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Encyclopedia > Elections in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom

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This article is part of the series:
Politics of the United Kingdom,
Subseries of the Politics series Image File history File links Flag_of_the_United_Kingdom. ... The politics of the United Kingdom are based upon a unitary state and a constitutional monarchy. ... Look up Politics in Wiktionary, the free dictionary Politics (disambiguation) Democracy History of democracy List of democracy and elections-related topics List of years in politics List of politics by country articles Political corruption Political economy Political movement Political parties of the world Political party Political psychology Political sociology Political...

The Houses of Parliament, seen over Westminster Bridge The Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the supreme legislative institution in the United Kingdom and British overseas territories (it alone has parliamentary sovereignty). ... This article describes the British monarchy from the perspective of the United Kingdom. ... Queen Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor), born 21 April 1926, is the Queen regnant of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Antigua and... This article is about the British House of Lords. ... The Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain, or Lord Chancellor and in former times Chancellor of England, is one of the most senior and important functionaries in the government of the United Kingdom. ... Lord Falconer of Thoroton The Right Honourable Charles Leslie Falconer, Baron Falconer of Thoroton, PC (born 19 November 1951) is a British lawyer and Labour Party politician. ... The House of Commons is the lower house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, and is now the dominant branch of Parliament. ... In the United Kingdom, the Speaker of the House of Commons is the presiding officer of the House of Commons, and is seen historically as the First Commoner of the Land. ... Michael Martin The Right Honourable Michael John Martin (born July 3, 1945, Glasgow, Scotland) is the Speaker of the House of Commons in the United Kingdom. ... In the United Kingdom, the Prime Minister is the head of government, exercising many of the executive functions nominally vested in the Sovereign, who is head of state. ... The Right Honourable Anthony Charles Lynton Blair (born 6 May 1953) is the current Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, First Lord of the Treasury and Minister for the Civil Service. ... In the Politics of the United Kingdom, the Cabinet is a formal body comprised of government officials chosen by the kp. ... The Government of the United Kingdom contains a number of Ministries, known in the United Kingdom as Government Departments. ... The Scottish Parliament (Pàrlamaid na h-Alba in Gaelic, Scots Pairlament in Scots) is the national unicameral legislature of Scotland. ... The term Scottish Executive is used in two distinct but closely related senses. ... This article does not cite its references or sources. ... The Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) (Welsh: Llywodraeth Cynulliad Cymru, LlCC) is the executive body of the National Assembly for Wales, consisting of the First Minister and his Cabinet. ... The logo of the Northern Ireland Assembly is a six flowered linen or flax plant, chosen for the plants historical economic importance to the region. ... The Northern Ireland Executive as established by the Northern Ireland Act 1998 is the (currently suspended) executive body for Northern Ireland, answerable to the Northern Ireland Assembly. ... The United Kingdom is made up of four parts - England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. ... The Greater London Authority (GLA) administers the 1579 sq. ... The UK general election, 2001 was held on 7 June 2001 and was dubbed the quiet landslide by the media. ... The governing Labour Party, led by Tony Blair, was looking to secure a third consecutive term in office and to retain a large majority. ... The next United Kingdom general election must be held on or before 3 June, 2010. ... Political parties in the United Kingdom lists political parties in the United Kingdom. ...

Politics portal

The United Kingdom has five distinct types of elections: general, local, regional, European and mayoral. Elections are traditionally held on Thursday, see Election Day (United Kingdom). General and local elections do not have fixed dates, but must be within five years of the last election. Five different electoral systems are currently used: single member plurality system (First Past the Post), Party list, Single Transferable Vote, Additional Member System and Supplementary Vote. An election is a decision making process whereby people vote for preferred political candidates or parties to act as representatives in government. ... Thursday, by international standard, is the fourth day of the week, falling between Wednesday and Friday. ... Election Day in the United Kingdom is by tradition a Thursday, but the date for general elections is not fixed by law. ... The first-past-the-post electoral system is a voting system for single-member districts, variously called first-past-the-post (FPTP or FPP), winner-take-all, plurality voting, or relative majority. ... The plurality voting system, also known as first past the post, is a voting system used to elect a single winner in a given election. ... Party-list proportional representation systems are a family of voting systems used in multiple-winner elections (e. ... This STV ballot for the Australian Senate illustrates group voting tickets. ... The Additional Member System (AMS) is a voting system in which some representatives are elected from geographic constituencies and others are elected under proportional representation from party lists. ... The Supplementary Vote (SV) is a voting system used for the election of a single candidate. ...

Contents


Eligibility

Anyone legally resident in the UK who is a citizen of the UK, the Republic of Ireland, or of a Commonwealth country, and who is 18 or over on the date of the election is eligible to vote, provided they are on the Electoral Register, unless they are currently a member of the House of Lords, imprisoned for a criminal offence, mentally incapable of making a reasoned judgement, or have been convicted of corrupt or illegal practices in connection with an election within the previous five years. Voting is not compulsory. In addition, whilst UK, Irish and Commonwealth citizens may register to vote in all elections, European Union nationals resident in the UK may register to vote in local and European elections. The Commonwealth of Nations, usually known as The Commonwealth, is an association of independent sovereign states, almost all of which are former territories of the British Empire. ... This article is about the British House of Lords. ...


In theory, members of the Royal Family, including the Monarch, are eligible to vote, although in practice it would be seen as unconstitutional if they ever did. UK citizens who have moved abroad remain eligible to vote for 15 years thereafter. They would vote for the MP of the constituency in which they lived before they moved abroad. This is also applicable to people who were under 18 before they moved abroad; when they reach 18 they can vote. "Service voters" - including forces personnel, diplomats and other public servants resident overseas - are also eligible. Voters must appear on the electoral register in order to vote; they can now be added to the register until eleven working days before the election. The electoral register in 2000 listed 44,423,440 people registered to vote in the UK, of whom 36,994,211 were in England. Members of the Royal Family on the balcony of Buckingham Palace after the Trooping the Colour ceremony The British Royal Family is a group of people closely related to the British monarch. ... This article is about the year 2000. ...


The right of Irish and Commonwealth citizens to vote is strange by the standards of elections across the world, as citizenship and the right to vote are usually synonymous. It is a legacy of the Representation of the People Act 1918, which limited the vote to British subjects. At that time, "British subjects" included the people of Ireland — then part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland — and all other parts of the British Empire. Though Ireland (see Ireland Act 1949) and the colonies became independent nations, their citizens have retained the right to vote in the UK if they live in the UK. Citizenship is membership in a political community (originally a city but now usually a state), and carries with it rights to political participation; a person having such membership is a citizen. ... The Representation of the People Act 1918 widened suffrage by abolishing practically all property qualifications for men and by enfranchising women over 30 who met minimum property qualifications. ... The Union Flag, in its modern form, was first adopted in 1801. ... The British Empire was the worlds first global power and the largest empire in history. ... The Ireland Act 1949 is a UK Act of Parliament which was intended to deal with the consequences of the then recently passed Republic of Ireland Act 1948 as passed by the Irish parliament (Oireachtas). ...


Party system

A pre-election husting at the Oxford West and Abingdon constituency, England.
A pre-election husting at the Oxford West and Abingdon constituency, England.

