1997 United Kingdom general election
A general election to select Members of Parliament in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom (UK) took place on 1st May 1997. The governing Conservatives under then-Prime Minister John Major defended its win in the 1990 general election against the Opposition party, the Labour Party, led by Tony Blair, the Leader of the Opposition at the time. The three main national parties - the Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats - contested 659 seats using the first past the post voting system alongside smaller parties, including those fielding candidates only in particular regions, such as the Scottish National Party in Scotland. Northern Ireland, being part of the UK, also elected MPs, but these parties do not contest seats in Great Britain.
The election saw Labour win with a landslide majority of 179, ending its 18-year period as the Opposition. The victory marked the start of what would be the longest period in government the party had experienced in its entire history, while the Conservatives would stay outside government for the longest time since the nineteenth century. The Conservatives also lost all their seats in Scotland and Wales, as well as many in the English cities; for many years, the party would largely represent rural and semi-rural English regions. John Major swiftly ended speculation that he might stay on as Opposition leader, and the party elected William Hague as party leader the following month.