1983 General Election: A Tory landslide as Labour tears itself apart

Labour's defeat in 1979 was followed by the party swinging to the left, electing the veteran socialist Michael Foot as leader. This led to several senior Labour leaders leaving the party to found the Social Democratic Party, which formed a pact with the Liberals and stood as the Alliance. Labour's manifesto for this election, calling for leaving the European Union, scrapping nuclear weapons and abolishing the House of Lords, was subsequently dubbed the longest suicide note in history. Meanwhile, although Margaret Thatcher's economic policies caused initial unpopularity, victory in the Falklands War gave a big boost to Conservative fortunes. The result was that votes were almost equally split between Labour and the Liberal/SDP Alliance, giving the Tories the most decisive victory since Labour's in 1945, although in fact the Conservative total vote dropped slightly relative to 1979.

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