BBC Homepage News World Service Sport Education My BBC BBC News Vote 2001
BBC HOMEPAGE | NEWS | WORLD SERVICE | SPORT | MY BBC help
BBC News Vote 2001 Vote2001 | Audio Video 
Election Battles 1945-1997
Intro 1945 1950 1951 1955 1959 1964 1966 1970
1974
Feb
1974
0ct
1979 1983 1987 1992 1997
1974 February: On balance, Wilson wins
Back
Next

Overview
Battlefield
Campaign
Personalities
Issues
Results
1974 February: Textile worker
Ending industrial strife took centre stage

Watch and listen 1974 Feb
The highlights of election night from BBC Radio 1
real 28k
The miners' strike: Political leaders call for a settlement
real 28k
Lancashire textile workers and the 3-day week
quicktime 56k real 56k
Heath "needed the miners' strike says Wilson
real 28k
Liberal leader Jeremy Thorpe after negotiations with Heath
real 28k
Harold Wilson on the inconclusive results
quicktime 56k real 56k


1974 February: Conservative manifesto
Manifestos
Labour
Referendum on Europe
Public ownership of North Sea oil
Tackle rising prices
Liberals
Equal partnership between employers and business
Minimum income
Bill of rights
Conservatives
Improve industrial relations
Trade union reform
Yearly pension rises

Although industrial relations and how best to manage the economy and the trade unions featured heavily in this election, there was also much talk of how to deal with the prospect of a hung parliament.

In their manifesto - Firm Action for a Fair Britain - the Conservatives pledged to amend their hated Industrial Relations Act, disapproved of by the unions and disowned by business.

While Labour attempted to get one up on the Conservatives by claiming that it could put in place a "social contract" with the unions and bring the seemingly endless strife to an end.

Labourís manifesto - which was not entirely finished when Heath called the poll - also presented the voters with an opportunity to vote in a referendum on the UKís membership of the European Common Market.

Heath had taken the UK into Europe after a vote in parliament, leaving many people feeling they had not been properly consulted over what was a major change. Labour was responding to this feeling and to the deep splits within its own party on the issue.

The Liberals put forward a traditionally radical package.

As well as their focus on the constitution with the promise of a bill of rights, their manifesto, Change the Face of Britain, called for permanent prices and incomes policies, better pensions and a minimum earnings level.