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Election Battles 1945-1997
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1983: Maggie's landslide
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Overview
Battlefield
Campaign
Personalities
Issues
Results
1983: graph

Watch and listen 1983
The election results from BBC Radio News
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Kinnock on the Falklands Factor
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Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher announcing the election date: "You'll have difficulty in keeping up with me"
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Party leaders on the campaign trail
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Mrs Thatcher speaks after her landslide victory
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Party vote share
Out of the Commons
Shirley Williams
Bill Rodgers
Joan Lestor
Tony Benn
Into the Commons
Tony Blair
Gordon Brown

In 1983 the impressive figure of Margaret Thatcher swept all before her. The Conservatives took 397 Commons seats, nearly double the number taken by Labour, lagging way behind on 209.

The Alliance came in third. But there is some truth in their assertion that it was defeated by the voting system as much as anything else. It polled an impressive 7.7 million votes, but won only 23 seats.

When measured on this criterion, Labourís tally of 8.4 million made it appear as if the party was in danger of being replaced as the main opposition to the Tories.

In fact, despite having little money and taking place in its first election campaign, the Alliance had succeeded in replacing Labour as the opposition in southern England, a practical electoral desert for Michael Foot.

This massive split in the votes against Thatcher saw the Conservatives win a landslide with a smaller share of the vote than they had taken in 1979.

The Tories also benefited throughout the 1980s from Labour losing support from working class voters, owner-occupiers, trade union members and the young.

Plaid Cymru and the Scottish National Party both took two seats each.