1979 European Parliament Election in the United Kingdom
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1979 European Parliament Election in the United Kingdom

1979 European Parliament election in the United Kingdom

7 June 1979 1984 →

81 seats to the European Parliament
Turnout32.4%
  First party Second party
  Margaret Thatcher (1983).jpg The President comes to Washington (9717490632) (cropped).jpg
Leader Margaret Thatcher James Callaghan
Party Conservative Labour
Alliance ED PES
Leader since 11 February 1975 5 April 1976
Seats won 60 17
Popular vote 6,508,492 4,253,247
Percentage 48.4% 31.6%

Map of 1979 European Parliament election in the United Kingdom.svg

Leader of Largest Party

Margaret Thatcher
Conservative

Part of a series of articles on the
British membership
of the
European Union
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The European Assembly Election, 1979, was the first European election to be held in the United Kingdom after the European Communities (EC) decided to directly elect representatives to the European Parliament. It was held on 7 June. Elections were also held in eight other EC states. European elections were incorporated into UK law by the European Assembly Elections Act 1978. Out of the 410 members of the European Parliament, 81 were elected from the UK. The electoral system was First Past the Post in England, Scotland and Wales (electing 78 MEPs in total) and Single Transferable Vote in Northern Ireland (electing 3 MEPs).

The result was a landslide victory for the Conservative Party, which won 60 of the 78 seats available in England, Wales and Scotland. Their decisive victory in the general election of the previous month and divisions within the Labour party on whether to stay in the EC probably helped the Conservatives to such a comprehensive victory. There was a very low turnout in the election compared with other states, the lowest in Europe. Voter apathy was an explanation, but it is likely the large number of elections in 1979 had a significant negative effect on turnout. There were referendums in Scotland and Wales on devolution in March and the general election in May, as well as local elections in England (not including London) and Wales.

Result (UK-wide)

Source: UK Parliament Briefing

Party Votes won % of vote Seats % of seats
Conservative 6,508,492 48.4 60 75.0
Labour 4,253,247 31.6 17 21.3
Liberal 1,690,638 12.6 0 Steady
SNP 247,836 1.8 1 1.3
DUP 170,688 1.3 1 1.3
SDLP 140,622 1.0 1 1.3
UUP 125,169 0.9 1 1.3
Plaid Cymru 83,399 0.6 0 Steady
Alliance 39,026 0.3 0 Steady
Independent Unionist 38,198 0.3 0 Steady
Independent Republican 33,969 0.3 0 Steady
United Against
the Common Market
27,506 0.2 0 Steady
Independent 23,539 0.2 0 Steady
Ecology 17,953 0.1 0 Steady
Mebyon Kernow 10,205 0.1 0 Steady
United Community 9,383 0.1 0 Steady
United Labour 6,122 0.0 0 Steady
Ind. Conservative 4,804 0.0 0 Steady
Workers' Party 4,418 0.0 0 Steady
Unionist Party NI 3,712 0.0 0 Steady
Independent Democratic 2,473 0.0 0 Steady
International Marxist 1,635 0.0 0 Steady
Ulster Liberal Party 932 0.0 0 Steady
EFP 497 0.0 0 Steady
Others 1,628 0.0 0 Steady
  • Overall (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) turnout: 32.4%[1]
  • Overall votes cast: 13,460,091

Results Breakdown

England, Scotland and Wales

Map of the Scottish results.
Map of Northern Irish results

Source: UK Parliament Briefing

Party Votes won % of vote Seats % of seats
Conservative 6,508,492 50.6 60 76.9
Labour 4,253,247 33.0 17 21.8
Liberal 1,690,638 13.1 0 Steady
SNP 247,836 1.9 1 1.3
Plaid Cymru 83,399 0.6 0 Steady
United Against
the Common Market
27,506 0.2 0 Steady
Independent 23,539 0.2 0 Steady
Ecology 17,953 0.1 0 Steady
Mebyon Kernow 10,205 0.1 0 Steady
Ind. Conservative 4,804 0.0 0 Steady
Ind. Democratic 2,473 0.0 0 Steady
International Marxist 1,635 0.0 0 Steady
EFP 497 0.0 0 Steady
Others 1,628 0.0 0 Steady

Total votes cast - 12,873,852.

