Labour gov 1966-70

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The 1966 Election; why did Labour win?


·         As the economy improved and with England preparing for a World Cup finals at home

·         Wilson called an election for 31st March

·         new Conservative leader, Edward Heath was still new to the job and appeared stiff and ill at ease and Wilson found him easy to outshine in the Commons.

·         Wilson was personally popular among the public, whereas Heath was disliked by a lot of Conservative supporters.

·         In the campaigning, Wilson took centre stage and shone.;he was in his element.

·         Labour did remarkably well, winning 48% of the vote and gained seats outside of their traditional northern, industrial areas

·         complete vindication for Wilson and with a majority of 97 in Parliament he could now go about forming the cabinet he really wanted and implementing the policies he really believed in

·         His second government was to become best known for the social reforms it introduced.


Social Reforms.

·         ushering in a new, modern phase of British social history and social relations, and modernising British society

·         Certainly, much more than any of the economic struggles, the changes to what became called ‘the civilised society’ were to effect ordinary people.

·         largely laid down by Roy Jenkins, Home Secretary between 1965 and 196

·         His successor, James Callaghan followed the programme Jenkins had begun.

·         without the support of the government, none of these would have become law

·         Jenkins enabled them to become law by supporting these bills.

·         Jenkins fermented and era of progressive thinking and attitudes in which reform became more than acceptable; it became expected. As Jenkins himself noted;

·         many who that Britain had become too permissive, and that these reforms would lead to socially irresponsible behaviour.


The Abortion Act 1967

·         In1950s as many as 100 000 illegal abortions took place every year; huge medical risks to these

·         This act permitted the termination of a pregnancy if there was serious risk to the mental or physical wellbeing of the mother

·         allowed a termination of there was a good chance that the baby would be born with serious abnormalities

·         hailed by feminists, as it gave women ‘the right to choose’, but hugely criticised by others as state sanctioned murder.

·         attempted to limit the amount of unwanted pregnancies with the Family Planning Act 1967 which gave access to contraception to single women.


Divorce Reform Act 1969

·         greater freedom to divorce if both members of a couple agreed to it

·         it ended years of abuse, suffering and unhappiness/encouraged the break-up of the family


The Sexual Offences Act 1967

·         permitted male homosexual acts in


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