1964 United Kingdom general election
The 1964 United Kingdom general election was held on 15 October 1964, five years after the previous election, thirteen years after the Conservative Party, first led by Winston Churchill, had entered power. It resulted in the Conservatives, now led by its fourth leader, Sir Alec Douglas-Home, narrowly losing the election to the Labour Party, led by Harold Wilson, with Labour having an overall majority of four seats, it resulted in Labour ending its thirteen years in opposition and led to Wilson to become, at the time, the youngest Prime Minister in more than 150 years. Both major parties had changed leadership in 1963. Douglas-Home shortly afterwards disclaimed his title under the Peerage Act 1963 in order to lead the party from the Commons. Macmillan had led the Conservative government since January 1957. Despite initial popularity and a resounding election victory in 1959, he had become unpopular in the early-1960s, while it was for a while thought that the Conservatives would win the scheduled 1964 general election, albeit with a reduced majority, the emergence of the Profumo affair in March 1963 and Macmillan's handling of the matter all but destroyed the credibility of his government.
While he survived a vote of no confidence in June 1963, polling indicated that the Conservatives would lose the next election if Macmillan remained in power, along with health issues, caused Macmillan to announce his resignation in the autumn of 1963. Douglas-Home faced a difficult task in rebuilding the party's popularity with just a year elapsing between taking office and having to face a general election. Wilson had begun to try to tie the Labour Party to the growing confidence of Britain in the 1960s, asserting that the "white heat of revolution" would sweep away "restrictive practices... on both sides of industry". The Liberal Party enjoyed a resurgence after a virtual wipeout in the 1950s, doubled its share of the vote at the expense of the Conservatives. Although Labour did not increase its vote share the fall in support for the Conservatives led to Wilson securing an overall majority of four seats; this proved to be unworkable, Wilson called a snap election in 1966. The pre-election campaign was prolonged, as Douglas-Home delayed calling a general election to give himself as much time as possible to improve the prospects of his party.
The election campaign formally began on 15 September 1964 when Douglas-Home saw the Queen and asked for a dissolution of Parliament. The campaign was dominated by some of the more voluble characters of the political scene at the time. While George Brown, deputy leader of the Labour Party, toured the country making energetic speeches, Quintin Hogg was a leading spokesman for the Conservatives; the image of Hogg lashing out at a Wilson poster with his walking stick was one of the most striking of the campaign. Many party speakers at televised rallies, had to deal with hecklers; the election night was broadcast live by the BBC, was presented for the fifth and final time by Richard Dimbleby, with Robin Day, Ian Trethowan, Cliff Michelmore and David Butler. NOP: Lab swing 3.5% Gallup: Lab swing 4% Research Services: Lab swing 2.75% Daily Express: Lab swing of 1.75% The election resulted in a slim majority of four seats for the Labour Party, so they were in government for the first time since 1951.
Labour achieved a swing of just over 3%, although its vote rose by only 0.2%. The main shift was the swing from the Conservatives to the Liberals of 5.7%. The Liberals won nearly twice as many votes as in 1959 because they had 150 more candidates. Wilson became Prime Minister; the four-seat majority was not sustainable for a full Parliament, Wilson called another general election in 1966. In particular the small majority meant the government could not implement its policy of nationalising the steel industry, due to the opposition of two of its backbenchers, Woodrow Wyatt and Desmond Donnelly; this was the only election in Britain's recent history when all seats were won by the three main parties: no minor parties, independents or splinter groups won any seats. It was the last election in which one party, namely the Conservative Party, contested every single seat; the Conservatives had held off on contesting certain Liberal-held seats as per local-level agreements to avoid vote-splitting, but ended that policy at this election.