Northern Ireland

Source Northern Ireland Social and Political Archive

Party Candidate(s) Seats First Preference Votes
Number % of vote
DUP Ian Paisley 1 170,688 29.8
SDLP John Hume 1 140,622 25.5
UUP John Taylor, Harry West 1 125,169 21.9
Alliance Oliver Napier 0 39,026 6.8
Independent Unionist James Kilfedder 0 38,198 6.7
Independent Republican Bernadette McAliskey 0 33,969 5.9
United Community David Bleakley 0 9,383 1.6
United Labour Paddy Devlin 0 6,122 1.1
Workers' Party Brian Brennan, Francis Donnelly 0 4,418 0.8
Unionist Party NI Eddie Cummings 0 3,712 0.6
Ulster Liberal James Murray 0 932 0.2

Total votes cast - 572,239.

Constituency results

Constituency Con % Lab % Lib % PC % SNP % Others
Bedfordshire 102,054 58.8 48,454 27.9 21,943 12.6 1,198 0.7
Birmingham North 68,507 47.8 60,163 42.0 14,583 10.2
Birmingham South 66,012 47.5 60,775 43.7 12,160 8.8
Bristol 100,160 54.2 59,443 32.1 25,308 13.7
Cambridgeshire 94,497 59.0 42,038 26.3 23,501 14.7
Cheshire East 89,640 56.0 50,324 31.5 19,952 12.5
Cheshire West 93,589 56.8 47,276 28.7 23,816 14.5
Cleveland 76,514 50.6 51,688 34.1 18,125 12.0 4,960 3.3
Cornwall and Plymouth 94,650 55.1 36,681 21.4 23,105 13.5 17,164 10.0
Cotswolds 109,139 58.6 37,713 20.3 27,916 15.0 11,422 6.1
Cumbria 104,471 56.4 62,485 33.7 16,631 9.0 1,596 0.9
Derbyshire 81,046 50.9 62,347 39.2 15,775 9.9
Devon 127,032 61.8 37,380 18.2 41,010 20.0
Durham 53,043 35.1 81,982 54.2 16,094 10.7
Essex North East 99,137 60.7 33,496 20.5 26,298 16.1 4,497 2.7
Essex South West 78,059 53.9 46,244 31.9 20,516 14.2
Glasgow 41,144 27.3 73,846 49.0 11,073 7.3 24,776 16.4
Greater Manchester North 62,456 39.2 79,920 50.2 16,910 10.6
Greater Manchester South 70,688 47.5 63,214 42.5 14,869 10.0
Greater Manchester West 67,127 43.3 66,825 43.1 21,021 13.6
Hampshire West 114,978 58.9 34,472 17.7 45,786 23.4
Hereford and Worcester 106,271 58.5 49,888 27.5 25,421 14.0
Hertfordshire 97,174 50.2 49,619 25.6 46,757 24.2
Highlands and Islands 30,776 26.1 10,846 9.2 36,109 30.7 39,991 34.0
Humberside 79,531 51.7 56,521 36.8 17,643 11.5
Kent East 117,267 64.7 40,060 22.1 20,190 11.1 3,788 2.1
Kent West 113,961 60.7 46,482 24.8 27,127 13.5
Lancashire Central 91,355 54.1 63,709 37.7 13,821 8.2
Lancashire East 77,087 49.9 62,729 40.6 12,268 7.9 2,473 1.6
Lancashire West 79,888 51.3 60,399 38.7 12,116 7.8 3,486 2.2
Leeds 54,405 39.8 62,475 45.6 20,005 14.6
Leicester 91,675 55.1 57,811 34.7 17,027 10.2
Lincolnshire 104,460 61.5 44,616 26.3 20,815 12.2
Liverpool 49,646 45.2 42,419 38.7 17,650 16.1
London Central 84,915 54.4 45,721 29.3 19,010 12.2 6,448 4.1
