Jeremy Corbyn just made history with the greatest increase in Labour’s vote share since 1945
Labour’s vote share exceeded the levels won by Tony Blair when Labour last won a majority at a general election.
As we wait to see if Theresa May can stitch together an alliance to form the next government one striking conclusion from Thursday’s general election is already clear: Jeremy Corbyn has made history by securing Labour’s highest increase in the vote since 1945.
The 40.1%* national share of the vote for Labour under Jeremy Corbyn on Thursday surpasses the levels secured by Tony Blair in 2005, the last time Labour won a majority at a general election.
And the result is the third best share of the vote for Labour since 1974 as the graph below shows.
Jeremy Corbyn has made history by securing Labour’s greatest increase in the vote share since 1945.
This increased vote share reverses the trend of an almost constant fall over the past 20 years, with the exception of Ed Miliband’s small increase in 2015.
But perhaps most extraordinarily, the increase of 9.7% in Labour’s share of the vote since the 2015 election is the greatest such increase since 1945. In fact, it is the second highest ever increase since the party was founded, falling just behind the 9.8% increase achieved by the Attlee government in 1945.
The results in England are also interesting, with Labour’s vote there an impressive 42.1%, higher than its national average given that Labour polled below this in Scotland, securing 27.1% there in Thursday’s vote. In contrast the last time Labour won a general election, it only secured 35.5% in England. This is a clear rebuttal to those who have repeatedly argued that Corbyn is a liability for Labour in England.
This is the third best share of the vote for Labour in over 40 years.
Looking at the absolute number of votes, the results are just as historic. Corbyn has added 3.45m Labour votes since 2015. Again this is the greatest increase between two elections since 1945, falling just short of the 3.64m votes added in 1945. It is also 75% greater than the 1.96m votes added by Blair between the 1992 and 1997 general elections.
This surge in the numbers voting Labour is especially important given that after Tony Blair was first elected in 1997, Labour lost five million votes through to 2010 as its vote share collapsed to 29%. Although Ed Miliband helped to reverse this trend, by the 2015 general election Labour’s vote was still four million down on the 1997 high-point. It is under Corbyn and his For the Many not the Few manifesto that nearly all of those votes lost under Blair have now been won back.
Over the coming hours and days we will find out who will be the next Prime Minister and which parties will form the next government. But Thursday’s historic results show that, whoever that is, Jeremy Corbyn has finally put the Labour Party back on the path to victory.
*Figures are based on results for 646 of the 650 seats contested