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UK general election, 2001

The United Kingdom general election of 2001 has been called in the media "the quiet landslide." After a landslide victory of the Labour party in the previous 1997 elections, they now had another major victory by managing to maintain their position. In fact, Tony Blair was the first Labour prime minister to win a second consecutive term in office, and he did so with the greatest majority ever for a party in government. Outside Northern Ireland (which has completely different parties and a different electoral landscape from the rest of the UK), 620 out of 641 seats remained with the same party as they had been in 1997. The Conservatives netted a gain of only 1 seat after their crushing defeat of 1997 (gaining a few seats from Labour, but losing to the Liberal Democrats), but the Liberal Democrats made a gain of 6 more seats from their already historical high of 1997. With 52 seats, the Liberal Democrats were well established as the third party of Britain and had their best result since the 1920s.

The elections were also marked by apathy from the voting public, turnout being only 59%, the lowest since 1918. Throughout the election the Labour party had maintained a significant lead in the opinion polls and the result was deemed to be so certain that some bookmakers paid out for a Labour majority before the election day.

Labour kept a majority of 247 (was 254) over the Conservatives and 167 (was 189) over all other parties combined.

In Northern Ireland, the elections marked a move away from the peace progress, with the moderate Protestant and Catholic parties (UUP and SDLP) losing and the more extreme nationalist parties (DUP and Sinn Féin) winning.

Seat changes:

 				1997	gains	losses	2001
 Labour				419	2	8	413
 Conservatives			165	9	8	166
 Liberal Democrats		 46	8	2	 52
 Scottish National Party	  6	0	1	  5
 Plaid Cymru 	  
 (Welsh nationalists)             4	1	1	  4
 Independents			  1	1	1	  1
  
Northern Ireland:
 UUP (Ulster Unionists)          10	1	5	  6
 DUP (Democratic Unionists)       2	3	0	  5
 SDLP (Nationalists)              3	0	0	  3
 Sinn Féin (Republicans)	  2	2	0	  4
 others				  1	0	1	  0

Share of Votes:

 Labour			40.7%
 Conservatives		31.7%
 Liberal Democrats	18.3%
 others			 9.3%

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