Next United Kingdom general election
All 650 seats in the House of Commons[n 1]
326[n 2] seats needed for a majority
|2010 election • MPs|
|2015 election • MPs|
|2017 election • MPs|
The next general election in the United Kingdom is scheduled to be held on 5 May 2022 under the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011. The election may be held at an earlier date in the event of an early election motion being passed by a super-majority of two-thirds in the House of Commons, or a vote of no confidence in the government which is not followed by a vote of confidence within 14 days.
Each parliamentary constituency of the United Kingdom elects one MP to the House of Commons using the first-past-the-post voting system.
- on the Electoral Register;
- aged 18 or over on polling day;
- a British, Irish or Commonwealth citizen;
- a resident at an address in the United Kingdom (or a British citizen living abroad who has been registered to vote in the UK in the last 15 years);[n 11]
- not legally excluded from voting (most notably a convicted person detained in prison or a mental hospital, or unlawfully at large if the person would otherwise have been detained, or a person found guilty of certain corrupt or illegal practices) or disqualified from voting (peers sitting in the House of Lords).
Individuals must be registered to vote by midnight twelve working days before polling day. Anyone who qualifies as an anonymous elector has until midnight six working days before polling day to register.[n 12] A person who has two homes (such as a university student who has a term-time address and lives at home during holidays) may be able to register to vote at both addresses as long as they are not in the same electoral area, but can only vote in one constituency at the general election.
It is current UK Government policy to pass a law removing the 15-year limit on expatriate Britons voting before the next general election takes place, as mentioned in the 2017 Conservative Party manifesto, which stated (page 42) "We will legislate for votes for life for British overseas electors".
The postponed Sixth Periodic Review of Westminster constituencies proposed reducing the number of constituencies from 650 to 600. In April 2016, each of the four parliamentary Boundary Commissions of the United Kingdom recommenced their review process.
After each Commission published their Final Recommendation reports on 10 September 2018, psephologists Colin Rallings and Michael Thrasher of Plymouth University projected the result of the 2017 election as if the new boundaries had been in place.
|Scottish National Party||33||2|
|Democratic Unionist Party||10|
|Green Party (England & Wales)||1|
Date of the election
The Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 introduced fixed-term parliaments to the United Kingdom, with elections scheduled on the first Thursday in May of the fifth year after the previous general election.
Removing the power of the monarch, on advice of the prime minister, to dissolve parliament before its five-year maximum length, the act permits early dissolution if the House of Commons votes by a two-thirds supermajority, as occurred in the 2017 general election. Parliament is also dissolved if a government loses a vote of no confidence by a simple majority and a new government is not formed within 14 days. The Conservative Party manifesto at the 2017 general election proposed repealing the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011, although this has yet to occur.
Thus, the next general election is due to take place on 5 May 2022, unless it is triggered earlier. Under the Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013 parliament would be dissolved 25 working days before this date on 28 March 2022. Under the Fixed-term Parliaments Act the Prime Minister may schedule polling day up to two months after 5 May 2022, subject to approval by both Houses.
An early general election is considered to be a possible outcome of the political impasse regarding the Brexit withdrawal agreement. Following a government defeat in a "meaningful vote" in January 2019, a vote of no confidence was called by the Labour Party: this failed by a narrow margin.
Contesting political parties and candidates
Most candidates are 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. At the 2017 general election, representatives of 71 parties stood for election, and 462 people stood as independents.
The Conservative Party and Labour Party have been the two biggest political parties, and have supplied every Prime Minister, since 1922. Early 2019 saw the founding of two notable new parties: the populist Brexit Party was formed by former UKIP politicians, while Change UK was formed by a group of Labour and Conservative MPs leaving their respective parties. Neither party stood in the 2019 local elections. In these, the Liberal Democrats and Greens made significant gains, but the Conservatives and Labour were still the two largest parties. However, in the European Parliament elections later the same month, the Brexit Party came top and the Liberal Democrats were second. In the aftermath of those elections, the Brexit Party or the Liberal Democrats came top in a number of national polls.
|Party||Party leader(s)||Leader since||Leader's seat||Last election|
|Conservative Party||Theresa May[n 5]||July 2016||Maidenhead||42.4%||317|
|Labour Party||Jeremy Corbyn||September 2015||Islington North||40.0%||262|
|Scottish National Party||Nicola Sturgeon||November 2014||None[n 3]||3.0%||35|
|Liberal Democrats||Vince Cable[n 7]||July 2017||Twickenham||7.4%||12|
|Plaid Cymru||Adam Price||September 2018||None[n 13]||0.5%||4|
|Green Party (England & Wales)||Jonathan Bartley||September 2016||None[n 14]||1.6%||1|
|Siân Berry||September 2018|
In February 2019, eleven MPs from both the Labour and Conservative parties resigned from their parties to sit together as The Independent Group. These MPs later registered as a political party to contest future elections under the name Change UK.