Traditionally, the UK has had a two party system, arising from the use of the First-Past-The-Post system for general and local elections. Duverger's law's certainly seems borne out in the history of British parliamentary politics. Before World War I, Britain had a true two-party system, the main parties being the Tories (which became the Conservative Party) and the Whigs (which became the Liberal Party), though after Catholic Emancipation there was also a substantial Irish Parliamentary Party. After World War II, the dominant parties have been Conservative and Labour. No third party has come close to winning a parliamentary majority. Download high resolution version (1760x1168, 561 KB) A husting in the Oxford West and Abingdon constituency, 2005-02-04 File links The following pages link to this file: Election Oxford United Kingdom general elections Political campaign Elections in the United Kingdom Husting Pre-election day events of the United Kingdom... Download high resolution version (1760x1168, 561 KB) A husting in the Oxford West and Abingdon constituency, 2005-02-04 File links The following pages link to this file: Election Oxford United Kingdom general elections Political campaign Elections in the United Kingdom Husting Pre-election day events of the United Kingdom... Husting (Old English: hiesting; Old Norwegian: hzesthing), the thing or ting, i. ... Oxford West and Abingdon is a constituency represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. ... A two-party system is a type of party system where only two political parties have a realistic chance of winning an election. ... Duvergers Law is a principle which asserts that a first-past-the-post election system or in other words, a Single-member, Simple-plurality system, naturally leads to a two-party system. ... This article does not cite its references or sources. ... The Conservative Party is the largest political party on the right-of-centre in the United Kingdom. ... While the Whigs (along with the Tories) are often described as one of the two political parties in late 17th to mid 19th century Great Britain, it is more accurate to describe them as loose political groupings or tendencies. ... The Liberal Party was one of the two major British political parties from the early 19th century until the 1920s, and a third party of varying strength and importance up to 1988, when it merged with the Social Democratic Party to form a new party which would become known as... Catholic Emancipation was a process in Great Britain and Ireland in the late 18th century and early 19th century which involved reducing and removing many of the restrictions on Roman Catholics which had been introduced by the Act of Uniformity and the Test Acts. ... In 1882 Charles Stewart Parnell, the leader of the Nationalist Party, formed the Irish Parliamentary Party (IPP), replacing the Home Rule League, as a parliamentary party with strict rules. ... The Labour Party is the principal centre-left political party in the United Kingdom (see British politics). ...


However, some have challenged the view that Britain still has a two party system, since the Liberal Democrats have won around 15%-25% of the votes in recent elections. The Liberal Democrats won 62 of the 646 seats in the House of Common in the recent 2005 elections, and several nationalist (regional) groupings sit, leading some spectators to regard the Westminster parliament as a "two and a half" party system. The Liberal Democrats, often shortened to Lib Dems, are a liberal political party based in the United Kingdom. ... The governing Labour Party, led by Tony Blair, was looking to secure a third consecutive term in office and to retain a large majority. ...


Smaller parties receive many more votes (and seats) in the elections using a proportional system, which are the regional elections for the Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly, Northern Ireland Assembly and London Assembly, and the European Parliament elections. Regional parties, such as the Scottish National Party or Plaid Cymru receive many more votes than at general or local elections, and at European elections, the UK Independence Party and Green Party of England and Wales perform better. It can be argued that in these elections, there is a multi-party system. The Scottish Parliament (Pàrlamaid na h-Alba in Gaelic, Scots Pairlament in Scots) is the national unicameral legislature of Scotland. ... The National Assembly for Wales (or NAW) (Welsh: Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru) was established in 1998, following a 1997 referendum in which a small majority of voters (but not the electorate) voted in favour of the Labour Governments plans for devolution. ... The logo of the Northern Ireland Assembly is a six flowered linen or flax plant, chosen for the plants historical economic importance to the region. ... The London Assembly is an elected body that supervises the Greater London Authority and the Mayor of London. ... The European Parliament is the parliamentary body of the European Union (EU), directly elected by EU citizens once every five years. ... In Scotland, the Scottish National Party (SNP) (Pàrtaidh Nàiseanta na h-Alba in Scottish Gaelic) is a centre-left political party which campaigns for Scottish independence. ... Listen to this article · (info) This audio file was created from the revision dated 2005-07-12, and does not reflect subsequent edits to the article. ... The United Kingdom Independence Party (commonly known as UKIP, pronounced you-kip) is a right-wing political party that aims at British withdrawal from the European Union. ... This article is about the green parties around the world. ... A multi-party system is a type of party system. ...


It is relatively easy to stand for election as an independent candidate, although wins are very rare and usually involve special circumstances (for example Martin Bell's 1997 victory against the discredited Conservative MP Neil Hamilton was aided by the major parties standing aside and not contesting the election). Following the 2005 general election, there are 3 independent MPs, the highest number since 1945. To stand as a candidate in a particular constituency, a British citizen needs the signatures of 10 people registered to vote there, and pay a deposit of £500 (which is returned if he/she gains more than 5% of the vote in that seat). [1]. For the British skier of the same name, please see Martin Bell (skier). ... Mostyn Neil Hamilton (born March 13, 1949) is a former Conservative MP in the United Kingdom. ...


General elections

Summary of the 2005 Election results

UK general election 2005
Party Seats Gains Losses Net Gain/Loss Seats % Votes % Votes +/-
  Labour 356 0 47 -47 55.2 35.3 9,562,122 -5.5%
  Conservative 198 36 3 +33 30.7 32.3 8,772,598 +0.6%
  Liberal Democrats 62 16 5 +11 9.6 22.1 5,981,874 +3.7%
  UK Independence 0 0 0 0 0 2.2 603,298 +0.8%
  Scottish National Party 6 2 0 +2 0.9 1.5 412,267 -0.3%
  Green 0 0 0 0 0 1.0 257,758 +0.4%
  Democratic Unionist 9 4 0 +4 1.4 0.9 241,856 +0.2%
  British National 0 0 0 0 0 0.7 192,746 +0.5%
  Plaid Cymru 3 0 1 -1 0.5 0.6 174,838 -0.1%
  Sinn Féin 5 1 0 +1 0.8 0.6 174,530 -0.1%
  Ulster Unionist 1 0 5 -5 0.2 0.5 127,414 -0.3%
  Social Democratic & Labour 3 1 1 0 0.5 0.5 125,626 -0.1%
  Respect 1 1 0 +1 0.2 0.3 68,094 N/A
  Scottish Socialist Party 0 0 0 0 0 0.2 43,514 -0.1%
  Veritas 0 0 0 0 0 0.1 40,481 N/A
  Alliance (NI) 0 0 0 0 0 0.1 28,291 0.0%
  Scottish Green Party 0 0 0 0 0 0.1 25,760 +0.1%
  Socialist Labour 0 0 0 0 0 0.1 20,192 0.0%
  Liberal 0 0 0 0 0 0.1 19,068 0.0%
  Health Concern 1 0 0 0 0.2 0.1 18,739 0.0%
  English Democrats 0 0 0 0 0 0.1 14,506
  Socialist Alternative 0 0 0 0 0 0.0 9,398 N/A
  National Front 0 0 0 0 0 0.0 8,079 0.0%
  Legalise Cannabis 0 0 0 0 0 0.0 6,985 0.0%
  Community Action 0 0 0 0 0 0.0 6,557 N/A
  Monster Raving Loony 0 0 0 0 0 0.0 6,311 0.0
  Christian Vote 0 0 0 0 0 0.0 4,004 N/A
  Mebyon Kernow 0 0 0 0 0 0.0 3,552 0.0%
  Forward Wales 0 0 0 0 0 0.0 3,461 N/A
  Christian Peoples 0 0 0 0 0 0.0 3,291 N/A
  Rainbow Dream Ticket 0 0 0 0 0 0.0 2,463 N/A
  Community Group 0 0 0 0 0 0.0 2,365 N/A
  Ashfield Independents 0 0 0 0 0 0.0 2,292
  Alliance for Green Socialism 0 0 0 0 0 0.0 1,978
  Residents' Association of London 0 0 0 0 0 0.0 1,850
  Workers Party 0 0 0 0 0 0.0 1,669 0.0%
  Socialist Environmental 0 0 0 0 0 0.0 1,649 N/A
  Scottish Unionist 0 0 0 0 0 0.0 1,266 0.0%
  Workers' Revolutionary 0 0 0 0 0 0.0 1,143 0.0%
  New England Party 0 0 0 0 0 0.0 1,224
  Communist 0 0 0 0 0 0.0 1,124
  The Community (London Borough of Hounslow) 0 0 0 0 0 0.0 1,118
  Peace and Progress 0 0 0 0 0 0.0 1,036
  Scottish Senior Citizens 0 0 0 0 0 0.0 1,017 N/A
  Your Party 0 0 0 0 0 0.0 1,006
Graph showing the number of Members of Parliament elected to the House of Commons since 1918 for the three main parties.
Graph showing the number of Members of Parliament elected to the House of Commons since 1918 for the three main parties.

