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The European Elections in 1979

The first direct elections to the European Parliament took place in 1979: up to then the Parliament was composed of members appointed by and from national parliaments. The United Kingdom returned 81 MEPs.

The Conservatives won 60 seats with over forty eight cent of the vote, while Labour got 17 seats and a thirty one per cent share of the vote. The SNP won one seat in Scotland. The 78 British MEPs were elected on the first past the post system.

Northern Ireland elected 3 MEPs by proportional representation, using the single transferable vote system. The Democratic Unionist Party topped the poll with nearly 30% of the vote, followed by the SDLP with 24.5%. The third seat went to the Official Ulster Party with nearly 22% of the vote.

Table of Results: United Kingdom

Party Votes % of poll MEPs
Conservative6,508,49248.460
Labour4,253,24731.617
Liberal Party1,690,63812.6-
Scottish National Party247,8361.91
Plaid Cymru83,3990.6-
Democratic Unionist170,6881.31
SDLP140,6221.11
Official Ulster Unionist125,1690.91
Total Electorate: 41,559,460
Votes: 13,132,789
Turnout (UK): 31.6 %