Reasons for Labour's defeat:
- Timing of the election.
Although by the time Atlee had called a general election, the economy had recovered greatly, the election was held in Febuary 1950, before the full extent of recovery was fully realised. As a result, many voters were still influenced over the 'national humiliation' from the belief that the economy was in great danger due to the 1949 devaluation. This led to Labour losing their overall majority. Dalton commented in his diarty: 'We have office... without power'. It could be arugued that if Atlee had waited a few months longer before calling the election, public perceptions of the economy may have differed immensely.
To add to Labour's dilemmas, economic recovery was falting again in 1951 because of the impact of the Korean war and the expense of rearmament. If the Labour party had been able to remain in power for a bit longer, they may have benefitted greatly from the improved economic situation that was emerging in 1952.
- Divisions within the Labour Party.
It was in 1951 that perscription and dental charges were brought in, disappointing many who had previously voted Labour in belief of Bevan's free health service. The issue led to open quarrels within the Labour Party - primarily between Bevan, Minister Of health, and Gaitskell, Chancellor of Exchequer. The 'Bevanites'…