The Conservative government had survived the industrial disputes with the mine workers (1984-85) and the print unions (1985-86), the 1986 Westland problems had been put aside with the loss of Michael Heseltine and Leon Brittan[?] and the economy was performing well. Labour was in the throes of modernization and a return to more centralist policies under Neil Kinnock but expected to do better than in 1983. The SDP and the Liberals renewed their Alliance and continued to split the non-Conservative vote; neither Alliance leader (David Owen and David Steel) could agree to support either one of the major parties in the event of a hung parliament[?].
The Conservatives advertising campaign by Tim Bell[?] was dominated by anti-Labour sentiment, attacking mainly on taxation but also with rapid-response campaigns to pick up on Labour errors. The Labour campaign was a marked change from previous efforts, professionally directed by Peter Mandelson and Bryan Gould[?] it concentrated on presenting and improving Kinnock's image to the electorate.
The Conservatives were returned with a 102 seat majority, 42 down on 1983 with a swing of 1% or so towards Labour. There were increasingly marked divisions across the country, the Conservatives dominated the South but performed poorly in the North, Scotland, and Wales.
Turnout: 32,530,204 (75.3 %)
|Party||Votes||Seats||Loss/Gain||Share of Vote (%)|
|Liberal-SDP Alliance||7,341,651||22 (17 and 5)||+2||22.6|