The resultant splitting of votes helped grant Labour a majority, by throwing two Liberal-held seats in northern England to Labour. All comparisons are with the 1959 election. In some cases the change is due to the MP defecting to the gaining party; such circumstances are marked with a *. In other circumstances the change is due to the seat having been won by the gaining party in a by-election in the intervening years, retained in 1964; such circumstances are marked with a †. Both BBC and ITV provid
Liberal Party (UK)
The Liberal Party was one of the two major parties in the United Kingdom with the opposing Conservative Party in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The party arose from an alliance of Whigs and free trade Peelites and Radicals favourable to the ideals of the American and French Revolutions in the 1850s. By the end of the 19th century, it had formed four governments under William Gladstone. Despite being divided over the issue of Irish Home Rule, the party returned to government in 1905 and won a landslide victory in the following year's general election. Under Prime Ministers Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman and H. H. Asquith, the Liberal Party passed the welfare reforms that created a basic British welfare state. Although Asquith was the party's leader, its dominant figure was David Lloyd George. Asquith was overwhelmed by the wartime role of coalition Prime Minister and Lloyd George replaced him as Prime Minister in late 1916, but Asquith remained as Liberal Party leader; the pair fought for years over control of the party.
Historian Martin Pugh in The Oxford Companion to British History argues: Lloyd George made a greater impact on British public life than any other 20th-century leader, thanks to his pre-war introduction of Britain's social welfare system. Furthermore, in foreign affairs, he played a leading role in winning the First World War, redrawing the map of Europe at the peace conference, partitioning Ireland; the government of Lloyd George was dominated by the Conservative Party, which deposed him in 1922. By the end of the 1920s, the Labour Party had replaced the Liberals as the Conservatives' main rival; the party went into decline after 1918 and by the 1950s won no more than six seats at general elections. Apart from notable by-election victories, its fortunes did not improve until it formed the SDP–Liberal Alliance with the newly formed Social Democratic Party in 1981. At the 1983 general election, the Alliance won over a quarter of the vote, but only 23 of the 650 seats it contested. At the 1987 general election, its share of the vote fell below 23% and the Liberal and Social Democratic parties merged in 1988 to form the Liberal Democrats.
A splinter group reconstituted the Liberal Party in 1989. It was formed by party members opposed to the merger who saw the Liberal Democrats diluting Liberal ideals. Prominent intellectuals associated with the Liberal Party include the philosopher John Stuart Mill, the economist John Maynard Keynes and social planner William Beveridge; the Liberal Party grew out of the Whigs, who had their origins in an aristocratic faction in the reign of Charles II and the early 19th century Radicals. The Whigs were in favour of increasing the power of Parliament. Although their motives in this were to gain more power for themselves, the more idealistic Whigs came to support an expansion of democracy for its own sake; the great figures of reformist Whiggery were Charles James Fox and his disciple and successor Earl Grey. After decades in opposition, the Whigs returned to power under Grey in 1830 and carried the First Reform Act in 1832; the Reform Act was the climax of Whiggism, but it brought about the Whigs' demise.
The admission of the middle classes to the franchise and to the House of Commons led to the development of a systematic middle class liberalism and the end of Whiggery, although for many years reforming aristocrats held senior positions in the party. In the years after Grey's retirement, the party was led first by Lord Melbourne, a traditional Whig, by Lord John Russell, the son of a Duke but a crusading radical, by Lord Palmerston, a renegade Irish Tory and a conservative, although capable of radical gestures; as early as 1839, Russell had adopted the name of "Liberals", but in reality his party was a loose coalition of Whigs in the House of Lords and Radicals in the Commons. The leading Radicals were John Bright and Richard Cobden, who represented the manufacturing towns which had gained representation under the Reform Act, they favoured social reform, personal liberty, reducing the powers of the Crown and the Church of England, avoidance of war and foreign alliances and above all free trade.
For a century, free trade remained the one cause. In 1841, the Liberals lost office to the Conservatives under Sir Robert Peel, but their period in opposition was short because the Conservatives split over the repeal of the Corn Laws, a free trade issue; this allowed ministries led by Russell and the Peelite Lord Aberdeen to hold office for most of the 1850s and 1860s. A leading Peelite was William Ewart Gladstone, a reforming Chancellor of the Exchequer in most of these governments; the formal foundation of the Liberal Party is traditionally traced to 1859 and the formation of Palmerston's second government. However, the Whig-Radical amalgam could not become a true modern political party while it was dominated by aristocrats and it was not until the departure of the "Two Terrible Old Men", Russell and Palmerston, that Gladstone could become the first leader of the modern Liberal Party; this was brought about by Palmerston's death in 1865 and Russell's retirement in 1868. After a brief Conservative government, Gladstone won a huge victory at the 1868 election and formed the first Liberal government.
