Polling day in the 1950 general election

The Conservatives gain 90 seats but Clement Atlee’s Labour Party hangs on with a majority of five. The Liberal Party led for the first time by Clement Davies fielded 475 candidates, the largest number since 1929. The party arranged for the cost fielding these extra candidates to be offset by insurance with Lloyds of London against more than 50 candidates losing their deposits. However the tactic only produced a marginal increase in the Liberal vote, while 319 Liberal candidates lost their deposits – a record which was only exceeded in 2015. Only 9 Liberals were returned. Of the Liberals elected in 1945, Tom Horabin had joined Labour, and Gwilym Lloyd George fought as a Liberal National, while William Gruffydd retired following the abolition of his University of Wales seat. Two major blows were the defeats of Frank Byers by 97 votes in Dorset North and Wilfrid Roberts fighting the new constituency of Penrith and the Border. This was offset by three gains: Archie MacDonald in Roxborough and Selkirk and two figures who were to play important roles in the party in the 1950s and 60s – Jo Grimond in Orkney and Shetland and Donald Wade in Huddersfield West. The 1950 election was the first election to be broadcast on the BBC – presented by Richard Dimbleby with expert commentary from R.B. McCallum and David Butler.