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BBC News Vote 2001 Vote2001 | Audio Video 
Election Battles 1945-1997
Intro 1945
1950
1951 1955 1959 1964 1966 1970 1974
Feb
1974
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1979 1983 1987 1992 1997
1950: Labour limps home
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Overview
Battlefield
Campaign
Personalities
Issues
Results
1950:  Clement Attlee
Attlee takes to the campaign trail

Watch and listen 1950
The election results in a special announcement from the BBC Home Service
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The BBC visits the three main parties at campaign headquarters
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The BBC reports on the highs and lows of election night
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Winston Churchill at his constituency count
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Clement Attlee’s speech after his re-election
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1950: Winston Churchill
Churchill - never one to dodge a photo-oportunity
What they spent
Labour
£84,000
Conservatives
£135,000

The idea appeals to me of a supreme effort to bridge the gulf between the two worlds
Winston Chuchill calls for summit with Russia

Men and women feel they have a far greater stake in the country than they ever had before
Clement Attlee

Despite the occasional harsh outburst during the 1945-1950 parliament from Labour cabinet members such as Nye Bevan that the Tories were "lower than vermin", the election campaign saw something of a change of temper and did not turn into a bitter slanging match.

Indeed Churchill called it a "demure" campaign. And when his party made its peace and accepted Labour’s introduction of the health service and a mixed economy, the battle lines were drawn firmly, if narrowly, around the issue of further nationalisation.

Labour hoped to take the steel industry, sugar and cement into public ownership - the Conservatives believed the state had moved far enough into managing the economy.

The Cold War forced its way into the campaign briefly when Churchill called for a high level summit with Russia. But despite his intervention Labour looked the likeliest victor.