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United Kingdom general election, 1857

United Kingdom general election, 1857

27 March–24 April 1857

All 654 seats in the House of Commons
328 seats needed for a majority
  First party Second party
Leader The Viscount Palmerston The Earl of Derby
Party Whig Conservative
Leader since 6 February 1855 July 1846
Leader's seat Tiverton Earl of Derby
Last election 324 seats, 57.9% 330 seats, 41.9%
Seats won 377 264
Seat change Increase 53 Decrease 66
Popular vote 464,127 239,712
Percentage 65.9% 34.0%
Swing Increase 7.0% Decrease 7.9%

PM before election

Lord Palmerston

Subsequent PM

Lord Palmerston

1847 election MPs
1852 election MPs
1857 election MPs
1859 election MPs
1865 election MPs

In the 1857 United Kingdom general election, the Whigs, led by Lord Palmerston, finally won a majority in the House of Commons as the Conservative vote fell significantly. The election had been provoked by a vote of censure in Palmerston's government over his approach to the Arrow affair which led to the Second Opium War.


  • Results 1
    • Summary 1.1
    • Seats summary 1.2
  • References 2


United Kingdom General Election 1857
Candidates Votes
Party Standing Elected Gained Unseated Net % of total % No. Net %
  Whig 507 377 + 53 64.9 464,127 + 7.0
  Conservative 351 264 - 66 33.5 239,712 - 7.1
  Others 19 13 13 0 + 13 1.7 12,099 N/A
  Chartist 1 0 0 0 0 0.1 614 - 0.1

Total votes cast: 716,552. "Others" are mostly Irish Independent Opposition. The Conservative total votes cast and MPs includes around 26 Peelites - some reference works claim it was as few as 18.


Popular vote

Seats summary

Parliamentary seats


  • F. W. S. Craig, British Electoral Facts: 1832-1987
  • British Electoral Facts 1832-1999, compiled and edited by Colin Rallings and Michael Thrasher (Ashgate Publishing Ltd 2000)
  • Spartacus: Political Parties and Election Results
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