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United Kingdom general election, 1868


United Kingdom general election, 1868

United Kingdom general election, 1868

17 November–7 December 1868

All 658 seats to the House of Commons
327 seats needed for a majority
  First party Second party
Leader William Ewart Gladstone Benjamin Disraeli
Party Liberal Conservative
Leader since 3 December 1868 27 February 1868
Leader's seat Greenwich Buckinghamshire
Last election 369 seats, 59.5% 289 seats, 40.5%
Seats won 387 271
Seat change Increase 18 Decrease 18
Popular vote 1,428,776 903,318
Percentage 61.5% 38.4%
Swing Increase 2.0% Decrease 2.1%

PM before election

Benjamin Disraeli

Subsequent PM

William Ewart Gladstone

1859 election MPs
1865 election MPs
1868 election MPs
1874 election MPs
1880 election MPs

The 1868 United Kingdom general election was the first after passage of the Reform Act 1867, which enfranchised many male householders, thus greatly increasing the number of men who could vote in elections in the United Kingdom. It was the first election held in the United Kingdom in which more than a million votes were cast; nearly triple the number of votes were cast compared to the previous election.

The result saw the Liberals, led by William Ewart Gladstone, again increase their large majority over Benjamin Disraeli's Conservatives to more than 100 seats.

This was the last election at which all the seats were taken by only the two leading parties, although the parties at the time were loose coalitions and party affiliation was not listed on ballot papers.


387 271
Liberal Conservative
UK General Election 1868
Candidates Votes
Party Standing Elected Gained Unseated Net % of total % No. Net %
  Liberal 600 387 + 18 58.8 61.5 1,428,776 + 2.0
  Conservative 436 271 - 18 41.2 38.4 903,318 - 2.1
  Others 3 0 0 0 0 0.1 1,157 N/A

Total votes cast: 2,333,251


  • 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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