The Labour Party is the principal centre-left political party in the United Kingdom (see British politics). ... The Conservative Party is the largest political party on the right-of-centre in the United Kingdom. ... The Liberal Democrats, often shortened to Lib Dems, are a liberal political party based in the United Kingdom. ... The United Kingdom Independence Party (commonly known as UKIP, pronounced you-kip) is a Eurosceptic political party that aims at British withdrawal from the European Union. ... In Scotland, the Scottish National Party (SNP) (Pàrtaidh Nàiseanta na h-Alba in Scottish Gaelic) is a centre-left political party which campaigns for Scottish independence. ... The Green Party of England and Wales emerged as a distinct party in the 1990s. ... The Democratic Unionist Party is a hardline unionist party in Northern Ireland led by Ian Paisley. ... The British National Party (BNP) is the largest political party of the far-right in the United Kingdom. ... Listen to this article · (info) This audio file was created from the revision dated 2005-07-12, and does not reflect subsequent edits to the article. ... It has been suggested that Sinn Féin (Kevin Street) be merged into this article or section. ... The Ulster Unionist Party (UUP, sometimes referred to as the Official Unionist Party or OUP) is a unionist political party in Northern Ireland, and was the party of government in Northern Ireland between 1921 and 1972. ... The Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP — Irish: Páirtí Sóisialta Daonlathach an Lucht Oibre) is the smaller of the two major nationalist parties in Northern Ireland. ... RESPECT The Unity Coalition is a left wing British political party founded on January 25, 2004 in London. ... This article deals with the Scottish Socialist Party that was formed in 1998. ... Veritas is a United Kingdom political party, formed in 2005 as a split from the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP). ... The Alliance Party of Northern Ireland (APNI), is a political party operating in Northern Ireland. ... The Scottish Green Party is the Green party in Scotland, and a full member of the European Federation of Green Parties. ... The Socialist Labour Party (SLP) is a small left-wing political party in the United Kingdom. ... The Liberal Party is a minor United Kingdom political party. ... Independent Kidderminster Hospital and Health Concern (often known by the shorter name Health Concern) is a political party based in Kidderminster, England. ... The English Democrats Party, previously the English National Party, is a political party in England, which seeks the establishment of a Parliament for England with at least the same powers as those granted to the Scottish Parliament. ... The Socialist Party is a Trotskyist political party active in England and Wales and part of the Committee for a Workers International. ... In the United Kingdom, the British National Front (most commonly called the National Front or NF) is a far right-wing political party that had its heyday during the 1970s and 80s. ... Cannabis leaves The Legalise Cannabis Alliance (LCA) is a political party registered in the United Kingdom with the cannabis leaf image as its emblem. ... The Community Action Party is a British political party mostly active in Cheshire and Greater Manchester. ... The Official Monster Raving Loony Party (OMRLP) is a registered political party established in the United Kingdom in 1983 by musician and anti-politician David Sutch, also known as Screaming Lord Sutch. ... Operation Christian Vote (OCV) is a minor British Political Party founded in May 2004. ... Mebyon Kernow (Cornish for Sons of Cornwall, often abbrieviated MK) is a political party in the United Kingdom. ... Forward Wales (or Cymru Ymlaen in Welsh) is a political party operating in Wales. ... This article reads like an advertisement. ... Vote For Yourself Rainbow Dream Ticket is a United Kingdom Political party which advocates the abolition of parliament in favour of devolution to city states and decision-making by referendum. ... Community Group are a political party in the United Kingdom whose representative Martin Williams contested the constituency of Doncaster North at the 2005 general election, receiving 2,365 votes (the elected Labour MP, Ed Miliband, received 19,788 votes). ... Ashfield Independents are a political party in the United Kingdom whose representative, Roy Adkins, contested the 2005 general election in the constituency of Ashfield, obtaining 2,292 votes (the elected Labour MP, Geoff Hoon, received 20,433 votes). ... The Alliance for Green Socialism is a socialist grouping based in Leeds in the United Kingdom. ... The Workers Party (in Irish Páirtí na nOibrithe) is an Irish left wing political party that evolved from Official Sinn Féin. ... The Socialist Environmental Alliance (SEA) are a minor political party operating in Northern Ireland. ... The Scottish Unionist Party (SUP) is a small political party operating in Scotland. ... The Workers Revolutionary Party was a Trotskyist political party in the United Kingdom. ... New England Party are a political party in the United Kingdom whose representative Michael Tibby contested the constituency of Dartford at the 2005 general election, receiving 1,224 votes (the elected Labour MP, Howard Stoate, received 19,909 votes). ... The Communist Party of Britain is a small socialist party operating in the United Kingdom, although it chooses not to be active in Northern Ireland where the Communist Party of Ireland works. ... This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ... The Scottish Senior Citizens Unity Party (SSCUP) were formed in February 2003, in time to contest that years elections to the Scottish Parliament. ... Your Party was formed at the beginning of 2004. ... Image File history File links Graph showing the number of Members of Parliament elected to the House of Commons since 1918 for the three main parties. ... Image File history File links Graph showing the number of Members of Parliament elected to the House of Commons since 1918 for the three main parties. ... A Member of Parliament, or MP, is a representative elected by the voters of an electoral district to a parliament; in the Westminster system, specifically to the lower house. ... The House of Commons is the lower house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, and is now the dominant branch of Parliament. ... 1918 (MCMXVIII) was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar (see link for calendar) or a common year starting on Wednesday of the Julian calendar. ...

Summary

United Kingdom general elections are the elections held when the Members of Parliament (MPs) forming the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom are elected. Following the Parliament Act 1911, parliamentary sessions last a maximum of five years, and are ended with the dissolution of Parliament. Therefore elections are not fixed, and the time is chosen by the governing party to maximise political advantage. The next election is due on or before 3 June 2010. A Member of Parliament, or MP, is a representative elected by the voters of an electoral district to a parliament; in the Westminster system, specifically to the lower house. ... British House of Commons Canadian House of Commons In some bicameral parliaments of a Westminster System, the House of Commons has historically been the name of the elected lower house. ... The Houses of Parliament, seen over Westminster Bridge The Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the supreme legislative institution in the United Kingdom and British overseas territories (it alone has parliamentary sovereignty). ... The Palace of Westminster, also known as the Houses of Parliament. ... The next United Kingdom general election must be held on or before 3 June, 2010. ... June 3 is the 154th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (155th in leap years), with 211 days remaining. ... 2010 (MMX) is a common year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar. ...


Candidates aim to win particular geographic constituencies in the United Kingdom (UK). Each constituency elects one MP by the first past the post system of election. At the 2005 general election, there were 646 constituencies, thus 646 MPs were elected to Parliament. Boundary changes in Scotland reduced the number of MPs from 659 at the 2001 election to 646. The party with the most seats, i.e. the most seats, forms the government, and the second largest party form Her Majesty's Opposition. Almost all candidates are members of a political party and the majority of voters in the UK choose who to vote for based on the candidates' parties, rather than the personalities or opinions of the individual candidates. Loyal Opposition is the concept that one can be opposed to the actions of the government of the day without being opposed to the constitution of the political system. ...


Timing

Months before an election had been called, the incumbent party already displayed campaign posters. This one is seen in Brighton in mid-January, 2005.
Months before an election had been called, the incumbent party already displayed campaign posters. This one is seen in Brighton in mid-January, 2005.

A general election must take place before each parliamentary term begins. Since the maximum term of a parliament is five years, the interval between successive general elections can exceed that period by no more than the combined length of the election campaign and time for the new parliament to assemble (typically five to eight weeks). The actual election may be held at any time before the end of the five-year term. The five years runs from the first meeting of Parliament following the election. The timing of an election is at the discretion of the incumbent Prime Minister. This timing is usually political, and thus if a government is popular then the election is often "called" after around four years in power. Download high resolution version (1760x1168, 333 KB) Incase you cant read the illegible font, billboard says: Lowest mortgage rates for 40 years. ... Download high resolution version (1760x1168, 333 KB) Incase you cant read the illegible font, billboard says: Lowest mortgage rates for 40 years. ... Brighton on the southern Sussex coast is one of the largest and most famous seaside resorts in England. ... The governing Labour Party, led by Tony Blair, was looking to secure a third consecutive term in office and to retain a large majority. ... An aerial view of Parliament of India at New Delhi. ... A prime minister may be either: chief or leading member of the cabinet of the top-level government in a country having a parliamentary system of government; or the official, in countries with a semi-presidential system of government, appointed to manage the civil service and execute the directives of...


The Prime Minister asks the Monarch to dissolve Parliament by Royal Proclamation. The Proclamation also orders the issue of the formal Writs of Election which require an election to be held in each constituency. The election is held 17 working days after the date of the Proclamation, as regulated by the Representation of the People Act 1983, s. 23 and Schedule 1 ("Parliamentary election rules"), rule 1 ("Timetable"). This article describes the British monarchy from the perspective of the United Kingdom. ...


