The election was caused by the defeat of James Callaghan’s government in a confidence vote. The Liberal Party fielded 579 candidates, a decline from the October 1974 election and the vote fell by about a million votes to 4.3 million. The party held on to the majority of its seats, including the recent by-election victory in Liverpool Edge Hill. However, the party lost three seats – Devon North, Cornwall North and Montgomery. Given the recent adverse publicity generated by the Lib-Lab Pact and the committal of former leader Jeremy Thorpe, many Liberals breathed a sigh of relief that the results hadn’t been worse.