Tim Farron announced his departure as Liberal Democrat leader shortly after the June 2017 election. He was replaced by Vince Cable. In September 2018, Cable stated his intention to resign as Leader of the Liberal Democrats. On 24 May, he announced his departure date as 23 July.
Facing a no confidence vote within her party in December 2018, Theresa May told MPs she would not contest the next scheduled general election (i.e. in 2022) as leader. On 24 May 2019 she announced that she would resign as leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party on 7 June.
While a number of UK parties organise in Northern Ireland (including the Labour Party, which does not field candidates) and others field candidates for election (most notably the Conservatives), the main Northern Ireland parties are different from those in the rest of the UK. Some parties in Northern Ireland operate on an all-Ireland basis, including the Sinn Féin (which is currently Northern Ireland's second largest parliamentary party).
|Party||Leader(s)||Leader since||Leader's seat||Last election|
|Democratic Unionist Party||Arlene Foster||December 2015||None[n 10]||36.0%||10|
|Sinn Féin||Mary Lou McDonald||February 2018||None[n 15]||29.4%||7|
|Social Democratic & Labour Party||Colum Eastwood||November 2015||None[n 16]||11.7%||0|
|Ulster Unionist Party||Robin Swann||April 2017||None[n 17]||10.3%||0|
|Alliance Party||Naomi Long||October 2016||None[n 18]||7.9%||0|
Members of Parliament not standing for re-election
|MP||Seat||First elected||Party||Date announced|
|David Tredinnick||Bosworth||1987||Conservative||15 February 2019|
|Nick Boles||Grantham and Stamford||2010||Independent||15 April 2019|
|Glyn Davies||Montgomeryshire||2010||Conservative||13 May 2019|
The chart below depicts opinion polls conducted for the next United Kingdom general election; trendlines are local regressions (LOESS).
- 2019 European Parliament election in the United Kingdom
- 2019 Conservative Party (UK) leadership election
- 2019 Liberal Democrats leadership election
- The Sixth Periodic Review of Westminster constituencies was due to be implemented in 2018 and would have reduced the number of seats to 600.
- Given that Sinn Féin MPs do not take their seats and the Speaker and deputies do not vote except for the rare occurrence of a tie, the number of MPs needed for a majority is, in practice, likely to be slightly lower.
- Nicola Sturgeon sits as an MSP in the Scottish Parliament for Glasgow Southside.
- Party only stands in Scotland (59 seats). It does not stand in enough seats to obtain a majority.
- May resigned as Leader of the Conservative Party on 7 June 2019, but will remain Prime Minister and acting party leader until a successor is elected.
- Seat figure does not include Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow, who is included in the Conservative seat total by some media outlets.
- Cable has declared his intention to resign the leadership of the Liberal Democrats on 23 July.
- Mary Lou McDonald sits as a TD in Dáil Éireann (lower house of the Irish Parliament) for Dublin Central. The leader of Sinn Féin in Northern Ireland, Michelle O'Neill, sat as an MLA in the Northern Ireland Assembly for Mid Ulster prior to the collapse of the Assembly.
- Party only stands in Northern Ireland (18 seats). It does not stand in enough seats to obtain a majority.
- Arlene Foster sat as an MLA in the Northern Ireland Assembly for Fermanagh and South Tyrone prior to the collapse of the Assembly.
- Or, in the case of a British citizen who moved abroad before the age of 18, if his/her parent/guardian was on the Electoral Register in the UK in the last 15 years
- The deadline for the receipt and determination of anonymous electoral registration applications is one working day before the publication date of the notice of alteration to the Electoral Register (that is the sixth working day before polling day).
- Price sits as an AM in the Welsh Assembly.
- Bartley sits as a councillor on Lambeth Council whilst Berry sits on the London Assembly.
