives in election race". BBC News. 28 March 2010. Retrieved 2 May 2010.
- "Search Results". The Daily Star. Retrieved 13 October 2013.
- Vote for change. Real change The Independent on Sunday, 2 May 2010
- "Election 2010 Results: Buckingham". BBC News. Retrieved 27 March 2017.
- "Election 2010 Results: North Down". Retrieved 27 March 2017.
- Walton, John (10 May 2010). "Election 2010: Turnout mapped". BBC News.
- "BBC Election 2010 Results". Retrieved 27 March 2017.
- Collins, Nick (28 May 2010). "Tories win final general election seat in Thirsk and Malton". The Daily Telegraph. London.
- "Unionist dismay as election case falters". News Letter. 23 October 2010. Retrieved 15 May 2014.
- "Candidate challenges Woolas win". BBC News. 28 May 2010.
- Petition part 1 Archived 18 January 2012 at the Wayback Machine, part 2 Archived 18 January 2012 at the Wayback Machine, part 3 Archived 18 January 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
- "Court examines Labour Muslim slur election leaflet". BBC News. 30 June 2010. Retrieved 13 August 2010.
- Rayner, Gordon (13 September 2010). "Phil Woolas: the 'toxic' claims that turned tide for former minister". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 5 November 2010.
- Rebecca Camber (14 September 2010). "Labour MP Phil Woolas accused of stirring up race hate to win white vote". Daily Mail. London. Retrieved 5 November 2010.
- "Court reserves judgement over Phil Woolas re-election". BBC News. 17 September 2010.
- "Judges order election re-run". BBC News. 5 November 2010.
- "Judges order election rerun in ex-minister's seat". BBC. 14 September 2010. Retrieved 5 November 2010.
- Polly Curtis, Whitehall correspondent (5 November 2010). "Phil Woolas immigration leaflets case: high court orders election rerun in Oldham East | guardian.co.uk". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 5 November 2010.
- "Election 2010". BBC News. 7 May 2010. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
- "Election 2010: England". BBC News. 7 May 2010. Retrieved 10 May 2010.
- "Labour loses safest seat in Wales". BBC News. 6 May 2005.
- "2010 Westminster Elections". Access Research Knowledge. Northern Ireland Social and Political Archive (ARK). 8 May 2010. Retrieved 17 May 2010.
- Gammell, Caroline (7 May 2010). "General Election 2010: Ed Balls survives Tory challenge". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 8 May 2010.
- "Oldham East by-election to be held on 13 January". BBC News. 15 December 2010. Retrieved 25 November 2011.
- "Election 2010: Labour minister Mike O'Brien loses North Warwickshire seat". Coventry Telegraph. 7 May 2010. Archived from the original on 11 May 2010. Retrieved 24 August 2013.
- Cynog Dafis had previously represented Ceredigion on a joint Plaid Cymru/Green ticket
- McCarthy, Michael (8 May 2010). "One Brighton shining moment as Lucas makes Green history". The Independent. London. Retrieved 8 May 2010.
- "Labour's Margaret Hodge tells BNP: Get out and stay out". BBC News. 7 May 2010.
- Hirsch, Afua (7 May 2010). "UK Election results: Number of minority ethnic MPs almost doubles". The Guardian. London.
- "Nation's first female Muslim MPs rejoice". Sydney Morning Herald. 9 May 2010.
- "Female representation in government increases slightly". Women in technology. 11 May 2010.
- "How Britain Voted in 2010", Ipsos-MORI, 21 May 2010".
- Dennis Kavanagh and Philip Cowley, The British General Election of 2010 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010), p. 341.
- "Election 2010 – Belfast East". BBC News. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
- "SF's Gildernew retains her seat". BBC News. 7 May 2010. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
- Beckford, Martin (29 May 2009). "MPs' expenses: Margaret Moran to stand down but insists she did nothing wrong". The Daily Telegraph. London.
- "Elliot Morley to stand down as MP". BBC News. 29 May 2009.
