Thursday, 8 April 2010
The General Election was held on 6th December - and the Governing Conservatives lost 86 seats (and its majority). It remained however the largest party. The Results were -
Conservatives 258 (previously 344 seats)
Labour 191 (previously 142 seats)
Liberals 158 (previously 62 seats)
Britain therefore had a "hung Parliament"
Parliament first met on 8th January - for the election of the Speaker. A few days were available for MPs and Peers to take the oath. The King's Speech was delivered just after midday on 15th January. The debate began formally that afternoon - then the debate was conducted with vigour on 16th, 17th, 18th & 21st January.
The motion (as usual) was - That an humble Address he presented to His Majesty, as followeth: Most Gracious Sovereign, We, Your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, in Parliament assembled, beg leave to offer our humble thanks to Your Majesty for the Gracious Speech which your Majesty has addressed to both Houses of Parliament
BUT an amendment was put down
"to add the words But it is our duty respectfully to submit to your Majesty that Your Majesty's present advisers have not the confidence of this House"
The amendment passed - Ayes, 328; Noes, 256
The following morning the Prime Minister, Stanley Baldwin, tendered his resignation to the King. He told the Commons -
"I beg to move, That this House do now adjourn until Tuesday, 12th February. As the result of the vote which took place in this House last night, the Government have tendered their resignation to the King, and His Majesty has been graciously pleased to accept it. [An HON. MEMBER "Thank God for that!" I Members of the Government will retain their Seals until the new appointments have been made, and it only remains for me to tell the House that the date was arrived at to suit the convenience of the incoming Minister."
The new Government was formed by Ramsey MacDonald - and this became the first Labour Government. It did not form a coalition with the Liberals. As a minority government it was vulnerable - and on 8th October a vote of censure was passed - Ayes, 198; Noes, 359. Ramsey MacDonald asked for a dissolution - and a second election was held on 29th October 1924.
Hansards for that momentous year in British Politics can be read here