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BBC News Vote 2001 Vote2001 | Audio Video 
Election Battles 1945-1997
Intro 1945 1950
1951
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1951: Churchill's return
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1951: graph

Watch and listen 1951
Winston Churchill celebrates victory
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British troops advance into North Korea
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Campaigning starts as Attlee announces the election date
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Conservative celebrations led by party chairman, Lord Woolton
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Clement Attlee on Labour's defeat
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Party vote share
 

Although a Tory victory was widely predicted, it proved to be much less emphatic than thought.

The party took 321 seats to Labour’s 295, the slight swing from Labour to Conservative of 1.1% being enough to sever Attlee’s uncertain grip on power.

The Liberals’ failure to stand candidates in more than 500 constituencies saw the Tories gain. When faced with a choice of Labour or Conservative many Liberals jumped rightward.

But although Labour found itself back in opposition it had not been deserted by the voters.

After six years in power the party won its largest share of the vote in its history.

The total of 13,948,605 votes was 200,000 more than Churchill received and was higher than any of its landslide victories in 1945, 1966 or 1997. The total has only ever been beaten by John Major’s Conservatives in 1992.