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United Kingdom general election, 1859


United Kingdom general election, 1859

United Kingdom general election, 1859

28 April–18 May 1859

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 377 seats, 65.9% 264 seats, 34.0%
Seats won 356 298
Seat change Decrease 21 Increase 34
Popular vote 372,117 193,232
Percentage 65.7% 34.3%
Swing Decrease 0.2% Increase 0.3%

PM before election

Lord Derby

Subsequent PM

Lord Palmerston

1852 election MPs
1857 election MPs
1859 election MPs
1865 election MPs
1868 election MPs

In the 1859 United Kingdom general election, the Whigs, led by Lord Palmerston, held their majority in the House of Commons over the Earl of Derby's Conservatives. This election is also considered to be the first to be contested by the Liberal Party - a name unofficially adopted to cover the alliance of Whigs, Peelites, Radicals and Irish Brigade who had previously voted against the Derby administration in the House of Commons that had led to the election. It was also the last general election entered by the Chartists, before their organisation was dissolved.


UK General Election 1859
Candidates Votes
Party Standing Elected Gained Unseated Net % of total % No. Net %
  Whig 298 356 - 21 54.4 65.7 372,117 - 0.2
  Conservative 394 298 + 34 45.6 34.3 193,232 + 0.3
  Chartist 1 0 0 0 0 0 0.0 151 - 0.1

Total votes cast: 565,500


  • 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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