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The 1832 UK general election, the first after the Reform Act, saw the Whigs win a large majority, with the Tories winning less than 30% of the vote.


Total votes cast: 827,776

!Party Candidates Unopposed Seats
Whig 636 109 441
Tory 350 66 175
Repeal Association 51 14 42
Total 1,037 189 658

Voting summary

Seats summary

Parties and Leaders at the General Election

The Earl Grey had been Prime Minister since 22 November 1830. His was the first predominantly Whig administration since the Ministry of all the Talents in 1806-1807.

In addition to the Whigs themselves Grey was supported by Radical and other allied politicians. The Whigs and their allies were gradually coming to be referred to as Liberals, but no formal Liberal Party had been established at the time of this election, so all the politicians supporting the ministry are referred to as Whig in the above results.

The government Leader of the House of Commons since 1830, was Viscount Althorp (the heir of the Earl Spencer), who also served as Chancellor of the Exchequer.

The last Tory Prime Minister, at the time of the 1832 election, was the Duke of Wellington. After leaving government office, Wellington continued to lead the Tory peers and was the overall Leader of the Opposition.

The Tory Leader of the Opposition in the House of Commons, was Sir Robert Peel, Bt.

John Wilson Croker had used the term conservative in 1830, but the Tories at the time of this general election had not yet become generally known as the Conservative Party.

In Irish politics, Daniel O'Connell was continuing his campaign for repeal of the Act of Union. He had founded the Irish Repeal Association and it presented candidates independent of the two principal parties.

Dates of Election

Following the passage of the Reform Act 1832 and related legislation to reform the electoral system and redistribute constituencies, the tenth United Kingdom Parliamentmarker was dissolved on 3 December 1832. The new Parliament was summoned to meet on 29 January 1833, for a maximum seven year term from that date. The maximum term could be and normally was curtailed, by the monarch dissolving the Parliament, before its term expired.

At this period there was not one election day. After receiving a writ (a royal command) for the election to be held, the local returning officer fixed the election timetable for the particular constituency or constituencies he was concerned with. Polling in seats with contested elections could continue for many days.

The general election took place between December 1832 and January 1833. The first nomination was on 8 December, with the first contest on 10 December and the last contest on 8 January 1833. It was usual for polling in the University constituencies and in Orkney and Shetlandmarker to take place about a week after other seats. Disregarding contests in the Universities and Orkney and Shetland, the last poll was on 1 January 1833.

Summary of the Constituencies

For the distribution of constituencies in the Unreformed House of Commons, before this general election, see the United Kingdom general election, 1831. Apart from the disenfranchisement of Grampoundmarker for corruption in 1821 and the transfer of its two seats as additional members for Yorkshire from 1826, there had been no change in the constituencies of England since the 1670s. In some cases the county and borough seats had remained unaltered since the thirteenth century. Welsh constituencies had been unchanged since the sixteenth century. Those in Scotland had remained the same since 1708 and in Ireland since 1801.

In 1832 politicians were facing an unfamiliar electoral map, as well as an electorate including those qualified under a new uniform householder franchise in the boroughs. However the reform legislation had not removed all the anomalies in the electoral system.

Table of Largest and Smallest Electorates 1832, by country, type and number of seats
Country Type Seats Largest




England Borough 1 Salford 1,497 Reigate 153
2 Westminster 11,576 Thetford 146
4 City of London 18,584 ... ...
County 1 Isle of Wightmarker 1,167 ... ...
2 West Riding of Yorkshire 18,056 Rutland 1,296
3 Cambridgeshire 6,435 Oxfordshire 4,721
University 2 Oxford University 2,496 Cambridge University 2,319
Wales Borough 1 Flint Boroughs 1,359 Brecon 242
County 1 Pembrokeshire 3,700 Merionethshire 580
2 Carmarthenshire 3,887 Denbighshire 3,401
Scotland Burgh 1 Aberdeen 2,024 Wigtown Burghs 316
2 Glasgow 6,989 Edinburgh 6,048
County 1 Perthshire 3,180 Sutherland 84
Ireland Borough 1 Carrickfergus 1,024 Lisburn 91
2 Dublin 7,008 Waterford 1,241
County 2 County Cork 3,835 County Kildare 1,112
University 2 Dublin University 2,073 ... ...

Key to categories in the following tables: BC - Borough/Burgh constituencies, CC - County constituencies, UC - University constituencies, Total C - Total constituencies, BMP - Borough/Burgh Members of Parliament, CMP - County Members of Parliament, UMP - University Members of Parliament.

Monmouthshiremarker (1 County constituency with 2 MPs and one single member Borough constituency) is included in Wales in these tables. Sources for this period may include the county in England.

Table 1: Constituencies and MPs, by type and country
Country BC CC UC Total C BMP CMP UMP Total MPs
England 186 68 2 256 322 142 4 468
Wales 15 13 0 28 15 17 0 32
Scotland 21 30 0 51 23 30 0 53
Ireland 33 32 1 66 39 64 2 105
Total 255 143 3 401 399 253 6 658

Table 2: Number of seats per constituency, by type and country
Country BCx1 BCx2 BCx4 CCx1 CCx2 CCx3 UCx2 Total C
England 52 133 1 1 60 7 2 256
Wales 15 0 0 9 4 0 0 28
Scotland 19 2 0 30 0 0 0 51
Ireland 27 6 0 0 32 0 1 66
Total 113 141 1 40 96 7 3 401

See also


  • 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)
  • Parliamentary Election Results in Ireland 1801-1922, edited by B.M. Walker (Royal Irish Academy 1978)
  • Spartacus: Political Parties and Election Results

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