Scottish National Party
The Scottish National Party is a Scottish nationalist and social-democratic political party in Scotland. The SNP campaigns for Scottish independence, it is the second-largest political party by membership in the United Kingdom, behind the Labour Party and ahead of the Conservative Party. The current Scottish National Party leader, Nicola Sturgeon, has served as First Minister of Scotland since November 2014. Founded in 1934 with the amalgamation of the National Party of Scotland and the Scottish Party, the party has had continuous parliamentary representation in Westminster since Winnie Ewing won the 1967 Hamilton by-election. With the establishment of the devolved Scottish Parliament in 1999, the SNP became the second-largest party, serving two terms as the opposition; the SNP gained power at the 2007 Scottish Parliament election, forming a minority government, before going on to win the 2011 Parliament election, after which it formed Holyrood's first majority government. It was reduced back to a minority government at the 2016 election.
The SNP is the largest political party in Scotland in terms of both seats in the Westminster and Holyrood parliaments, membership, reaching 125,482 members as of August 2018, 35 MPs and over 400 local councillors. The SNP currently has 2 MEPs in the European Parliament, who sit in The Greens/European Free Alliance group; the SNP is a member of the European Free Alliance. The party does not have any members of the House of Lords, as it has always maintained a position of objecting to an unelected upper house; the SNP was formed in 1934 through the merger of the National Party of Scotland and the Scottish Party, with Robert Bontine Cunninghame Graham as its first president. Professor Douglas Young, the leader of the Scottish National Party from 1942 to 1945 campaigned for the Scottish people to refuse conscription and his activities were popularly vilified as undermining the British war effort against the Axis powers. Young was imprisoned for refusing to be conscripted; the SNP first won a parliamentary seat at the Motherwell by-election in 1945, but Robert McIntyre MP lost the seat at the general election three months later.
They next won a seat in 1967, when Winnie Ewing was the surprise winner of a by-election in the safe Labour seat of Hamilton. This brought the SNP to national prominence, leading to the establishment of the Kilbrandon Commission; the SNP hit a high point in the October 1974 general election, polling a third of all votes in Scotland and returning 11 MPs to Westminster. This success was not surpassed until the 2015 general election. However, the party experienced a large drop in its support at the 1979 General election, followed by a further drop at the 1983 election. In the 2007 Scottish Parliamentary general election, the SNP emerged as the largest party with 47 seats, narrowly ousting the Scottish Labour Party with 46 seats and Alex Salmond became Scottish First Minister; the Scottish Green Party supported Salmond's election as First Minister, his subsequent appointments of ministers, in return for early tabling of the climate change bill and the SNP nominating a Green MSP to chair a parliamentary committee.
In May 2011, the SNP won an overall majority in the Scottish Parliament with 69 seats. This was a significant feat as the additional member system used for Scottish Parliament elections was designed to prevent one party from winning an outright majority. Based on their 2011 majority, the SNP government held a referendum on Scottish independence in 2014; the "No" vote prevailed in a close-fought campaign, prompting the resignation of First Minister Alex Salmond. Forty-five percent of Scottish voters cast their ballots for independence, with the "Yes" side receiving less support than late polling predicted; the SNP rebounded from the loss in the independence referendum at the UK general election in May 2015, led by Salmond's successor as first minister, Nicola Sturgeon. The party went from holding six seats in the House of Commons to 56 at the expense of the Labour Party. All but three of the fifty-nine constituencies in the country elected an SNP candidate. BBC News described the historic result as a "Scots landslide".
