The Alliance between the Liberal and Social Democratic parties had very variable electoral fortunes in its first three years. During the euphoria ofits first months, it touched 50% in the opinion polls when Shirley Williams had just won the Crosby by-election of November 1981. But the early dreams of a breakthrough waned with the Falklands war and the Conservative recovery. By the time of the general election in June 1983 it was almost a surprise that the Alliance came so close to being the second party, winning 26% of the vote as against Labour’s 28%. Yet, with only 23 seats to Labour’s 209, the Alliance had failed to establish a bridgehead at Westminster. Thereafter, as the Alliance leaders intensified their campaign for a fairer voting system, they looked with particular interest to the European Parliament, with its long term commitment to a common electoral system (which would necessarily involve proportional representation).
KeywordsEuropean Economic Community Press Conference Social Democratic Party European Election Joint Selection
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