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Election Battles 1945-1997
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1987: Three on the trot for Thatcher
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Overview
Battlefield
Campaign
Personalities
Issues
Results
1987: graph

Watch and listen 1987
The BBC takes stock the day after the election
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Michael Heseltine resigns from the cabinet
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Margaret Thatcher: “I hope to go on and on”
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Norman Tebbit, on the “Thatcher factor”
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Kinnock the Movie
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The Alliance unveils its campaign battlebus
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Party vote share
Out of the Commons
Jim Callaghan
Sir Keith Joseph
James Prior
Ian Mikardo
Roy Jenkins
Enoch Powell
Clement Freud

After eight years in power the Conservatives were retuned again at the loss of just 21 seats.

It was the first time since 1826 that any prime minister had been returned three times in a row, and it was now the second time since the war that Labour had been unable to prevent a Tory election hat trick.

In the new parliament the Conservatives had 376 seats to Labour’s 229. Kinnock had just 20 extra seats to show for all his hard work.

The Alliance too had a poor election. Its attempts to hold the balance of power stalled as it lost one seat, leaving just 22.

With turnout up to 75.3% the Tory share of the vote held steady on 42.3%, while Labour had now opened up a much clearer gap between itself and the Alliance, taking 30.8% to 22.6 %.

But even so the election remained one of Labour’s worst defeats.

As the country seemed more divided between rich and poor during the Thatcher years, this was reflected in Britain’s electoral map.

Tory support was falling in the north of England, many of the large cities and in Scotland and Wales - broadly those areas experiencing an economic downturn - while the prosperous south east of England was by now true blue.