At the 2016 Scottish Parliament election, the SNP lost a net total of 6 seats, losing its overall majority in the Scottish Parliament, but returning for a third consecutive term as a minority government. The party gained an additional 1.1% of the constituency vote from the 2011 election, losing 2.3% of the regional list vote. On the constituency vote, the SNP gained 11 seats from Labour, but lost the Edinburgh Southern constituency to the party; the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats each gained two constituency seats from the SNP on 2011. At the United Kingdom general election, 2017 the SNP underperformed compared to polling expectations, losing 21 seats to bring their number of Westminster MPs down to 35; this was attributed by many, including former Deputy First Minister John Swinney, to their stance on holding a second Scottish independence referendum and saw a swing to the Unionist parties, with seats being picked up by the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats and a reduction in their majorities in the other seats.
Stephen Gethins, MP for North East Fife, came o
Labour Party (UK)
The Labour Party is a centre-left political party in the United Kingdom, described as an alliance of social democrats, democratic socialists and trade unionists. The party's platform emphasises greater state intervention, social justice and strengthening workers' rights; the Labour Party was founded in 1900, having grown out of the trade union movement and socialist parties of the nineteenth century. It overtook the Liberal Party to become the main opposition to the Conservative Party in the early 1920s, forming two minority governments under Ramsay MacDonald in the 1920s and early 1930s. Labour served in the wartime coalition of 1940-1945, after which Clement Attlee's Labour government established the National Health Service and expanded the welfare state from 1945 to 1951. Under Harold Wilson and James Callaghan, Labour again governed from 1964 to 1970 and 1974 to 1979. In the 1990s Tony Blair took Labour closer to the centre as part of his "New Labour" project, which governed the UK under Blair and Gordon Brown from 1997 to 2010.
After Corbyn took over in 2015, the party has moved leftward. Labour is the Official Opposition in the Parliament of the United Kingdom, having won the second-largest number of seats in the 2017 general election; the Labour Party is the largest party in the Welsh Assembly, forming the main party in the current Welsh government. The party is the third largest in the Scottish Parliament. Labour is a member of the Party of European Socialists and Progressive Alliance, holds observer status in the Socialist International, sits with the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament; the party includes semi-autonomous Scottish and Welsh branches and supports the Social Democratic and Labour Party in Northern Ireland. As of 2017, Labour had the largest membership of any party in Western Europe; the Labour Party originated in the late 19th century, meeting the demand for a new political party to represent the interests and needs of the urban working class, a demographic which had increased in number, many of whom only gained suffrage with the passage of the Representation of the People Act 1884.
Some members of the trades union movement became interested in moving into the political field, after further extensions of the voting franchise in 1867 and 1885, the Liberal Party endorsed some trade-union sponsored candidates. The first Lib–Lab candidate to stand was George Odger in the Southwark by-election of 1870. In addition, several small socialist groups had formed around this time, with the intention of linking the movement to political policies. Among these were the Independent Labour Party, the intellectual and middle-class Fabian Society, the Marxist Social Democratic Federation and the Scottish Labour Party. At the 1895 general election, the Independent Labour Party put up 28 candidates but won only 44,325 votes. Keir Hardie, the leader of the party, believed that to obtain success in parliamentary elections, it would be necessary to join with other left-wing groups. Hardie's roots as a lay preacher contributed to an ethos in the party which led to the comment by 1950s General Secretary Morgan Phillips that "Socialism in Britain owed more to Methodism than Marx".
In 1899, a Doncaster member of the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants, Thomas R. Steels, proposed in his union branch that the Trade Union Congress call a special conference to bring together all left-wing organisations and form them into a single body that would sponsor Parliamentary candidates; the motion was passed at all stages by the TUC, the proposed conference was held at the Memorial Hall on Farringdon Street on 26 and 27 February 1900. The meeting was attended by a broad spectrum of working-class and left-wing organisations—trades unions represented about one third of the membership of the TUC delegates. After a debate, the 129 delegates passed Hardie's motion to establish "a distinct Labour group in Parliament, who shall have their own whips, agree upon their policy, which must embrace a readiness to cooperate with any party which for the time being may be engaged in promoting legislation in the direct interests of labour." This created an association called the Labour Representation Committee, meant to co-ordinate attempts to support MPs sponsored by trade unions and represent the working-class population.
