Election 2010 in historical perspective

The 2010 election must rank as one of the strangest in the history of the Liberal Democrats or its predecessor parties. Britains first-ever television debates saw the party catapulted into the front rank of news coverage. Yet after successive opinion polls regularly showed the Lib Dems in at least second place, the result was a crashing disappointment; although the party gained almost a million votes, the vagaries of the first-past-the-post electoral system meant that it lost a net five seats.

Yet in losing, the party won. The outcome of the election – a hung parliament – at last gave the Liberal Democrats a chance of power, and led to Britains first coalition government for sixty-five years.

Discuss the election campaign and its outcome with John Curtice (Professor of Politics, Strathclyde University), Dennis Kavanagh (author, ‘The British General Election of 2010’) and James Gurling (Chair, Liberal Democrat Campaigns & Communications Committee).

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