Since 1935 every general election has been held on a Thursday. Of the 17 general elections between 1945 and 2005, four each were held in October, June, and May, and two were held in February. 1935 (MCMXXXV) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will take you to calendar). ... Thursday, by international standard, is the fourth day of the week, falling between Wednesday and Friday. ...


The Cabinet Office imposes Purdah before elections. This is a period of roughly six weeks in which Government Departments are not allowed to communicate with members of the public about any new or controversial Government initiatives (such as modernisation initiatives, administrative and legislative changes). The Cabinet Office is a United Kingdom government department. ...


Post-election

Polls close at 10 pm and the votes are, in most constituencies, counted immediately. The earliest results are declared by about 11 pm, with most having been declared by 3 or 4 am; some constituencies do not declare their results until the following day. In Northern Ireland the count itself does not begin until the next morning, with results being announced from early afternoon onwards. Royal motto: Quis separabit (Latin: Who will separate?) Northern Irelands location within the UK Official languages English, Irish, Ulster Scots Capital and largest city Belfast First Minister Office suspended Area  - Total Ranked 4th 13,843 km² Population  - Total (2001)  - Density Ranked 4th 1,685,267 122/km² NUTS 1...


When all of the results are known, or when one party achieves an absolute majority of the seats in the House of Commons, the first response comes from the current (and possibly outgoing) Prime Minister. If a majority in the new Parliament has been achieved by their party, they remain in office without the need for reconfirmation or reappointment — no new 'term' of office is started. If a majority has not been achieved, and it is obvious that the opposition has the numbers to form a government, the Prime Minister submits a resignation to the Monarch. The Monarch then commissions the Leader of the Opposition to form a new government. The Prime Minister has the option of attempting to remain in power even if seats have been lost. The subsequent Queen's Speech (i.e., outline of the proposed legislative programme) offers a chance for the House of Commons to cast a vote of confidence or no confidence in the government through accepting or rejecting the Queen's Speech.


The last Prime Minister who, having failed to win a majority, opted not to resign immediately was Edward Heath, in 1974. However, after initial negotiations with the Liberal Party failed to provide a coalition deal, he resigned, allowing Queen Elizabeth II to commission Labour leader Harold Wilson to form an administration. Until the Prime Minister reacts to the election result, either by deciding to remain on or resign, the Monarch has no role. Only if the Prime Minister resigns can the Monarch then commission someone else to form a government. Thus Margaret Thatcher, who was Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, was only asked to form a government once. Similarly, Tony Blair has only ever been commissioned to form a government once, in 1997. After each election, having remained in power, a Prime Minister may take the option to engage in a major or minor reshuffle of ministers. The Right Honourable Sir Edward Richard George Heath, KG , MBE (July 9, 1916 – July 17, 2005), soldier and politician, was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1970 to 1974 and leader of the Conservative Party from 1965 to 1975. ... 1974 (MCMLXXIV) is a common year starting on Tuesday (click on link for calendar). ... Queen Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor), born 21 April 1926, is the Queen regnant of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Antigua and... This article is about the British politician. ... This page refers to the year 1979. ... This article is about the year. ... 1997 (MCMXCVII) is a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ...


The largest party not in government becomes the Official Opposition, known as Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition. Any smaller parties not in government are collectively known as "the opposition".


Any vacancies created in the House, due to death, ennoblement, or resignation are filled by by-election. The time-frame for these is not automatic and they can be months after the vacancy was created, or even abandoned if there is a pending general election. Members of Parliament of the House of Commons in the United Kingdom are technically forbidden to resign. ... A by-election or bye-election is a special election held to fill a political office when the incumbent has died or resigned. ...


Results

See United Kingdom general elections, List of UK by-elections United Kingdom general elections are the elections held when the Members of Parliament (MPs) forming the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom are elected. ... This is a list of UK by-elections, with the names of the incumbent and victor and their respective parties. ...


Other elections

Scottish Parliament elections

Scottish Parliament elections occur every four years. They elect the Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs). They began in 1999, when the unicameral Scottish Parliament, created by the Scotland Act 1998, began its first session. For elections to the Scottish Parliament the Additional Member System is used, which is a hybrid of single member plurality and proportional representation. The Scottish Parliament (Pàrlamaid na h-Alba in Gaelic, Scots Pairlament in Scots) is the national unicameral legislature of Scotland. ... Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) is the title given to any one of the 129 individuals elected to serve in the Scottish Parliament. ... Unicameralism is the practice of having only one legislative or parliamentary chamber. ... The Scotland Act 1998 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom at Westminster. ... The Additional Member System (AMS) is a voting system in which some representatives are elected from geographic constituencies and others are elected under proportional representation from party lists. ... The first-past-the-post electoral system is a voting system for single-member districts, variously called first-past-the-post (FPTP or FPP), winner-take-all, plurality voting, or relative majority. ... Proportional representation (PR) is an election system which ensures a proportionally representative result of a democratic election, x% of votes should be represented by x% in the democratic institutions, parliament or congress. ...

The Scottish parliamentary election, 1999 was the first general election of the Scottish Parliament, with voting taking place on May 6, 1999. ... The Scottish parliamentary election, 2003, was the second general election of the Scottish Parliament. ...

Welsh Assembly elections

Welsh Assembly elections occur every four years. They elect the Members of the National Assembly for Wales (AMs). They began in 1999, when the unicameral Welsh Assembly, created by the Government of Wales Act 1998, began its first session. For elections to the Welsh Assembly the Additional Member System is used, which is a hybrid of single member plurality and proportional representation. The National Assembly for Wales (or NAW) (Welsh: Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru) was established in 1998, following a 1997 referendum in which a small majority of voters (but not the electorate) voted in favour of the Labour Governments plans for devolution. ... The National Assembly for Wales is composed of 60 members known as AMs or assembly members (in Welsh: ACau or Aelodaur Cynulliad). ... Unicameralism is the practice of having only one legislative or parliamentary chamber. ... The Government of Wales Act, 1998 or, to give it its full title , was an Act of Parliament of the United Kingdom passed in 1998 by the incoming Labour government to create a National Assembly for Wales. ... The Additional Member System (AMS) is a voting system in which some representatives are elected from geographic constituencies and others are elected under proportional representation from party lists. ... The first-past-the-post electoral system is a voting system for single-member districts, variously called first-past-the-post (FPTP or FPP), winner-take-all, plurality voting, or relative majority. ... Proportional representation (PR) is an election system which ensures a proportionally representative result of a democratic election, x% of votes should be represented by x% in the democratic institutions, parliament or congress. ...

First-Past-the-Post results Additional Members System Results ... The second election to the Welsh Assembly was held on May 1, 2003. ...

Northern Ireland Assembly elections

Northern Ireland Assembly elections occur every five years on the first Thursday in May. They began in 1998, when the assembly created by the Northern Ireland Act 1998 began its first session. For elections to the Northern Ireland Assembly, the Single Transferable Vote system, is used. The system uses preferences, and was chosen to attempt to give adequate representation to the different sectarian groups in Northern Ireland. Elections have continued despite the fact the assembly has been suspended since 2002. The logo of the Northern Ireland Assembly is a six flowered linen or flax plant, chosen for the plants historical economic importance to the region. ... The Northern Ireland Act 1998 is part of the Labour governments constitutional reform programme. ... This STV ballot for the Australian Senate illustrates group voting tickets. ... Sectarianism is an adherence to a particular sect or party or denomination, it also usually involves a rejection of those not a member of ones sect. ... Royal motto: Quis separabit (Latin: Who will separate?) Northern Irelands location within the UK Official languages English, Irish, Ulster Scots Capital and largest city Belfast First Minister Office suspended Area  - Total Ranked 4th 13,843 km² Population  - Total (2001)  - Density Ranked 4th 1,685,267 122/km² NUTS 1... 2002 (MMII) is a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar. ...

The first elections to the Northern Ireland Assembly were held on June 25, 1998. ... This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ...

