Bolting to the ballot box: Snap elections through history

With Britons about to vote in a snap election, Sarah Richardson reveals eight other years when the government sprang a surprise poll on the public

British Conservative leader Margaret Thatcher faces the press outside London's Europa Hotel following her victory in the leadership election, 20 February 1975. (Photo by Frank Barratt/Keystone/Getty Images)

1710: Embattled Whigs gamble – and lose

Why was it called? 
Early 1710 saw the ruling Whig party coming under pressure on a number of fronts. Firstly, they failed to negotiate peace in the War of the Spanish Succession, thus losing popularity with a public (and monarch) weary of the costs of war.

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