Next United Kingdom general election

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Next United Kingdom general election
United Kingdom
← 2015 due on 7 May 2020
Party Leader Current seats
Conservative David Cameron[n 1] 330
Labour TBD 232
SNP Nicola Sturgeon 56
Liberal Democrat Tim Farron 8
DUP Peter Robinson 8
Sinn Féin Gerry Adams 4[n 2]
Plaid Cymru Leanne Wood 3
SDLP Alasdair McDonnell 3
UUP Mike Nesbitt 2
UKIP Nigel Farage 1
Green Natalie Bennett 1
Others N/A 2
Total N/A 650
This lists parties that currently hold seats.
Incumbent Prime Minister
David Cameron
Conservative
2005 election MPs
2010 election MPs
2015 election MPs

The next general election in the United Kingdom is due to be held on Thursday 7 May 2020, in line with the Fixed term Parliaments Act; it may be held at an earlier date in the event of a vote of no confidence or similar exceptional circumstances.[1] It will elect the 57th Parliament of the United Kingdom.

In UK general elections, voting takes place in 650 constituencies to elect Members of Parliament (MPs) to seats in the House of Commons, the lower house of the Parliament.

Electoral system[edit]

Each parliamentary constituency of the United Kingdom elects one MP to the House of Commons using the "first past the post" system. If one party obtains a majority of seats, then that party is entitled to form the Government. If the election results in no single party having a majority, then there is a hung parliament. In this case, the options for forming the Government are either a minority government or a coalition government.[2]

The postponed Sixth Periodic Review of Westminster constituencies is set to take place before the election, in 2018.

Date of the election[edit]

Fixed-term Parliaments Act[edit]

The Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 removed the Royal Prerogative to dissolve Parliament. As a result, a Prime Minister no longer has the power to advise the monarch to call an early election. The Bill permits early dissolution if the House of Commons votes by a supermajority of two-thirds. A government can still lose a vote of no confidence by a majority of just over 50%, requiring it to resign. Parliament will be dissolved if no new government can be formed within 14 days of a no-confidence vote.[3]

The Prime Minister has the power, by order made by Statutory Instrument under section 1(5) of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011, to provide that the polling day is to be held up to two months later than 7 May 2020. Such a Statutory Instrument must be approved by each House of Parliament.

Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013[edit]

By Section 14 of the Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013, the period between the dissolution of Parliament and the following general election polling day is 25 working days.[4] Assuming that Good Friday, Easter Monday and the first Monday in May are UK public holidays in 2020 (as they have been for many years), the date of dissolution would work out as Monday 30 March 2020.

Delay[edit]

Occasionally, a constituency is forced to delay its polling day. In the 2005 and 2010 general elections, one constituency delayed its poll due to the death of a candidate.[5]

Contesting political parties and candidates[edit]

Candidates are usually representatives of a political party, which must be registered with the Electoral Commission's Register of Political Parties. Candidates who do not belong to a registered party can use an "independent" label, or no label at all.

The Conservative Party and Labour Party have been the two biggest parties since 1922, and have supplied all UK Prime Ministers since that date. Both parties are likely to enter the election with different leaders from the 2015 election. [6] [7] David Cameron, who has been leader of the the Conservative Party since 2005 and Prime Minister since 2010, announced in March 2015 that he would stand-down as Conservative Party leader at some point before the end of the 56th Parliament, though no date has been given for this. [6] The Labour Party, who are the Official Opposition party are conducting a leadership election following the resignation of Ed Miliband in the aftermath of the previous election. A new leader will be announced in September 2015. [7]

While the Liberal Democrats and their predecessors had long been the 'third party' in British politics, they finished the 2015 election with fewer MPs than the Scottish National Party (SNP) and fewer votes than the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP). [8] Tim Farron became the Liberal Democrat leader in July 2015 following the resignation of Nick Clegg, with an aim of rebuilding the party's representation after they lost 49 MPs in the 2015 election. [9] The SNP, led by First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon, do not stand in all of Great Britain but won 56 of 59 Scottish seats in 2015, an increase of 50 MPs.[10] They will likely stand in all Scottish seats again at the next election, although their role will depend upon the 2016 election to the Scottish Parliament and whether their manifesto for that election includes a pledge for a referendum for Scottish independence, following the narrow victory for 'no' in the 2014 Scottish independence referendum. [11] UKIP, led by Nigel Farage won 12.7% of the vote in 2015 but only gained 1 MP. As UKIP was founded with the UK's departure from the EU as a constitutional aim, [12] their role at the next general election will be shaped by the results of the proposed referendum on the UK's membership of the EU. The referendum - included in the May 2015 Queen's Speech outlining government policy - is likely to take place in October 2016.[13] The Green Party and Plaid Cymru were the other parties in Britain to return MPs at the 2015 general election, and are also likely to contest the next election along with hundreds of minor parties.

Politics in Northern Ireland is largely separate from the rest of the UK. All Northern Irish parties who returned MPs at the 2015 general election (Democratic Unionist Party (8); Sinn Féin (4); Social Democratic and Labour Party (3); Ulster Unionist Party (2)) will likely contest the next election, though the immediate priority for these and other Northern Irish parties will be the 2016 election to the Northern Ireland Assembly.[14] Sinn Féin is likely to continue its policy of abstentionism and not take any seats won at the next general election.[15] Sylvia Hermon, the only independent MP elected in 2015,[16] has not announced whether she will stand in the next election.

Opinion polling[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Cameron is the current Conservative Party leader and Prime Minister, but he said during the 2015 general election campaign that he would not seek a third term; thus he is expected to stand down before the next general election.
  2. ^ Sinn Féin are abstentionist and do not take up their seats.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011. legislation.gov.uk. 23 April 2015. 
  2. ^ Another hung Parliament: what next?. YouTube. 18 March 2015. 
  3. ^ "House of Commons Debate 5 July 2010 c 23". http://www.parliament.uk/. 5 July 2010. Retrieved 8 September 2013. 
  4. ^ "General election timetable 2015". Parliament.uk. Retrieved 8 December 2014. 
  5. ^ "Thirsk and Malton candidate death delays poll date". BBC News. 22 April 2010. 
  6. ^ a b Kirkup, James. "By 2020, the Conservative Party leader will be... not who you expect". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 24 July 2015. 
  7. ^ a b Pope, Conor. "How will the leadership election work?". Labour List. Retrieved 24 July 2015. 
  8. ^ Mason, Rowena. "SNP wants Liberal Democrats' third party parliamentary perks". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 July 2015. 
  9. ^ Perraudin, Frances. "Tim Farron outlines 'optimistic direction' for Lib Dems". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 July 2015. 
  10. ^ "Election 2015: SNP wins 56 of 59 seats in Scots landslide". BBC News. Retrieved 24 July 2015. 
  11. ^ Peterkin, Tom. "SNP MSP calling for indyref in campaign literature". The Scotsman. Retrieved 24 July 2015. 
  12. ^ "The Constituion". UKIP. Retrieved 24 July 2015. 
  13. ^ Dominiczak, Peter; Holehouse, Matthew. "EU referendum to be held in October 2016, sources say". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 24 July 2015. 
  14. ^ "Northern Ireland Assembly elections put back to 2016". BBC News. Retrieved 24 July 2015. 
  15. ^ McDonald, Henry. "Sinn Féin MP says party will always boycott Westminster, despite report". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 July 2015. 
  16. ^ "North Down: Worrier Hermon ‘thrilled’ at re-election". News Letter. Retrieved 24 July 2015.