London East 77,955 48.8 64,925 40.7 16,783 10.5
London North 74,042 49.7 59,077 39.7 15,838 10.6
London North East 36,200 34.2 61,004 57.5 8,839 8.3
London North West 87,596 55.3 49,268 31.1 21,618 13.6
London South 98,298 58.9 44,967 27.0 23,526 14.1
London South East 94,180 55.0 54,798 32.0 21,494 12.5 890 0.5
London South Inner 60,652 43.6 67,830 48.8 10,509 7.6
London South West 83,498 52.0 51,742 32.2 21,251 13.2 3,810 2.6
London West 89,433 51.0 67,193 38.3 17,077 9.8 1,635 0.9
Lothians 66,761 35.6 61,180 32.6 29,518 15.8 29,935 16.0
Mid and West Wales 67,226 36.0 77,474 41.4 17,628 9.4 22,730 12.2 1,826 1.0
Mid Scotland and Fife 66,255 35.1 58,768 31.2 18,112 9.6 45,426 24.1
Midlands Central 94,606 57.9 46,557 28.5 15,859 9.7 6,380 3.9
Midlands East 85,098 55.3 53,935 35.1 14,819 9.6
Midlands West 69,916 47.3 68,024 46.0 9,936 6.7
Norfolk 102,981 59.8 52,406 30.4 16,805 9.8
North East Scotland 51,930 33.0 38,139 24.2 38,516 24.5 28,886 18.3
North Wales 74,173 41.9 46,627 26.4 21,989 12.4 34,171 19.3
Northamptonshire 103,638 59.6 47,029 27.1 23,134 13.3
Northumbria 67,066 39.9 75,172 44.8 25,713 15.3
Nottingham 64,728 44.8 66,279 45.9 13,515 9.3
Salop and Stafford 90,545 57.5 45,547 28.9 16,469 10.5 4,804 3.1
Sheffield 64,157 42.1 77,219 50.7 10,951 7.2
Somerset 120,057 57.0 41,931 19.9 48,600 23.1
South East Wales 51,478 30.3 93,093 54.8 10,534 6.2 12,469 7.4 2,182 1.3
South of Scotland 66,816 43.0 43,145 27.7 16,825 10.8 28,694 18.5
South Wales 66,852 37.9 77,784 44.1 17,811 10.1 14,029 7.9
Staffordshire East 70,836 48.7 64,230 44.1 10,409 7.2
Strathclyde East 41,482 28.6 72,263 49.8 10,325 7.1 21,013 14.5
Strathclyde West 65,608 37.2 63,781 36.1 17,955 10.2 29,115 16.5
Suffolk 101,966 60.4 45,642 27.1 21,131 12.5
Surrey 113,786 54.4 28,897 13.8 62,272 29.7 4,450 2.1
Sussex East 123,506 65.7 33,581 17.9 30,847 16.4
Sussex West 131,077 65.9 26,894 13.5 35,593 17.9 5,303 2.7
Thames Valley 110,788 63.1 39,865 22.7 24,877 14.2
Tyne South and Wear 67,475 44.9 73,936 49.2 8,958 5.9
Upper Thames 103,488 59.4 39,900 22.9 30,907 17.7
Wessex 130,744 63.3 42,910 20.8 31,220 15.1 1,706 0.8
Wight and Hampshire East 128,414 64.7 34,901 17.6 35,248 17.7
Wiltshire 86,873 47.5 35,457 19.4 60,404 33.1
Yorkshire North 98,464 59.1 41,408 24.8 26,812 16.1
Yorkshire South 46,656 32.6 83,490 58.3 13,025 9.1
Yorkshire South West 52,157 35.8 75,473 51.9 17,850 12.3
Yorkshire West 73,555 44.4 76,552 46.3 15,460 9.3

Party Leaders in June 1979

See also

References


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