European Parliament elections

European Parliament elections have taken place since the European Parliament became democratically elected in 1979. Members of the European Parliament are elected on a regional basis using the party list, using a Closed list (i.e. candidates are chosen by parties) has been used since 1999 in England, Scotland and Wales. In Northern Ireland the Single Transferable Vote system is used. The UK is divided into twelve electoral regions, which are the three smaller nations (Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland), and the nine Regions of England. The European Parliament is the parliamentary body of the European Union (EU), directly elected by EU citizens once every five years. ... This page refers to the year 1979. ... The European Parliament is the parliamentary body of the European Union (EU), directly elected by EU citizens once every five years. ... Party-list proportional representation systems are a family of voting systems used in multiple-winner elections (e. ... Closed list describes the variant of party_list proportional representation where voters can (effectively) only vote for political parties as a whole and thus have no influence on the (party-supplied) order in which party candidates are elected. ... Royal motto: Quis separabit (Latin: Who will separate?) Northern Irelands location within the UK Official languages English, Irish, Ulster Scots Capital and largest city Belfast First Minister Office suspended Area  - Total Ranked 4th 13,843 km² Population  - Total (2001)  - Density Ranked 4th 1,685,267 122/km² NUTS 1... This STV ballot for the Australian Senate illustrates group voting tickets. ... Travel guide to Scotland from Wikitravel Transport in Scotland Timeline of Scottish history Caledonia List of not fully sovereign nations Subdivisions of Scotland National parks (Scotland) Traditional music of Scotland Flower of Scotland Wars of Scottish Independence National Trust for Scotland Historic houses in Scotland Castles in Scotland Museums in... National motto: Cymru am byth (Welsh: Wales for ever) Waless location within the UK Official languages English, Welsh Capital Cardiff Largest city Cardiff First Minister Rhodri Morgan Area  - Total Ranked 3rd UK 20,779 km² Population  - Total (2001)  - Density Ranked 3rd UK 2,903,085 140/km² NUTS 1... Royal motto: Quis separabit (Latin: Who will separate?) Northern Irelands location within the UK Official languages English, Irish, Ulster Scots Capital and largest city Belfast First Minister Office suspended Area  - Total Ranked 4th 13,843 km² Population  - Total (2001)  - Density Ranked 4th 1,685,267 122/km² NUTS 1... The region (also known as government office region) is currently the highest tier of local government subnational entity in England. ...

Map showing European Parliament constituencies in the UK
Map showing European Parliament constituencies in the UK

The use of proportional representation greatly increased the representation of minor parties. Until the 1999 election, the First Past the Post system was used, which had prevented parties with large, but geographically spread out vote shares from receiving any seats. On of the famous instances of this was in the 1989 election the Green Party received 2,292,718 votes, constituting a 15% vote share, but no seats. The European Parliamentary Elections Act 1999 changed the system in time for the 1999 election. From 1979 to 1989, the UK had 81 MEPs (78 in England, Wales and Scotland, 3 in Northern Ireland). The European Parliamentary Elections Act 1993 increased the number to 87, adding five more seats in England and one more in Wales). Image File history File links UK European Parliament election regions map. ... Image File history File links UK European Parliament election regions map. ... Proportional representation (PR) is an election system which ensures a proportionally representative result of a democratic election, x% of votes should be represented by x% in the democratic institutions, parliament or congress. ... The Green Party of England and Wales emerged as a distinct party in the 1990s. ... The European Parliamentary Elections Act 1999 is an Act of Parliament that amended the procedures on European elections in the United Kingdom. ... This page refers to the year 1979. ... 1989 (MCMLXXXIX) is a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... A Member of the European Parliament (English abbreviation MEP) is a member of the European Unions directly-elected legislative body, the European Parliament. ... The European Parliamentary Elections Act 1993 is an Act of Parliament that amended the procedures on European elections in the United Kingdom, amending the European Parliamentary Elections Act 1978. ...

The European Parliament Election, 1979 was the first European election to be held in the United Kingdom after the European Community decided to directly elect representatives to the European Parliament. ... The European Parliament Election, 1984 was the second European election to be held in the United Kingdom. ... The European Parliament Election, 1989 was the third European election to be held in the United Kingdom. ... The European Parliament Election, 1994 was the fourth European election to be held in the United Kingdom. ... The European Parliament Election, 1999 was the UK part of the European Parliament election 1999. ... The European Parliament election, 2004 was the UK part of the European Parliament election, 2004. ...

London Assembly elections

London Assembly elections began in 2000, when it was created. The Additional Member System is used for elections to the Assembly. The Mayor is elected via the Supplementary Vote system. The London Assembly is an elected body that supervises the Greater London Authority and the Mayor of London. ... The Additional Member System (AMS) is a voting system in which some representatives are elected from geographic constituencies and others are elected under proportional representation from party lists. ... The Supplementary Vote (SV) is a voting system used for the election of a single candidate. ...

Constituency (First-Past-the-Post) results Top up (Additional Member System) results Overall turnout: 32. ... An election to the Assembly of London took place on June 10, 2004, along with the London mayoral election, 2004. ...

Directly elected mayors

For directly elected mayors in England, Supplementary vote is used. In the United Kingdom, the office of Mayor or Lord Mayor had long been a ceremonial post, with little or no duties attached to it. ... The Supplementary Vote (SV) is a voting system used for the election of a single candidate. ...

The first election to the office of Mayor of London took place on May 4, 2000. ... The latest election to the post of Mayor of London took place on June 10, 2004. ...

Local elections

Local elections elect councillors forming the local administrations of the United Kingdom are elected. A number of tiers of local council exist, at county, district/borough and town/parish levels. A variety of voting systems are used for local elections. In Northern Ireland, the single transferable vote system is used, whilst in the whole of Scotland and some of England and Wales the single member plurality system is used. The remainder of England and Wales use the multi member plurality system, except for the regional and mayoral elections in London. This article does not cite its references or sources. ... A borough is a local government administrative subdivision used in the Canadian province of Quebec, in some states of the United States, and formerly in New Zealand. ... In England a civil parish (usually just parish) is the lowest unit of local government, lower than districts or counties. ... Royal motto: Quis separabit (Latin: Who will separate?) Northern Irelands location within the UK Official languages English, Irish, Ulster Scots Capital and largest city Belfast First Minister Office suspended Area  - Total Ranked 4th 13,843 km² Population  - Total (2001)  - Density Ranked 4th 1,685,267 122/km² NUTS 1... This STV ballot for the Australian Senate illustrates group voting tickets. ... Travel guide to Scotland from Wikitravel Transport in Scotland Timeline of Scottish history Caledonia List of not fully sovereign nations Subdivisions of Scotland National parks (Scotland) Traditional music of Scotland Flower of Scotland Wars of Scottish Independence National Trust for Scotland Historic houses in Scotland Castles in Scotland Museums in... Wikimedia Commons has media related to: England Travel guide to England from Wikitravel English language English law English (people) List of monarchs of England – Kings of England family tree List of English people Angeln (region in northern Germany, presumably the origin of the Angles for whom England is named) UK... National motto: Cymru am byth (Welsh: Wales for ever) Waless location within the UK Official languages English, Welsh Capital Cardiff Largest city Cardiff First Minister Rhodri Morgan Area  - Total Ranked 3rd UK 20,779 km² Population  - Total (2001)  - Density Ranked 3rd UK 2,903,085 140/km² NUTS 1... The First Past the Post electoral system, is a voting system for single-member districts. ...


Local elections are held every year, but different parts of the UK vote in each case. In years with a general election it is usual practice to hold both general and local elections on the same day. In 2004, for the first time, local elections were held on the same day as European elections, and London Mayoral and Assembly elections. The date was referred to as 'Super Thursday'. A general election is an election in which all members of a given political body are up for election. ... The European Parliament election, 2004 was the UK part of the European Parliament election, 2004. ... The latest election to the post of Mayor of London took place on June 10, 2004. ... An election to the Assembly of London took place on June 10, 2004, along with the London mayoral election, 2004. ... Many elections in the United Kingdom took place on Super Thursday, June 10, 2004. ...


In 2004 the Scottish Parliament passed the Local Governance (Scotland) Act 2004 which will introduces STV for local government elections in Scotland in 2007. 2004 (MMIV) was a leap year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... This is an Act of the Scottish Parliament which provided, inter alia, for the election of local Councillors by the Single Transferable Vote system. ... 2007 (MMVII) is a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar. ...