- Mary Lou McDonald sits as a Teachta Dála in the Dáil Éireann for Dublin Central
- Colum Eastwood sits as an MLA in the Northern Ireland Assembly for Foyle.
- Robin Swann sits as an MLA in the Northern Ireland Assembly for North Antrim.
- Naomi Long sits as an MLA in the Northern Ireland Assembly for East Belfast.
- "Theresa May to resign as prime minister". BBC News. 24 May 2019. Retrieved 24 May 2019.
- "Vince Cable kicks off Lib Dem leadership contest as he confirms departure date". PoliticsHome. 24 May 2019. Retrieved 24 May 2019.
- "Representation of the People Act 1983, Section 1". Legislation.gov.uk. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
- "Types of election, referendums, and who can vote - GOV.UK". www.gov.uk. Retrieved 18 April 2017.
- "Representation of the People Act 1985, Section 1". Legislation.gov.uk. Retrieved 24 May 2019.
- Representation of the People Act 1983, Sections 3 and 3A
- Representation of the People Act 1983, Section 173
- "House of Lords Act 1999". Legislation.gov.uk. Retrieved 4 June 2017.
- "House of Lords Reform Act 2014, Section 4". Legislation.gov.uk. Retrieved 4 June 2017.
- Electoral Commission: Deadline for registration ahead of an election.
- cf "Guidance for Electoral Registration Officers (Part 4 – Maintaining the register throughout the year)" (PDF). Cabinet Office and The Electoral Commission. July 2016. p. 114 (para 7.128). Retrieved 8 June 2017.
- Electoral Commission (2016). "I have two homes. Can I register at both addresses?". electoralcommission.org.uk. The Electoral Commission. Retrieved 5 January 2011.
- "Boundary review launched". Boundary Commission for England. Retrieved 29 April 2016.
- "2018 Review of Westminster Parliamentary constituencies". Boundary Commission for Scotland. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
- "2018 Review". Boundary Commission for Wales. Retrieved 3 May 2016.[permanent dead link]
- "Ian Jones on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 11 September 2018.
- "New parliamentary map would have given Tories a majority of 16 at last election". ITV News. Retrieved 23 October 2018.
- Johnston, Ron; Pattie, Charles; Rossiter, David (30 April 2019). "Boundaries in limbo: why the government cannot decide how many MPs there should be". LSE British Politics and Policy. London School of Economics. Retrieved 4 May 2019.
- Horne, Alexander; Kelly, Richard (19 November 2014). "Alexander Horne and Richard Kelly: Prerogative powers and the Fixed-term Parliaments Act". UK Constitutional Law Association. Retrieved 17 August 2015.
- "House of Commons Debate 5 July 2010 c 23". parliament.uk. UK Parliament. 5 July 2010. Retrieved 8 September 2013.
- Conservative Party 2017 manifesto, p. 43
- Tuft, Ben. "When will the next UK General Election be held?". The Independent. Retrieved 17 August 2015.
- "General election timetable 2015". parliament.uk. UK Parliament. Retrieved 8 December 2014.
- Blitz, James (29 March 2019). "Will the Brexit impasse lead to a UK general election?". Financial Times. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
- "May's government survives no-confidence vote". BBC News. 16 January 2019. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
- "Who stood in the General Election 2017". House of Commons Library. 8 June 2017. Retrieved 20 February 2019.
- "Three Tory MPs join breakaway group". BBC News. 20 February 2019. Retrieved 20 February 2019.
- Schofield, Kevin (29 March 2019). "The Independent Group becomes 'Change UK' to stand in European elections". PoliticsHome. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
- Correspondent, Peter Walker Political (7 September 2018). "Vince Cable to step down 'after Brexit is resolved or stopped'". The Guardian – via www.theguardian.com.
- "Theresa May survives confidence vote of Tory MPs". BBC News. 12 December 2018. Retrieved 12 December 2018.
- Stewart, Heather; Walker, Peter (12 December 2018). "May signals she will step down before 2022 election". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 15 December 2018.
- "David Tredinnick says he will not stand again as Bosworth MP". Leicester Mercury. 15 February 2019. Retrieved 15 February 2019.
- PoliticsHome.com (15 April 2019). "Nick Boles: "This is my swansong. I'm on my way out"". PoliticsHome.com. Retrieved 18 April 2019.
- "Montgomeryshire MP Glyn Davies to stand down at next election". ITV News. 15 May 2019. Retrieved 15 May 2019.