Churchill was anxious to keep the Coalition in being after the European war ended in May 1945, but Labour bowed to the widespread demand in the party for an election. Churchill headed a caretaker government until the result was declared on 26 July. Labour’s huge victory astonished virtually everyone, although Gallup polls had shown a Labour lead since the early 1940s: but no one then took much notice of polls. Labour polled 2 million votes more than the Conservatives, gaining 393 seats to the latter’s 210. The Liberals got just 12. Ever since, historians have tried to explain the result.