The British local elections of 2004 were held on the tenth of June, as part of the 2004 set of elections along with the European elections and the London mayoral and Assembly elections. ... Elections for local government are being held in the United Kingdom on May 5, 2005 along with the 2005 general election. ... Local government elections are scheduled to take placed in the United Kingdom on Thursday May 4, 2006. ...

History

Expansion of the franchise

19th century

The system of universal suffrage did not exist in Britain until 1928. From 1688-1832, less than 10% of the adult male population had the right to vote. Universal suffrage (also general suffrage or common suffrage) consists of the extension of suffrage, or the right to vote, to all adults, without distinction as to race, sex, belief or social status. ... 1928 (MCMXXVIII) was a leap year starting on Sunday (link will take you to calendar). ... // Events A high-powered conspiracy of notables, the Immortal Seven, invite William and Mary to depose James II of England. ... 1832 was a leap year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar). ...


The first act to increase the size of the electorate was the Reform Act 1832 (sometimes known as the Great Reform Act). It abolished 56 rotten boroughs (which had elected 112 MPs) and decreased the property qualification in boroughs. It gave some parliamentary representation to the industrial towns (142 MPs) by redistributing some MPs from boroughs who had disproportional representation. The electoral register was created. The overall result of the Act was that the electorate was increased to 14% of the adult male population. Although this was not a large increase, the Act was the first big step towards equal representation. The British Reform Act of 1832 (2 & 3 Will. ... The term rotten borough (or pocket borough, as they were seen as being in the pocket of a patron) refers to a parliamentary borough or constituency in the Kingdom of England (pre-1707), the Kingdom of Great Britain (1707-1801), the Kingdom of Ireland (1536-1801) and the United Kingdom...


Between 1838 and 1848 a popular movement, Chartism organised around 6 demands including universal male franchise and the secret ballot. Chartism is also an alternative term for technical analysis A movement for social and political reform in the United Kingdom during the mid-19th century, Chartism gains its name from the Peoples Charter of 1838, which set out the main aims of the movement. ...


The Reform Act 1867 redistributed more MPs from boroughs who had disproportional representation (42) to London and industrial towns. It decreased the property qualification in boroughs, meaning all men (with an address) in boroughs could vote. The consequences were for the first time some of the working class could vote, and MPs had to take these new constituents into account. Some parties decided to become national parties. The overall effect was the that the Act increased the size of the electorate to 32% of the adult male population. The Reform Act 1867 (also known as the Second Reform Act) was a piece of British legislation that greatly increased the number of men who could vote in elections in the UK. In its final form, the Reform Act 1867 enfranchised all male householders and abolished compounding (the practice of...


The Secret Ballot Act 1872 replaced open elections with secret ballot system. The Corrupt and Illegal Practises Act 1883 criminalised attempts to bribe voters and standardised the amount that could be spent on election expenses. The Franchise Act 1884 and the Redistribution of Seats Act 1885 (the Third Reform Act) collectively increased the electorate to 56% of the adult male population. The Redistribution of Seats Act 1885 was a peice of British electoral reform legislation that changed the method of representation. ...


20th century

The Representation of the People Act 1918 expanded the electorate to include all men over the age of 21 and all women over the age of 30 (because young women were thought to be too radical). Later that year, the Parliamentary Qualification of Women Act 1918 gave women over 30 the right to stand for election as an MP. The first woman to become an MP was Constance Georgine Markiewicz in 1918. However, she declined to take up her seat, being a member of Sinn Féin. Nancy Astor, elected in 1919, was the second woman to become an MP, and the first to sit in the Commons. The Equal Franchise Act 1928 lowered the minimum age for women to vote from 30 to 21, making men and women equal in terms of suffrage for the first time. The Representation of the People Act 1949 abolished additional votes for graduates (university constituencies) and the owners of business premises. The Representation of the People Act 1918 widened suffrage by abolishing practically all property qualifications for men and by enfranchising women over 30 who met minimum property qualifications. ... Nancy Witcher Astor, Viscountess Astor (May 19, 1879 - May 2, 1964) was a socialite politician and a member of the prominent Astor family. ... 1919 (MCMXIX) was a common year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar). ... The 1949 Representation of the People Act was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. ... University constituencies existed from 1603 until 1950 to allow a University to be represented in the United Kingdom Parliament. ...


The Representation of the People Act 1969 lowered the voting age from 21 to 18. The Representation of the People Act 1985 gave British citizens abroad the right to vote for a 5 year period after they had left Britain. The Representation of the People Act 1989 extended the period to 20 years and citizens who were too young to vote when they left the country also became eligible. The Representation of the People Act 1969 increased suffrage to 18 year olds. ...


New Labour's reforms

Until the reforms of New Labour, there were only three types of elections: general elections, local government elections, and elections to the European Parliament. Most elections were conducted under the First Past the Post (FPTP) electoral system, though in Northern Ireland local government and European elections were conducted under the Single Transferable Vote (STV) system. The constitutional reforms of Labour drastically changed elections, introducing elected regional assemblies and elected mayors in certain cities. Proportional Representation (PR) was introduced outside of Northern Ireland for the first time. The plurality voting system, also known as first past the post, is a voting system used to elect a single winner in a given election. ... This STV ballot for the Australian Senate illustrates group voting tickets. ... Proportional representation (PR) is an election system which ensures a proportionally representative result of a democratic election, x% of votes should be represented by x% in the democratic institutions, parliament or congress. ...


The hybrid (part PR, part FPTP) Additional Member System was introduced in 1999 for the newly created devolved assemblies: the Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly and London Assembly and STV was used for the newly created Northern Ireland Assembly. The regional party list (Closed list) system was introduced for European elections in the Great Britain (which had previously used single member constituency FPTP) though Northern Ireland continues to use STV. The Additional Member System (AMS) is a voting system in which some representatives are elected from geographic constituencies and others are elected under proportional representation from party lists. ... 1999 (MCMXCIX) is a common year starting on Friday, and was designated the International Year of Older Persons by the United Nations. ... The Scottish Parliament (Pàrlamaid na h-Alba in Gaelic, Scots Pairlament in Scots) is the national unicameral legislature of Scotland. ... The National Assembly for Wales (or NAW) (Welsh: Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru) was established in 1998, following a 1997 referendum in which a small majority of voters (but not the electorate) voted in favour of the Labour Governments plans for devolution. ... The London Assembly is an elected body that supervises the Greater London Authority and the Mayor of London. ... The logo of the Northern Ireland Assembly is a six flowered linen or flax plant, chosen for the plants historical economic importance to the region. ... Party-list proportional representation systems are a family of voting systems used in multiple-winner elections (e. ... Closed list describes the variant of party_list proportional representation where voters can (effectively) only vote for political parties as a whole and thus have no influence on the (party-supplied) order in which party candidates are elected. ...


Labour passed the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, which created the Electoral Commission, which from 2000 was responsible for the running of elections, referendums and to limited extent regulates party funding. It also reduced the period during which British expatriates can vote, from 20 years after they emigrate to 15. The Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 is an Act of Parliament that sets out how political parties, elections and referendums are to be regulated in the United Kingdom. ... The Electoral Commission is an independent body with powers in the United Kingdom, which was created by an Act of Parliament, the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000. ...


Current issues

Electoral reform

Electoral reform is currently an important issue in UK politics. The current First Past the Post system used for general elections does not link the number of seats won to the share of the national vote. Some people assert that the electoral system ought to make such a connection, and therefore campaign for a change. The First Past the Post electoral system, is a voting system for single-member districts. ... United Kingdom general elections are the elections held when the Members of Parliament (MPs) forming the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom are elected. ...


The introduction of proportional representation has been advocated for some time by the Liberal Democrats, and some pressure groups such as Charter 88 and the Electoral Reform Society. Recently following the 2005 election in which Labour was elected with the lowest share of the national vote for any single party majority government in British history, more public attention has been brought to the issue. The national compact newspaper The Independent started a petition campaign for the introduction of a more proportional system immediately after the election, under the title "Campaign For Democracy". Charter 88 was formed by progressive (mainly liberal and social democratic) British intellectuals and activists in 1988. ... The Electoral Reform Society is a pressure group based in the UK which promotes electoral reform. ... The governing Labour Party, led by Tony Blair, was looking to secure a third consecutive term in office and to retain a large majority. ... National is the Japanese brand under which Matsushita products are sold. ... A compact newspaper is a British term referring to a broadsheet-quality newspaper printed in a tabloid format. ... The Independent is a British compact newspaper published by Tony OReillys Independent News & Media. ... Look up Petition in Wiktionary, the free dictionary A petition is a request to an authority, most commonly a government official or public entity. ...

