The Liberal Democrats win 46 seats in the general election

In spite of the increase in seats, their best showing since the 1920s, the Liberal Democrats share of the vote fell by 1% to 16.8%. The party’s decision to move to a target seat strategy, focusing campaigning and resources on a select number of winnable seats, paid dividends. MPs elected for the first time included Vince Cable, Paul Burstow, David Heath, Ed Davey and Steve Webb, all of whom would go on to serve as ministers in the Coalition Government. The election saw the Conservatives removed from office, losing 178 seats. With Labour winning 418 seats, previous talk of a possible coalition or arrangement between the Liberal Democrats and Labour was shelved, although the parties did work together on a number of joint commissions, most notably towards the ‘Jenkins Report’ into reform of the electoral system.