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1802 United Kingdom general election

←  5 July – 28 August 1802 (1802-07-05 – 1802-08-28) 1806 →

All 658 seats in the House of Commons
330 seats needed for a majority
  First party Second party Third party
Leader Henry Addington Charles James Fox William Pitt
Party Addingtonian Foxite Pittite
Leader's seat Devizes Westminster Cambridge University
Seats won 383 269 6

The UK parliament after the 1802 election

Prime Minister before election

Henry Addington

Prime Minister after election

Henry Addington

The 1802 United Kingdom general election was the election to the House of Commons of the second Parliament of the United Kingdom. It was the first to be held after the Union of Great Britain and Ireland. The first Parliament had been composed of members of the former Parliaments of the Kingdom of Great Britain and the Kingdom of Ireland.

The Parliament of Great Britain held its last general election in 1796. The final election for the Parliament of Ireland was held in 1797.

The first united Parliament was dissolved on 29 June 1802. The new Parliament was summoned to meet on 31 August 1802, for a maximum seven-year term from that date. (The maximum term could be and normally was curtailed, by the monarch dissolving the Parliament, before its term expired.)

Political situation

Tory Prime Minister Henry Addington led a war-time administration of pro-government Whigs and Tories, collectively referred to as the "Addingtonians",[1] in office during part of the Napoleonic Wars.

The previous Prime Minister, William Pitt the Younger, had been out of office since 1801. King George III had forced Pitt to resign by refusing to agree to Catholic emancipation (allowing Catholics to sit in Parliament) following the Union. His faction in Parliament was generally supportive of the Addington ministry, but was semi-detached from it.

On 25 March 1802 the Treaty of Amiens brought about peace with France, with which Great Britain had been at war since 1792. The international situation remained uneasy and a renewal of war was still possible.

In the election the combination of the followers of Addington and Pitt comfortably defeated the Opposition Whigs of Charles James Fox.

Dates of election

At this period there was not one election day. After receiving a writ (a royal command) for the election to be held, the local returning officer fixed the election timetable for the particular constituency or constituencies he was concerned with. Polling in seats with contested elections could continue for many days.

The election took place over a period of almost two months. The time between the first and last contested elections was 5 July to 28 August 1802.

Summary of the constituencies

Key to categories in the following tables: BC – Borough/Burgh constituencies, CC – County constituencies, UC – University constituencies, Total C – Total constituencies, BMP – Borough/Burgh Members of Parliament, CMP – County Members of Parliament, UMP – University Members of Parliament.

Monmouthshire (1 County constituency with 2 MPs and one single member Borough constituency) is included in Wales in these tables. Sources for this period may include the county in England.

Table 1: Constituencies and MPs, by type and country

Country BC CC UC Total C BMP CMP UMP Total MPs
 England 202 39 2 243 404 78 4 486
 Wales 13 13 0 26 13 14 0 27
 Scotland 15 30 0 45 15 30 0 45
 Ireland 33 32 1 66 35 64 1 100
 Total 263 114 3 380 467 176 5 658

Table 2: Number of seats per constituency, by type and country

Country BCx1 BCx2 BCx4 CCx1 CCx2 UCx1 UCx2 Total C
 England 4 196 2 0 39 0 2 243
 Wales 13 0 0 12 1 0 0 26
 Scotland 15 0 0 30 0 0 0 45
 Ireland 31 2 0 0 32 1 0 66
 Total 63 198 2 42 72 1 2 380

See also