Boris Johnson did not win the largest Conservative majority in 44 years

12 June 2023
What was claimed

Boris Johnson won the largest general election majority for 44 years.

Our verdict

Incorrect. The Conservatives had larger majorities in 1983 and 1987 while Labour had larger majorities in 1997 and 2001.

What was claimed

Boris Johnson has never lost a campaign or election.

Our verdict

Mr Johnson lost to a Labour candidate during his first attempt to enter Parliament in 1997

Conservative peer Lord Cruddas, president of the Conservative Democratic Organisation, made incorrect claims on Twitter relating to the former Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s election record. After being contacted by Full Fact, he has now tweeted a correction.  

The original post, published on 11 June 2023, said: “Fact, @borisjohnson has never lost a campaign or election. 2019 General Election biggest majority in over 44 years. 2016 Brexit referendum and two London mayoral elections. He is a winning machine who can connect to voters. Hasta La vista !”

This is incorrect. 

Mr Johnson first stood for parliament in 1997 after being selected as the Conservative candidate for the Clwyd South seat in North Wales. He lost to Labour’s Martyn Jones, having received just over 9,000 votes compared to nearly 23,000 for Mr Jones.

It is true that Mr Johnson won two London mayoral elections, and helped lead the successful ‘Leave’ campaign during the 2016 Brexit referendum.

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Election majority

Boris Johnson led the Conservatives to victory in the 2019 general election with an 80 seat majority. This was the party’s largest winning margin since Margaret Thatcher won in 1987 with a majority of 102. 

However, Mrs Thatcher had achieved an even larger majority of 144 following the 1983 general election, 40 years ago. 

In addition, Labour’s majority after the 1997 election was significantly larger at 179 seats and, although this fell to 167 seats after the 2001 election, this was still more than double the majority achieved by Mr Johnson. 

After being contacted by Full Fact, Lord Cruddas agreed his tweet was not correct. He has since tweeted a correction

If a member of the House of Lords makes a false or misleading claim on social media, they should correct this quickly on the same platform where the claim was made. We are grateful that Lord Cruddas has done so in this case. 

Image courtesy of the House of Lords

We took a stand for good information.

As detailed in our fact check, Lord Cruddas tweeted a correction after we got in touch about this.

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