Labour vs Conversative: the numbers behind the election

by InvestEngine

Which party is better for markets? This chart shows the average annualised returns for the UK market under both Conservative and Labour leadership since 1970:


Source: Bloomberg. The UK market is MSCI UK Net Total Return in GBP between June 1970 and July 2024. Past performance is no indication of future returns. Capital at risk. 

While the chart shows Labour being more friendly for UK plc, since 1970 the Conservatives have been in power for twice as long as labour. Labour have only seen 4 PMs since 1970 and have been in power for 18 years versus 8 PMs for the Conservatives over 36 years. Meaning that despite lower annualised returns, because they’ve been in power for longer, cumulatively investors would’ve been better off investing under Conservatives. £100 would have grown to £4,902 under the Conservatives, but only £447 under Labour:  


Source: Bloomberg. The UK market is MSCI UK Net Total Return in GBP between June 1970 and July 2024. Past performance is no indication of future returns. Capital at risk.

However, letting political beliefs get in the way of a buy-and-hold strategy has been costly. If investors had simply held that £100 through all political regimes, the same £100 would be worth £21,893 today: 


Source: Bloomberg. The UK market is MSCI UK Net Total Return in GBP between June 1970 and July 2024. Past performance is no indication of future returns. Capital at risk. 

Which Prime Ministers have been the best for markets? The table below shows all Prime Ministers since 1970 ranked by UK market annualised returns:


Prime MinisterPartyTotal return over termAnnualised return
Harold WilsonLabour47%20%
Jim CallaghanLabour74%20%
Margaret ThatcherConservative488%17%
John MajorConservative159%16%
Rishi SunakConservative24%13%
David Cameron/Nick CleggConservative/Liberal Democrat54%9%
Theresa MayConservative26%8%
Tony BlairLabour92%7%
Edward HeathConservative26%6%
Boris JohnsonConservative10%3%
David CameronConservative1%1%
Gordon BrownLabour-9%-3%
Liz TrussConservative-4%-25%
Source: Bloomberg. The UK market is MSCI UK Net Total Return in GBP between June 1970 and July 2024. Past performance is no indication of future returns. Capital at risk. 


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Capital at risk. The value of your portfolio with InvestEngine can go down as well as up and you may get back less than you invest. ETF costs also apply.

This communication is provided for general information only and should not be construed as advice. If in doubt you may wish to consult a professional adviser for guidance.

Tax treatment depends on personal circumstances and is subject to change, and past performance is not a reliable indicator of future returns.

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