The front page of The Independent on 10 May 2005 calling for electoral reform
Enlarge
The front page of The Independent on 10 May 2005 calling for electoral reform

Parliamentary and Party positions Image File history File links Front page of the British broadsheet the Independent on 10/05/05. ... Image File history File links Front page of the British broadsheet the Independent on 10/05/05. ... The Independent is a British compact newspaper published by Tony OReillys Independent News & Media. ... May 10 is the 130th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (131st in leap years). ... 2005 (MMV) is a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ...


The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Electoral Reform is a cross party group consisting of 150 MPs that support electoral reform, chaired by Richard Burden. Richard Haines Burden (born September 1, 1954, Liverpool) is a politician in England. ...


Labour pledged in its manifesto for the 1997 general election to set up a commission on alternatives to the first-past-the-post system for general elections and hold a referendum in the future on whether to change the system. The Independent Commission on the Voting System, headed by Lord Jenkins of Hillhead and known as the Jenkins Commission, was established in December 1997. It reported in October 1998 and suggested the Alternative vote top-up or AV+ system. The UK general election, 1997 was held on 1 May 1997. ... Roy Harris Jenkins, Baron Jenkins of Hillhead, OM, PC (November 11, 1920 – January 5, 2003) was a British politician and a prominent Labour Member of Parliament in the 1960s and 1970s, and founding member of the Social Democratic Party (SDP). ... The Independent Commission on the Voting System, popularly known as the Jenkins Commission after its chairman Roy Jenkins, was a commission into possible reform of the United Kingdom electoral system. ... The Alternative Vote Plus (AV+) or Alternative Vote Top-up is a voting system intended for use in elections to an assembly or legislature. ...


The government had expected a recommendation which could have been implemented within the Parliament and decided that it would be impractical to have a general election using First Past the Post after a referendum decision to adopt a different system, and therefore delayed the referendum until after the next general election. In practice, forces within the Labour Party opposed to any change persuaded the party not to repeat the pledge for a referendum in the 2001 manifesto and therefore none was held once the party was re-elected.


After the 2005 election, Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer said there was "no groundswell" for change, although a Cabinet committee was given the task of investigating reform. John Prescott was made Chair; given his known opposition to change, proponents were critical and dismissive of the move. Several prominent Labour MPs have expressed a desire for investigating electoral reform, including Peter Hain (who made a speech in the House of Commons in March 2004 arguing for the Alternative Vote) Patricia Hewitt, Tessa Jowell, as well as Baroness Amos, leader of the House of Lords. John Prescott The Right Honourable John Leslie Prescott (born May 31, 1938) is a British Labour Party politician who is presently Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and First Secretary of State. ... The Right Honourable Peter Gerald Hain (born February 16, 1950 in Nairobi, Kenya) is a British Labour Party politician. ... March is the third month of the year in the Gregorian Calendar and one of seven Gregorian months with the length of 31 days. ... 2004 (MMIV) was a leap year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... When the single transferable vote voting system is applied to a single-winner election it is sometimes called instant-runoff voting (IRV), as it is much like holding a series of runoff elections in which the lowest polling candidate is eliminated in each round until someone receives majority vote. ... The Right Honourable Patricia Hope Hewitt (born December 22, 1948 in Canberra, Australia - Mrs William Birtles) and educated at Newnham College, Cambridge, is a UK politician in the UKs Labour party. ... The Right Honourable Tessa Jane Helena Douglas Jowell (born September 17, 1947) is a British politician who is Labour MP for Dulwich and West Norwood and Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. ... Valerie Ann Amos, Baroness Amos, PC (born 13 March 1954), is a British Labour Party politician and life peer, currently serving as Leader of the House of Lords and Lord President of the Council. ...


The Conservative party are predominantly against PR. Despite the fact that the Conservative party would gain significant numbers of seats if PR was used in the last election, some in the party feel it might find itself politically isolated on the right, and face Labour/Lib Dem coalition governments. Electoral reform, towards a proportional model, is desired by the Liberal Democrat party, the Green and several other small parties. The Conservative Party is the largest political party on the right-of-centre in the United Kingdom. ... In politics, right-wing, the political right, or simply the right, are terms which refer, with no particular precision, to the segment of the political spectrum in opposition to left-wing politics. ... The Green Party of England and Wales emerged as a distinct party in the 1990s. ...


Arguments for reform

  • It would be more representative of the electorate, as votes cast would be roughly proportional to seats.
  • No votes would be wasted if PR was used and there would be less tactical voting (which is harmful to democracy because it causes people to vote for a different party than they support).
  • It would widen voter choice, smaller parties would have a more realistic chance of winning seats.
  • It would probably reduce the large majority that the many governments (like the current government enjoy), therefore it would produce weaker governments than with First-Past-the-Post because the governing party would have a smaller majority. This means that the effects of executive dominance would be reduced: the House of Commons would be less of a rubber stamp and the government might be forced to compromise. Genuine debate, with meaningful impact on legislation might be reintroduced in the Commons.
  • It might produce coalition governments (as in the Scottish Parliament). Advocates argue this would lead to much more emphasis on consensus, and better represent the combined will of the electorate, because coalitions include several parties.
  • Why use non-FPTP for the regional, European and mayoral elections and not general elections?

Arguments against reform In voting systems, tactical voting (or strategic voting) occurs when a voter misrepresents his or her sincere preferences in order to gain a more favorable outcome. ... The phrase elective dictatorship (also called executive dominance in political science) was coined by the former Lord Chancellor, Quintin Hogg, Baron Hailsham of St Marylebone, in a academic paper of the same name written in 1976. ... Consensus decision-making is a decision process that not only seeks the agreement of most participants, but also to resolve or mitigate the objections of the minority to achieve the most agreeable decision. ...

  • The direct link the FPTP system provides between voters and their local MP would be lost if certain PR systems were adopted. However this would not be the case if a hybrid PR system was used, such as Additional Member System (used for the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly or Alternative vote top-up (suggested by the Jenkins Commission) or a majoritarian system.
  • First Past the Post tends to produce strong governments, which supporters see as an advantage (there is relatively little chance of coalition government), and the only coalitions in the 20th or 21st centuries have happened at times of emergency, usually when one party does not have an overall majority in the House of Commons.
  • Coalition governments cannot deliver the electoral mandate, because there has to be consensus on policy with other parties. Coalitions could give small parties disproportionate power.
  • Parties seen as 'extreme' by the establishment parties, such as the BNP, might be able to win seats and gain real political power if they had enough votes nationwide. Some think it would irresponsible to give 'extremists' the opportunity to have political power. Others counter that in a true democracy, this is no argument.

A Member of Parliament, or MP, is a representative elected by the voters of an electoral district to a parliament; in the Westminster system, specifically to the lower house. ... PR may stand for: Public Relations Puerto Rico (ISO 3166 country code, U.S. postal code) Pr may stand for: the chemical symbol for the metal praseodymium. ... The Additional Member System (AMS) is a voting system in which some representatives are elected from geographic constituencies and others are elected under proportional representation from party lists. ... The Alternative Vote Plus (AV+) or Alternative Vote Top-up is a voting system intended for use in elections to an assembly or legislature. ... The Independent Commission on the Voting System, popularly known as the Jenkins Commission after its chairman Roy Jenkins, was a commission into possible reform of the United Kingdom electoral system. ... A coalition government, or coalition cabinet, is a cabinet in parliamentary government in which several parties cooperate. ... Mandate can mean: An obligation handed down by an inter-governmental body; see mandate (international law) The power granted by an electorate; see mandate (politics) A League of Nations mandate To some Christians, an order from God; see mandate (theology) The decision of an appeals court; see mandate (law) The... BNP may be: British National Party, a British political party of the far-right. ...

Low Turnout

As in many Western democracies, the effects of voter apathy are a current concern, after a dramatic decline in election turnout recently. Turnout has fallen from 77% in 1992, 71% in 1997 to 61% in the last election. This was a small rise from 2001, which recorded 59%. The main reasons identified for low turnout are:

  • Decline in partisanship (many voters are no longer permanently loyal to one party)
  • Reduction in the popularity of various Party leaderships.
  • Dissatisfaction with parties' record on public services, education, transport etc.
  • Lack of interest in the election campaign.

