IT was a dramatic night for Prime Minister’s questions last night and with Boris Johnson hinting at a snap general election for October, we could see polls opening much sooner.
The last General Election was held in 2017. Here’s everything you need to know about how a general elections actually work.
What is a General Election?
A General Election is the chance for people in the UK to select an MP to represent their local area in the House of Commons.
Normally there will be several candidates standing to be MP in each constituency, many of which will representing various political parties such as Labour or the Conservatives.
The General Election vote will also determine who will be elected as the UK Prime Minister.
The last General Election was held on June 8, 2017.
What is a snap election?
A snap election is an election that happens earlier than it usually expected.
Typically they are held every five years.
Who can vote in a General Election?
To vote in the general election you must be:
- be registered to vote
- be 18 or over on the day of the election (“polling day”)
- be a British, Irish or Commonwealth citizen
- be resident at an address in the UK (or a British citizen living abroad who has been registered to vote in the UK in the last 15 years)
- not be legally excluded from voting
When is the next General Election?
The next general election in the United Kingdom is scheduled for May 5, 2022, under the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011.
A General Election requires 25 working days’ notice.
However, these dates could change if Boris calls a snap election.
The date of the last General Election was June 8, 2017, which saw the Conservatives lose their majority but remain in Government after they struck a deal with the DUP.
Will there be a General Election before Brexit?
Boris now believes he needs a fresh mandate from voters to prise a new deal from EU leaders if he loses to Tory rebels in the next few days in the Commons.
In a clear threat to rebel MPs, the PM warned he would never go to Brussels and ask for Jeremy Corbyn’s “pointless” extension.
This would leave him with no option but to go for a general election if enough Tory MPs side with the rebel plan.
And he is confident that he can win the vote, too, sending the country back to the polls for fourth time in just five years.
He told the nation in an address: “We are leaving on October 31, no ifs or buts.
“We will not accept any attempt to go back on our promises.
“I believe we will get a deal at that crucial summit in October.
“Let’s get Brexit done.”
How is the UK Prime Minister elected?
The UK Prime Minister is the head of the government, but they are also an MP.
People vote for who they wish to be elected as the MP for their local area.
Usually voters go to a polling station and vote for one candidate for the role.
The person who receives the most votes is appointed in the role for up to five years.
Typically the political party who receives the most number of seats in the House of Commons forms the government.
The leader of the political party who wins will be made Prime Minister.
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What happens if no party wins the majority of the seats in the General Election?
Usually the political party who wins the most seats in the General Election will form the new Government, with its leader being appointed Prime Minister.
If no party wins, then a hung Parliament results.
In this situation, two or more parties may form a coalition with the PM appointing ministers to work in the government departments. The most senior ministers sit in the Cabinet.