- "Labour MP Chaytor to stand down". BBC News. 2 June 2009.
- Hope, Christopher; Swaine, Jon (15 May 2009). "Sir Nicholas and Ann Winterton to stand down from parliament: MPs expenses". The Daily Telegraph. London.
- Winnett, Robert (30 January 2008). "Derek Conway to stand down at election". The Daily Telegraph. London.
- Prince, Rosa (30 December 2009). "John Gummer: mole charge MP to quit Parliament". The Daily Telegraph. London.
- "Moat claim MP to quit at election". BBC News. 19 May 2009.
- Pierce, Andrew; Irvine, Chris (20 May 2009). "MPs' expenses: Anthony Steen to stand down as MP at next election". The Daily Telegraph. London.
- "Sir Peter Viggers to stand down over expenses claim". Portsmouth Today. 20 May 2009.
- "Tory MP to stand down at election". BBC News. 23 May 2009.
- Syal, Rajeev; Helm, Toby; Hinsliff, Gaby (10 May 2009). "Taxmen to probe MPs over profits from home sales". The Guardian. London.
- Sparrow, Andrew (12 October 2009). "Jacqui Smith apologises to MPs for misusing second home allowance". The Guardian. London.
- "McNulty defends expenses claims". BBC News. 22 March 2009.
- Barkham, Patrick (7 May 2010). "Tories brush off expenses scandal while voters punish Labour in general election". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 8 May 2010.
- "General election 2010: Shahid Malik loses in Dewsbury". inthenews.co.uk. 7 May 2010. Archived from the original on 29 September 2012. Retrieved 13 May 2010.
- "Vote 2010: you win some, you lose some". Channel 4 News. 7 May 2010. Retrieved 8 May 2010.
- Moore, Matthew (13 May 2009). "Phil Hope agrees to return £41,000 as MPs retreat on expenses". The Daily Telegraph. London.
- Porter, Andrew (22 May 2009). "Gordon Brown 'pursuing a political vendetta' against Hazel Blears – MPs' expenses". The Daily Telegraph. London.
- "General Election 2010: Hazel Blears retains Salford and Eccles". The Daily Telegraph. London. 7 May 2010.
- "MPs' expenses: The saints (Part iii)". The Daily Telegraph. London. 19 May 2009.
- Evans, Martin (22 April 2010). "General Election 2010: MPs' expenses scandal fires independent challenge". The Daily Telegraph. London.
- Seddon, Mark (21 April 2010). "Bercow's last stand?". New Statesman.
- "2010 UK Parliamentary general election: Interim report: review of problems at polling stations at close of poll on 6 May 2010" (PDF). UK: The Electoral Commission. 20 May 2010. Section 1.6. Retrieved 27 July 2010.
- "Electoral Commission to investigate thwarted voters". Channel 4 News. 6 May 2010. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
- "Election 2010: Inquiry as voters miss out as polls shut". BBC News. 7 May 2010. Retrieved 1 August 2010.
- Charlotte Spratt and Steve Doughty (7 May 2010). "Thousands left unable to vote as huge queues form". Daily Mail. London. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
- "Liverpool polling station runs out of ballots". BBC News. 7 May 2010. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
- "Lancashire teenager voted 'to make a difference'". BBC News. 8 May 2010. Retrieved 10 July 2010.
- "Election 2010: Voters turned away as polls close". BBC News. 7 May 2010. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
- "UK protesters slam electoral system". PressTV. 8 May 2010. Retrieved 11 May 2010.
- "Kiwi votes too late for UK election". The New Zealand Herald. 9 May 2010. Retrieved 11 May 2010.
- "UK elections: how to vote from abroad". Special Broadcasting Service. 6 May 2010. Retrieved 11 May 2010.
- "Election 2010 – Live coverage – General Election 2010". BBC News. 11 May 2010. Retrieved 11 May 2010.
- "PM's full resignation statement". BBC News. 11 May 2010. Retrieved 11 May 2010.
- "David Cameron is UK's new prime minister". BBC News. 11 May 2010. Retrieved 11 May 2010.
