Leeds nostalgia: Three week delay for 1945 General Election result

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On this day in 1945, politicians were playing the sympathy violin because they were being forced to wait up to three weeks for their election results to be announced.

The reason for the delay was to allow time for the votes from serving soldiers to be delivered and counted.

It meant that instead of finding out the result on the night of the poll, or the morning just after, would-be members of parliament were being forced to endure an agonising wait.

One poor soul moaned: “I am doing arithmetic all day long and sometimes when I am asleep... my only consolation is my opponent must be having the same nightmares.”

Another grumbled: “I am sitting in my committee room feeling like a deflated balloon which has been blown up for weeks. It’s a terribly flat feeling but it’s grand to take the loudspeaker and bills from my car and once again be a normal person.”

Despite the General Election having taken place on July 5, it was not until July 26 the final result was declared.

The result was an unexpected landslide victory for Clement Attlee’s Labour Party, over Winston Churchill’s Conservatives, giving Labour its first majority government, and a mandate to implement its postwar reforms.

That didn’t stop people speculating about the results beforehand, however. Many commentators believed Labour would do well from the election, not least because polling day had been bright and sunny, a fact which was said to be of benefit to Labour candidates, especially in areas where most people did not have cars.

The 1945 Labour administration resulted in the creation of the National Health Service and the welfare state.