Fifty years of decline

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Indy Politics

Electoral turnout has steadily declined in Britain in the past 50 years. In 2001 it reached the lowest level since the "khaki election" of 1918 - and the lowest of any post-war election in Europe.

Electoral turnout has steadily declined in Britain in the past 50 years. In 2001 it reached the lowest level since the "khaki election" of 1918 - and the lowest of any post-war election in Europe.

Turnout recovered marginally this year, to 60.9 per cent. But this small recovery was not great enough to convince the Government that there is no crisis in political engagement in Britain.

The rise in turnout has been attributed to a boost in activity in marginal seats, where the true battles in the general election were fought this time.

Turnout rose in seats where political parties bothered to mount concerted campaigns.

In other parts of the country, where the outcome in safe seats was seen as a foregone conclusions, voters complained that they were being ignored by the political parties.

The low turnout in 2001 and 2005 has been attributed to the feeling that the result was a foregone conclusion - so votes "would not count".

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