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The Labour Party garnered just 1.6% of the vote in the Chesham and Amersham by-election.

When was the last time that a major party (Conservative or Labour) received <2% of the vote in a Great Britain1 constituency during parliamentary elections or by-elections?


1Including constituencies in England, Scotland and Wales only; excludes constituencies in Northern Ireland

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Azor Ahai's answer covers the situation with regard to general elections, but there are also a few notable by-election results for Labour - in 1997 and 1993. Technically the 1993 result is a few votes over 2%, but it's close enough! Interestingly, both by-elections were won by the Liberal Democrats.

The worst result for the Conservatives in terms of vote-share was at the 1995 North Down by-election, with 2.1%, but that's in Northern Ireland rather than Great Britain.

Year Constituency Electorate / Turnout Conservative (%) Labour (%)
1997 Winchester 79,161 / 54,384 15,450 (28.4%) 944 (1.7%)
1993 Newbury 90,503 / 57,399 15,535 (26.9%) 1,151 (2.0%)
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    Voters seem to be more willing to vote tactically in by-elections, which may explain these low Labour results. – Jack Aidley Jun 18 at 12:12
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Before 1955

I don't know enough about UK politics to know whether Conservative and Labour were both major parties, but in 1918 the Conservatives received 1.1% of the vote in Pontypridd, according to the results here.

Since 1955

(Original Answer) Excepting constituencies where the Speaker was standing for reelection, I do not believe this has happened since 1955 based on the data here, but perhaps an election at 2.2% is close enough?

Those data provide the total population, but here are the three lowest performances for either party:

Year Constituency Electorate / Turnout Conservative (%) Labour (%)
2010 Westmorland and Lonsdale 67,881 / 51,487 18,632 (36.2) 1,158 (2.2)
2005 Blaenau Gwent 53,301 / 35,251 816 (2.4) 11,384 (32.3)
1983 Isle of Wight 94,226 / 75,347 34,901 (51.0) 1,828 (2.4)
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    In 1918, the major parties were the Conservatives and the Liberals. – Joe C Jun 18 at 6:06
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    There's the 1935 Glasgow Bridgeton election as well - 2.18% for the Labour candidate. Not aware of any below 2% though. – CDJB Jun 18 at 8:19
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    @JoeC according to the linked Wikipedia article, not in Pontypridd (Labour were second with 43%). 1918 was the year of the Representation of the People Act, which really turned the electorate in Labour's favour by adding lots of working-class voters. Also the government at the time was a complex cross-party coalition which would complicate things further (the prime minister was a Liberal, but so were the official opposition) – Chris H Jun 18 at 13:24
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    @JoeC When did Labour become a "major party"? – Azor Ahai -him- Jun 18 at 13:57
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    @James_pic Well then luckily it was the Conservatives that had a <2% result in 1918, not the Liberals. – Azor Ahai -him- Jun 18 at 14:16

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