When every vote counted: what minority government in the 1970s meant for MPs

The History of Parliament

With Parliament back and Theresa May’s government trying to pass controversial legislation, Emmeline Ledgerwood, one of our oral history project volunteers and PhD student at the British Library/University of Leicester, blogs on the periods of minority government during the 1970s, using excerpts from our oral history project archive…

As Westminster returns to work after the summer recess, MPs must become accustomed to an environment which few living parliamentarians have experienced—a House of Commons with a minority government.

There have been limited instances of minority government in the UK Parliament since WWII. When John Major lost his majority in 1997 he only had three months to survive until it was time to fight a general election.

It was during the period 1974-79 that the tensions and challenges posed by the lack of a governing majority became routine for those MPs who belonged to the House of Commons at that time.

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