Question Ida Politics & International Relations

UK General Elections

How does a UK General Election work?

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Answer Internal Staff

The UK general election follows a first past the post system (FPTP). At its most basic, first past the post is a system where whoever receives the most votes win, they do not necessarily require a majority for this. Under the FPTP system the UK is split into 650 constituencies, each one representing approximately 92,000 people and 68,000 voters. Each voter is allowed one vote in the constituency they reside and whichever candidate receives the most votes in each constituent becomes that areas MP. The 650 winning candidates then go to Westminster to form the House of Commons. Following the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 a general election had to be held on the 7th of May 2015 and the first Thursday of May every fifth year following this. However, an earlier election can be called if at least two thirds of the House agrees to it or if a vote of no confidence in the government is passed and no suitable replaced is confirmed by the Commons within 14 days.