Next United Kingdom general election

The next United Kingdom general election is scheduled to be held on Thursday 2 May 2024, in line with the Fixed-term Parliaments Act.

Background

The result at the last general election and the current situation in the House of Commons is given below:

Affiliation Members
Elected[1] Current
Conservative[b] 365 364
Labour[c] 202 200
SNP 48 47
Liberal Democrats 11 11
DUP 8 8
Sinn Féin 7 7
Plaid Cymru 4 3
SDLP 2 2
Green 1 1
Alliance 1 1
Speaker 1 1
Independent 0 5
Total 650
Voting total[d] 639
Government majority[e] 85 83

For full details of changes during the current Parliament, see Defections and suspensions and By-elections.

Electoral system

Provisionally, the next general election will be conducted using the same electoral system as the 2019 election (first-past-the-post).

The Conservative Party, which won a majority at the 2019 general election, included pledges in its manifesto to remove the fifteen-year limit on voting for British citizens living abroad, and to introduce a voter identification requirement[5] in Great Britain.

Boundary review

In March 2020, Cabinet Office minister Chloe Smith confirmed that the 2021 Periodic Review of Westminster constituencies would commence based on retaining 650 seats.[6][7] The 2021 Periodic Review of Westminster constituencies will begin in 2021 with the existing relevant legislation amended by the Parliamentary Constituencies Bill 2019-21.

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.[8][9][10] A projection by psephologists Colin Rallings and Michael Thrasher of how the 2017 votes would have translated to seats under the new boundaries suggested the changes would be beneficial to the Conservative Party and detrimental to Labour.[11][12]

Boundary changes cannot be implemented until they are approved by both Houses of Parliament. No changes were submitted by the government during the 2017–2019 Parliament.[13] The majority Conservative government manifesto states that this will be implemented before the next general election.

Date of the election

The Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 (FTPA) 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, unless the previous general election took place between 1 January and the first Thursday in May, in which case the election takes place on the first Thursday in May of the fourth year after the previous general election.[14]

Removing the power of the monarch, on advice of the prime minister, to dissolve parliament before its five-year maximum length,[14] the act permits early dissolution if the House of Commons votes by a two-thirds supermajority. 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.[15] Alternatively, a bill requiring just a simple majority in both Houses could be introduced to establish in law an earlier date for the election, which is how the date of the previous general election was set in 2019.[16]

Thus, the next general election is due to take place on Thursday 2 May 2024, unless it is triggered earlier.[17] Under the Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013 parliament would be dissolved 25 working days before this date on Monday 26 March 2024.[18] Under the Fixed-term Parliaments Act, the Prime Minister may schedule polling day up to two months after 2 May 2024, subject to approval by both Houses.

Proposed repeal of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act

At the 2019 general election, where the Conservatives won a majority of 80 seats, the manifesto of the party contained a commitment to repeal the Fixed-term Parliaments Act due to "paralysis at a time when the country has needed decisive action".[19] The pledge was confirmed in the first Queen's Speech following the election.[20] However, as the FTPA repealed the previous legislation in relation to limited term parliaments, further legislation would be required to set out how long parliaments should last.[21]

Opinion polling

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