It had no single leader, in the absence of one, the Independent Labour Party nominee Ramsay MacDonald was elected as Secretary. He had the difficult task of keeping the various strands of opinions in the LRC united; the October 1900 "Khaki election" came too soon for the new party to campaign effectively. Only 15 candidatures were sponsored. Support for the LRC was boosted by the 1901 Taff Vale Case, a dispute between strikers and a railway company that ended with the union being ordered to pay £23,000 damages for a strike; the judgement made strikes illegal since employers could recoup the cost of lost business from the unions. The apparent acquiescence of the Conservative Government of Arthur Balfour to industrial and business interests intensified support for the LRC against a government that appeared to have little concern for the industrial proletariat and its problems. In the 1906 election, the LRC won 29 seats—helped by a secret 1903 pact between Ramsay MacDonald and Liberal Chief Whip Herbert Gladstone that aimed to avoid splitting the opposition vote between Labour and Liberal candidates in the interest of removing the Conservatives from office.
In their first meeting after the election the group's Members of Parliament decided to adop
Orkney and Shetland (UK Parliament constituency)
Orkney and Shetland is a constituency of the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It elects one Member of Parliament by the first past the post system of election. In the Scottish Parliament and Shetland are separate constituencies; the constituency was known as Orkney and Zetland. The British parliamentary constituency was created in 1708 following the Acts of Union, 1707 and replaced the former Parliament of Scotland shire constituency of Orkney & Zetland; the constituency is made up of the two island groups and Shetland. A constituency of this name has existed continuously since 1708. However, before 1918 the town of Kirkwall formed part of the Northern Burghs constituency, it is the most northerly of the 650 UK Parliament constituencies. The constituency is one of three "protected constituencies", the others being Na h-Eileanan an Iar and the Isle of Wight, defining constituency boundaries by geography rather than by size of electorate; the constituency contains the areas of the Shetland Islands Council.
Before 2011 the constituency had been unique in having its boundaries protected by legislation. The constituency has the second smallest electorate of any UK parliamentary constituency, after Na h-Eileanan an Iar; the constituency has elected only Liberal and Liberal Democrat MPs since 1950. At each general election from 1955 until 1979, in 1987, 2010 and again in 2017 it was the safest Liberal Democrat seat in the UK. At the 2015 general election, it was the only seat in Scotland to return a Liberal Democrat MP. Two years in 2017, the Lib Dems gained three more seats in Scotland. General election 1939/40: Another general election was required to take place before the end of 1940; the political parties had been making preparations for an election to take place and by the Autumn of 1939, the following candidates had been selected. F. W. S. Craig, British Parliamentary Election Results 1918 – 1949 F. W. S. Craig, British Parliamentary Election Results 1885 – 1918 F. W. S. Craig, British Parliamentary Election Results 1832 – 1885 Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "O" BBC Vote 2001 BBC Election 2005 Guardian Unlimited Politics UK general elections since 1832 http://www.psr.keele.ac.uk/
Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher, was a British stateswoman who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990 and Leader of the Conservative Party from 1975 to 1990. She was the longest-serving British prime minister of the 20th century and the first woman to hold that office. A Soviet journalist dubbed her "The'Iron Lady'", a nickname that became associated with her uncompromising politics and leadership style; as Prime Minister, she implemented policies known as Thatcherism. She studied chemistry at Somerville College and worked as a research chemist, before becoming a barrister. Thatcher was elected Member of Parliament for Finchley in 1959. Edward Heath appointed her Secretary of State for Education and Science in his Conservative government. In 1975, Thatcher defeated Heath in the Conservative Party leadership election to become Leader of the Opposition, the first woman to lead a major political party in the United Kingdom, she became Prime Minister after winning the 1979 general election.
