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BBC News Vote 2001 Vote2001 | Audio Video 
Election Battles 1945-1997
Intro 1945
1950
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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: Steel workers
The steel industry was an unlikely key theme

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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Manifestos
Labour
Nationalise - sugar, cement and steel
Full employment
Maintain welfare state
Conservatives
End to further nationalisation
Full employment
Maintain welfare state

With nationalisation the key issue, voters divided on class lines much more clearly than in 1945. Taking a view from the side of the campaign, the Liberals said the election was a "class struggle".

In Labour’s manifesto - Let Us Win Through Together - Attlee promised to nationalise steel, cement and sugar despite the poor state of the economy and the poor returns from the nationalisations already carried out.

Sterling had been devalued in the previous year, highlighting the country’s fragile state, while many key Labour figures were against taking their case to the public in the first winter election for decades.

But the party stuck to its task, making the case for taking cement and sugar into the public fold, saying they were private monopolies. Sugar company Tate & Lyle launched a fierce fightback - with cartoon character Mr Cube taking on the government from the cover of sugar packets across the nation.

Setting out their stall in their manifesto, This is the Road, the Conservatives entered into a consensus with Labour over health and welfare. But they were staunch in their opposition to further nationalisation.