- Conservative Liberal Democrat Coalition Agreement, Conservative Party, Published 12 May 2010. Retrieved 13 May 2010
- Conservative Liberal Democrat Coalition Agreement Archived 11 December 2011 at the Wayback Machine, Liberal Democrats, Published 12 May 2010. Retrieved 13 May 2010
- "Full text of the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition deal". The Guardian. London. 12 May 2010. Retrieved 12 May 2010.
- Moss, Richard (9 September 2011). "Sir Stuart Bell - the laziest MP?". BBC News.
- "2015 election campaign officially begins on Friday". BBC news. 18 December 2014. Retrieved 18 December 2014.
- Anthony Reuben (13 October 2014). "Small Data: How much do by-elections cost?". BBC News. Retrieved 20 December 2014.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to 2010 United Kingdom general election.|
- RESEARCH PAPER 10/36, House of Commons Library: General Election 2010
- OSCE/ODIHR Election Assessment Mission Report, report by independent observers, the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights
- Report on the administration of the 2010 UK general election by the Electoral Commission
- British General Election, 2010 resources from Political Science Resources
- Your Candidate Finder Telegraph – allows you to filter all the candidates in the database based on everything from what type of education they had, to their age, gender, profession, county and role (i.e. contesting, defending, standing for the first time or again)
- NSD: European Election Database – UK publishes regional level election data (NUTS 1); allows for comparisons of election results, 1992–2010
- Election 2010 – The TV debate at BAFTA BAFTA asks an expert panel, was TV the real winner of the General Election?
- Catalogue of 2010 general election ephemera at the Archives Division of the London School of Economics.
- General Election 2010 – Commons Library Research Paper RP10/36 from Parliament.uk. Gives the results at UK, GB, country and region level. See also the introduction.
- Main parties
- Conservatives: Invitation to join the government of Britain
- Labour: A future fair for all
- Liberal Democrats: Change that works for you/Building a fairer Britain
- Smaller parties already holding seats
- Democratic Unionist Party: Let's Keep Northern Ireland Moving Forward
- Plaid Cymru: Think Different. Think Plaid.
- Respect Party: Homes, Jobs and Peace, Manifesto for a Hung Parliament
- Scottish National Party: Elect a local champion.
- Sinn Féin: 2010 Westminster Election Manifesto
- Social Democratic and Labour Party: For Your Future
- Ulster Conservatives and Unionists – New Force: Invitation to join the government of the United Kingdom
- Other parties
- Alliance Party of Northern Ireland: Alliance Works, Working for you at Westminster
- Alliance for Green Socialism: General Election Manifesto 2010
- British National Party: Democracy, Freedom, Culture and Identity
- British National Front: National Front 2010 Election Manifesto
- Christian Peoples Alliance: Not by Bread Alone
- Communist Party of Britain: Britain For The People Not The Bankers
- Co-operative Party: A Cooperative Agenda For A Fourth Term
- English Democrats Party: English Democrats 2010 Manifesto
- Green Party of England and Wales: Fair is Worth Fighting For
- The Macclesfield Independent: For manifesto, visit website and click Policy Issues
- Green Party of Northern Ireland: Make A Difference Vote Green
- Liberal Party: Principle, Policy and Purpose
- Mebyon Kernow: Key Campaign Priorities
- Official Monster Raving Loony Party: The Monster Raving Loony Manifesto
- Pirate Party UK: The 2010 Election Manifesto of the Pirate Party UK
- Scottish Green Party: A Living Wage For All, Protect Public Services, Support New Green Jobs
- Scottish Socialist Party: For An Independent Socialist Scotland
- Socialist Equality Party: Socialist Equality Party Manifesto for the 2010 British General Election
- Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition: No To Cuts and Privatisation! Make the Bosses Pay!
- Traditional Unionist Voice: Putting It Right
- UK Independence Party: Empowering the people
- United Kingdom Libertarian Party: For Life, Liberty, and Prosperity