In July 1945, voters gave Labour a mandate to build a new Britain
With many exhausted from war, Labour offered voters a programme of universal health care, full employment and a welfare state. This resonated more strongly with the British electorate than Conservative notions of granting India ‘dominion’ status.
A DAY TO REMEMBER
Polling day saw record numbers of turnout. Nearly 73 per cent of voters went to their local polling stations, which were set up in makeshift locations. This one was at the Italian Hospital in Holborn – its bricked-up windows a hangover from the war.
The results of the election were not announced until nearly three weeks after polling day, to allow votes to arrive from electors still serving abroad. The firstLabour prime minister, Clement Attlee, pictured here in Westminster, emerged victorious. The 12 per cent swing in favour of Labour came as a shock to all – not least to Attlee himself.