Thatcher introduced a series of economic policies intended to reverse high unemployment and Britain's struggles in the wake of the Winter of Discontent and an ongoing recession. Her political philosophy and economic policies emphasised deregulation, flexible labour markets, the privatisation of state-owned companies, reducing the power and influence of trade unions. Thatcher's popularity in her first years in office waned amid recession and rising unemployment, until victory in the 1982 Falklands War and the recovering economy brought a resurgence of support, resulting in her decisive re-election in 1983, she survived an assassination attempt in the Brighton hotel bombing in 1984. Thatcher was re-elected for a third term in 1987, but her subsequent support for the Community Charge was unpopular, her views on the European Community were not shared by others in her Cabinet, she resigned as Prime Minister and party leader in November 1990, after Michael Heseltine launched a challenge to her leadership.
After retiring from the Commons in 1992, she was given a life peerage as Baroness Thatcher which entitled her to sit in the House of Lords. In 2013, she died of a stroke in London at the age of 87. Always a controversial figure, she is nonetheless viewed favourably in historical rankings of British prime ministers, her tenure constituted a realignment towards neoliberal policies in the United Kingdom. Margaret Hilda Roberts was born on 13 October 1925, in Lincolnshire, her parents were Alfred Roberts, from Northamptonshire, Beatrice Ethel, from Lincolnshire. She spent her childhood in Grantham. In 1938, prior to the Second World War, the Roberts family gave sanctuary to a teenage Jewish girl who had escaped Nazi Germany. Margaret, with her pen-friending elder sister Muriel, saved pocket money to help pay for the teenager's journey. Alfred Roberts was an alderman and a Methodist local preacher, brought up his daughter as a strict Wesleyan Methodist, attending the Finkin Street Methodist Church.
He stood as an Independent. He served as Mayor of Grantham in 1945–46 and lost his position as alderman in 1952 after the Labour Party won its first majority on Grantham Council in 1950. Margaret Roberts attended Huntingtower Road Primary School and won a scholarship to Kesteven and Grantham Girls' School, a grammar school, her school reports showed continual improvement. She was head girl in 1942–43. In her upper sixth year she applied for a scholarship to study chemistry at the University of Oxford's Somerville College, a women's college at the time, but she was rejected and was offered a place only after another candidate withdrew. Roberts arrived at Oxford in 1943 and graduated in 1947 with Second-Class Honours, in the four-year Chemistry Bachelor of Science degree, specialising in X-ray crystallography under the supervision of Dorothy Hodgkin, her dissertation was on the structure of the antibiotic gramicidin. Thatcher did not devote herself to studying chemistry as she only intended to be a chemist for a short period of time.
While working on the subject, she was thinking towards law and politics. She was prouder of becoming the first Prime Minister with a science degree than becoming the first woman, as Prime Minister attempted to preserve Somerville as a women's college. During her time at Oxford, she was noted for her isolated and serious attitude, her first boyfriend, Tony Bray, recalled that she was "very thoughtful and a good conversationalist. That's what interested me, she was good at general subjects". Her enthusiasm for politics as a girl made him think of her as "unusual". Bray met Roberts' parents and described them as "slightly austere" and "very proper". At the end of the term at Oxford, Bray became more distant and hoped for their relationship to "fizzle out". Bray recalled that he thought Roberts had taken the relationship more than he had done; when asked about Bray in life, Thatcher prevaricated but acknowledged the circumstances between herself and Bray. Roberts became President of the Oxford University Conservative Association in 1946.
She was influenced at university by political works such as Friedrich Hayek's The Road to Serfdom, which condemned economic intervention by government as a
Leonard James Callaghan, Baron Callaghan of Cardiff known as Jim Callaghan, was a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1976 to 1979 and Leader of the Labour Party from 1976 to 1980. So far the only holder of all four of the Great Offices of State, Callaghan served as Chancellor of the Exchequer, Home Secretary and Foreign Secretary prior to his appointment as Prime Minister; as Prime Minister, he had some successes, but is remembered for the "Winter of Discontent" of 1978–79. During a cold winter, his battle with trade unions led to immense strikes that inconvenienced the public, leading to his defeat in the polls by Conservative leader Margaret Thatcher. Callaghan was the last Prime Minister born before the First World War. Upon entering the House of Commons in 1945, he was on the left wing of the party. Callaghan moved towards the right, but maintained his reputation as "The Keeper of the Cloth Cap"—that is, he was seen as dedicated to maintaining close ties between the Labour Party and the trade unions.