Possible measures to reduce low turnout

  • Compulsory voting (seen as an extreme solution, not advocated by many)
  • Electoral reform, towards PR (a policy advocated by the Liberal Democrats)
  • New forms of voting, e.g. by post, telephone, internet (the scope of postal voting was increased by Labour before the last election)
United Kingdom general elections Flag of the United Kingdom
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United Kingdom general elections are the elections held when the Members of Parliament (MPs) forming the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom are elected. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_the_United_Kingdom. ... The 1830 UK general election, fought in the aftermath of the Swing Riots, saw electoral reform as a major election issue. ... The 1831 UK general election, the last before the Reform Act of 1832, saw electoral reform as the major election issue. ... The 1832 UK general election, the first after the Reform Act, saw the Whigs win a large majority, with the Tories winning less than 30% of the vote. ... The 1835 UK general election saw Robert Peels Conservatives make large gains from their low of the 1832 election, but the Whigs maintained a large majority. ... The 1837 UK general election saw Robert Peels Conservatives close further on the position of the Whigs, who won their third election of the decade. ... The 1841 UK general election saw a big swing as Robert Peels Conservatives took control of the House of Commons. ... The 1847 UK general election saw candidates calling themselves Conservatives win the most seats, in part because they won a number of uncontested seats. ... The 1852 UK general election was very close, Lord John Russells Whigs again winning the popular vote, but once again Conservative candidates won a very slight majority. ... The 1857 UK general election saw the Whigs, led by Lord Palmerston, finally win a majority in the House of Commons as the Conservative vote fell significantly. ... The 1859 UK general election saw the Whigs, led by Lord Palmerston, hold their majority in a much enlarged House of Commons over the Earl of Derbys Conservatives. ... The 1865 UK general election saw the Liberals, led by Lord Palmerston, increase their large majority over the Earl of Derbys Conservatives. ... The 1868 UK general election saw the Liberals, led by William Gladstone, again increase their large majority over the Earl of Derbys Conservatives. ... The 1874 UK general election ended with the Liberals, led by William Gladstone, winning a majority of the votes cast, but Benjamin Disraelis Conservatives winning the majority of seats in the House of Commons, largely because they won a number of uncontested seats. ... In the UK general election of 1880, also known as the Midlothian Campaign, the Liberals, led by the fierce oratory of retired former Liberal leader William Gladstone in attacking the supposedly immoral foreign policy of the Beaconsfield government, secured one of their largest ever majorities, leaving the Conservatives a distant... The 1885 UK general election was from the 24th November - 18th December 1885. ... The 1886 UK general election took place from July 1-27, 1886. ... The 1892 UK general election was held from 4th - 26th July 1892. ... The UK general election of 1895 was held from 13th July - 7th August 1895. ... The UK general election of 1900 was from 25th September - 24th October 1900. ... The UK general election of 1906 was from 12th January – 8th February 1906. ... The UK general election of January 1910 was held from 15th January – 10th February 1910. ... The UK general election of December 1910 was the last held over several days, from 3rd – 19th December 1910. ... The United Kingdom general election of 1918 held on 14th December 1918, after the Representation of the People Act 1918. ... The UK general election of 1922 was held on 15th November 1922. ... The UK general election of 1923 was held on 5th December 1923. ... The 1924 UK general election was held on 29th October 1924. ... The 1929 UK general election was held on 30th May 1929, and resulted in a hung parliament. ... The UK general election on Tuesday 27 October 1931 was the last in the United Kingdom not held on a Thursday. ... The UK general election held on 14th November 1935 resulted in a large, though reduced, majority for the National Government now led by Stanley Baldwin. ... The United Kingdom General Election of 1945 held on 5 July 1945 but not counted and declared until 26 July 1945 (due to the time it took to transport the votes of those serving overseas) was one of the most significant general elections of the 20th century. ... The United Kingdom general election in 1950 was the first general election ever after a full term of a Labour government. ... The 1951 election was held soon after the UK general election, 1950, which Labour won, but with an unworkable majority. ... The 1955 United Kingdom general election was held on May 26, 1955, four years after the previous general election. ... This United Kingdom general election was held on October 8, 1959, and marked a third successive victory for the ruling Conservative party, led by Harold MacMillan. ... The United Kingdom general election of 1964 result was a very slim majority for the Labour Party, of 4, and led to their first government since 1951. ... The UK general election in 1966 was called by Harold Wilson because his government, elected in the 1964 election, had an unworkably small majority. ... The United Kingdom general election of 1970 was held on June 18, 1970, and resulted in a surprise loss of power for Labour under Harold Wilson, who was replaced as Prime Minister by the Conservative leader, Edward Heath. ... The UK general election of February 1974 was held on February 28, 1974. ... The UK general election of October 1974 took place on October 10, 1974. ... The UK general election, 1979 was held on May 3, 1979 and is regarded as a pivotal point in 20th century British politics. ... United Kingdom general election, 1983 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia /**/ @import /skins-1. ... The UK general election, 1987 was held on June 11, 1987 and was the third victory in a row for Margaret Thatcher and the Conservatives. ... The UK general election, 1992 was held on April 9, 1992, and was the fourth victory in a row for the Conservatives. ... The UK general election, 1997 was held on 1 May 1997. ... The UK general election, 2001 was held on 7 June 2001 and was dubbed the quiet landslide by the media. ... The governing Labour Party, led by Tony Blair, was looking to secure a third consecutive term in office and to retain a large majority. ... The next United Kingdom general election must be held on or before 3 June, 2010. ...

See also

In the United Kingdom, the electoral register is a listing of all those registered to vote in a particular area, for example in a general election. ... This electoral calendar lists the national/federal direct elections in the countries listed in the list of countries. ... Election Day in the United Kingdom is by tradition a Thursday, but the date for general elections is not fixed by law. ... United Kingdom general elections are the elections held when the Members of Parliament (MPs) forming the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom are elected. ... This is a list of UK by-elections, with the names of the incumbent and victor and their respective parties. ... Referendums (or referenda) are only occasionally held by the government of the United Kingdom. ... A political campaign is an organized effort to influence the decision making process within a group. ... Pressure groups in the United Kingdom can be divided into two categories. ... Charter88 is a British pressure group that advocates constitutional and electoral reform and owes its origins to the lack of a written constitution in the United Kingdom. ... University constituencies existed from 1603 until 1950 to allow a University to be represented in the United Kingdom Parliament. ... The term rotten borough (or pocket borough, as they were seen as being in the pocket of a patron) refers to a parliamentary borough or constituency in the Kingdom of England (pre-1707), the Kingdom of Great Britain (1707-1801), the Kingdom of Ireland (1536-1801) and the United Kingdom... This is a list of topics related to the United Kingdom. ...

External links

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  Results from FactBites:
 
Election Resources on the Internet: Parliamentary Elections in the U.K. - Elections to the House of Commons (2550 words)
The United Kingdom Parliament is composed of the Crown, that is the monarch, the House of Lords, an appointive and hereditary upper chamber, and the popularly elected lower chamber, the House of Commons.
For general election purposes, the United Kingdom is currently divided into 646 constituencies, each of which returns one Member of Parliament (MP) to the House of Commons, elected for a maximum term of five years.
As a result, the average number of electors per constituency for the 2001 election was 67,380, but the individual constituencies ranged from a low of 21,706 electors in the Western Isles (in Scotland's north-western coast) to a high of 104,431 in the Isle of Wight (located off the coast of southern England).
Election Resources on the Internet / Recursos Electorales en la Internet (1087 words)
Elections to the New Zealand House of Representatives and Elections to the German Bundestag describe the Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) representation system used in both countries, with results of parliamentary elections held in New Zealand from 1996 to 2005 and in Germany from 1972 to 2005.
The results of parliamentary elections held in Portugal since 1975 (now including results of the early legislative election held on Sunday, February 20, 2005), as well as a description of the proportional representation system used to choose members of the Portuguese legislature are available in Elections to the Portuguese Assembly of the Republic.
The results of parliamentary elections held in Denmark since 1990 (now including final results of the early parliamentary election held on Tuesday, February 8, 2005), as well as an overview of the proportional representation system used to choose members of the Danish legislature are available in Elections to the Danish Folketing.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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