With the general elections set for June 8, it is crucial to understand which electoral system is in use in the UK.
The British voting system, known as the ‘First-Past-The-Post’ (FPTP), applies to general as well as local elections. Everyone who is 18 or over will be allowed to vote for their representative in Parliament. The FPTP is a Majority Electoral System which has been used in the UK since 1922. The mechanism is widely explained as giving ‘the winning to the candidate with more votes’.
A particular of of FPTP is the fact that candidates do not need to reach an overall majority to win. They only need to attain a higher score independently, which shows either a marginal or significant difference in votes.
As such, in a by-election a candidate would only need to win one vote more to be elected as the representative MP. Similarly, in the case of general elections, a party would need to win one constituency more than their opposition in order to become the leading party in the House of Commons.
The First-Past-The-Post system is known for its simplicity and clarity in the counting process. However, to recall criticisms against the electoral system we don’t need to look very far than the last election in 2015. On that occasion, the Conservatives became the majority party by only gaining 24 per cent of votes from all the registered voters. Contesting against a system that claims to be fair yet is obviously disproportionate — given its failure to represent the majority — scholars, news media and MPs unanimously called for electoral reform.
With only a month left before the country votes, these are the events you should know about.
This is the last formal parliamentary session before the new government is nominated. This day is marked by a speech on the Queen’s behalf to review all the major bills passed in the last session by the existing government. Taking place in the Lords Chamber, the speech is for the House of Commons and MPs. (In case you’re still waiting for it, it already happened on April 27).
This is the public announcement by the Prime Minister to declare ‘the end of the term’ for the MPs. By law, Parliament is dissolved 25 working days before the general election takes place, which means this has already happened on May 3. Teresa May announced, ‘the 2015 Parliament is now to an end’ reminding the people of Britain that ‘the choice you now face is all about the future’, referring primarily to the Brexit negotiation deals the new government would be able to strike.
From now until the 8th, candidates and their parties will be committed to campaigning to gain your votes.
Register, register, register!
Don’t forget to register before May 22. On the government’s website you need to indicate how you want to vote. After your registration, you will receive a letter indicating which stations you have been assigned to.
Polling day: 8th of June
- The polling stations will be open from 7 am until 10 pm
- You won’t be voting for the Prime Minister (officially appointed by the Queen)
- You will be voting for your representative (MP) to sit in the House of Commons
- For 650 UK constituencies between the four countries (533 for England, 59 for Scotland, 40 for Wales and 18 for Northern Ireland) and the 65 seats available.