Callaghan's period as Chancellor of the Exchequer coincided with a turbulent period for the British economy, during which he had to wrestle with a balance of payments deficit and speculative attacks on the pound sterling. On 18 November 1967, the government devalued the pound sterling. Callaghan became Home Secretary, he sent the British Army to support the police in Northern Ireland, after a request from the Northern Ireland Government. After Labour was defeated at the 1970 general election, Callaghan played a key role in the Shadow Cabinet, he became Foreign Secretary in 1974, taking responsibility for renegotiating the terms of the UK's membership of the European Communities, supporting a "Yes" vote in the 1975 referendum to remain in the EC. When Prime Minister Harold Wilson resigned in 1976, Callaghan defeated five other candidates to be elected as his replacement. Labour had lost its narrow majority in the House of Commons by the time he became Prime Minister, further by-election defeats and defections forced Callaghan to deal with minor parties such as the Liberal Party in the "Lib–Lab pact" from 1977 to 1978.
Industrial disputes and widespread strikes in the 1978 "Winter of Discontent" made Callaghan's government unpopular, the defeat of the referendum on devolution for Scotland led to the successful passage of a motion of no confidence on 28 March 1979. This was followed by a defeat at the ensuing general election. Callaghan remained Labour Party leader until November 1980, in order to reform the process by which the party elected its leader, before returning to the backbenches where he remained until he was made a life peer as Baron Callaghan of Cardiff, he went on to live longer than any other British prime minister in history -- 364 days. Leonard James Callaghan was born at 38 Funtington Road, Portsmouth, England, on 27 March 1912, he took his middle name from his father, the son of an Irish Catholic father who had fled to England during the Great Irish Famine, a Jewish mother. Callaghan's father ran away from home in the 1890s to join the Royal Navy, he rose to the rank of Chief Petty Officer.
His mother was Charlotte Callaghan an English Baptist. As the Catholic Church at the time refused to marry Catholics to members of other denominations, James Callaghan senior abandoned Catholicism and married Charlotte in a Baptist chapel, their first child was Dorothy Gertrude Callaghan. James Callaghan senior served in the First World War on board the battleship HMS Agincourt. After he was demobbed in 1919, he joined the Coastguard and the family moved to the town of Brixham in Devon, however he died only two years of a heart attack in 1921 at the age of 44, leaving the family without an income, forced to rely on charity to survive, their financial situation was improved in 1924 when the first Labour government was elected, introduced changes allowing Mrs Callaghan to be granted a widows pension of ten shillings a week, on the basis that her husband's death was due to his war service. In his early years, Callaghan was known by his first name Leonard, when he entered politics in 1945 he decided to be known by his middle name James, from on he was referred to as James or Jim.
He attended Portsmouth Northern Secondary School. He gained the Senior Oxford Certificate in 1929, but could not afford entrance to university and instead sat the Civil Service entrance exam. At the age of 17, Callaghan left to work as a clerk for the Inland Revenue at Maidstone in Kent. While working as a tax inspector, Callaghan joined the Maidstone branch of the Labour Party and the Association of the Officers of Taxes a trade union for those in his profession, and within a year of joining he became the office secretary of the union. In 1932 he passed a Civil Service exam which enabled him to become a senior tax inspector, that same year he became the Kent branch secretary of the AOT; the following year he was elected to the AOT's national executive council. In 1934, he was transferred to Inland Revenue offices in London. Following a merger of unions in 1936, Callaghan was appointed a full-time union official and to the post of Assistant Secretary of the Inland Revenue Staff Federation, resigned from his Civil Service duties.
During his time working as a tax inspector in the early-1930s, Callaghan met his future wife Audrey Moulton, an