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2005 · members United Kingdom Next ›
United Kingdom general election, 2010
All 650 seats of the House of Commons
on or before 3 June 2010
Gordon Brown David Cameron Nick Clegg
Leader Gordon Brown David Cameron Nick Clegg
Party Labour Conservative Liberal Democrat
Leader since 24 June 2007 6 December 2005 18 December 2007
Leader's seat Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath Witney Sheffield Hallam
Last election 356 seats, 35.3% 198 seats, 32.3% 62 seats, 22.1%
Seats needed –23 +116 +264

Incumbent Prime Minister
Gordon Brown
Labour

Subsequent Prime Minister
TBD

1997 election MPs
2001 election MPs
2005 election MPs
2010 election

The next United Kingdom general election is due to take place on or before 3 June 2010, barring exceptional circumstances. As a general election, it will see voting take place in all constituencies of the United Kingdom, to elect Members of Parliament (MPs) to seats in the House of Commons, the lower house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom.

The number of seats will rise from 646 to 650 under the proposals made by the Boundary Commissions for England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, the Scottish Boundary Commission having made its last review prior to the 2005 general election.[1][2]

The governing Labour Party will be looking to secure a fourth consecutive term in office and to restore support lost since 1997.[3] The Conservative Party will seek to regain its dominant position in politics after losses in the 1990s, and to replace Labour as the governing party. The Liberal Democrats hope to make gains from both sides; although they too would ideally wish to form a government, their more realistic ambition is to hold the balance of power in a hung parliament. The Scottish National Party, encouraged by their victory in the 2007 Scottish parliament elections, have set themselves a target of 20 MPs and will also be hoping to find themselves in a balance of power position.[4] Equally, Plaid Cymru is seeking gains in Wales. Smaller parties who have had successes at local elections and the 2009 European elections (United Kingdom Independence Party, Green Party, British National Party) will look to extend their representation to seats in the House of Commons.

The election is the first to be faced by the Labour leader Gordon Brown as Prime Minister, having been appointed as party leader in 2007 after the resignation of Tony Blair. It is also the first election to be faced by the main opposition party leaders, David Cameron of the Conservatives and Nick Clegg of the Liberal Democrats.

Contents

Date of the election

Under the provisions of the Septennial Act 1715 as amended by the Parliament Act 1911, the next general election must be held on or before 3 June 2010.[5] In recent times, and certainly since the enactment of the Septennial Act 1715, Parliament has not been allowed to expire. The present Parliament which first met on 11 May 2005 is scheduled to expire at midnight on 10 May 2010.[6][7] The previous general election in the UK was held on 5 May 2005. Assuming a proclamation summoning a new Parliament is issued on 10 May, the latest possible date of the general election would be 3 June 2010.[7]

The next general election will most probably be called following the dissolution of the current Parliament. Parliament is dissolved by the Monarch, usually at the request of the Prime Minister. Dissolution can occur at any time within five years of the start of that Parliament. However, since the maximum Parliamentary term was set at five years, Parliaments have most often sat for around four years, with fresh elections being called at the start of the fifth year.[8] The local elections for 2010 have been firmly scheduled for 6 May, and most commentators have assumed that the general election will also be held on this day, as occurred in the previous three general elections in 1997, 2001 and 2005.[9] Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth appeared to suggest that the election would be held on 6 May in an interview with Sky News on 24 January 2010. Earlier in January, the Minister of State for Europe Chris Bryant had also mentioned a date of 6 May in connection with the general election.[10]

In November 2006 it was reported that activists for the governing Labour Party were being warned to prepare for a general election as early as 2008.[11] In June 2007, in his speech accepting his appointment as leader of the Labour Party, Brown declared that he was appointing a member of the government as election co-ordinator. This was considered by some suggestive that he was intending to call an election earlier than expected.[12] After much media speculation in early October 2007 that an election would be called for first week of November 2007,[13] Gordon Brown announced in an interview with the BBC's Andrew Marr that he would not call an election 'in the next period', thought to mean 2007 or 2008.[14] This announcement followed an opinion poll of marginal constituencies targeted by the Conservatives, which indicated that an election could result in the loss of the overall Labour majority.[15]

The main parties and their leaders

All three main parties will go into the general election having changed leaders since the last election. David Cameron became Conservative leader in December 2005, replacing Michael Howard. Gordon Brown succeeded Tony Blair as leader of the Labour Party on 24 June 2007 and as Prime Minister on 27 June 2007. Nick Clegg was elected as leader of the Liberal Democrats in December 2007, succeeding Sir Menzies Campbell who resigned on 15 October 2007 after having replaced Charles Kennedy, who had himself resigned in March 2006. The last time all three main parties went into a general election with new leaders was in the 1979 election, when James Callaghan as Labour leader, Margaret Thatcher for the Conservatives, and David Steel with the then-Liberal Party took to the polls.

The leadership of each party may have implications beyond party popularity at the polls, especially if a hung parliament requires the formation of a coalition or minority government. Tony Blair courted the Liberal Democrats for possible coalition in the 1997 Parliament even though Labour had a clear majority, and similarly Gordon Brown made comments about the possibility of a coalition in January 2010.[16]. In 2009, it was reported that senior civil servants are to meet with the Liberal Democrats to discuss their policies, an indication of how seriously the prospect of a hung parliament is being taken.[17]. Nick Clegg[18] and Menzies Campbell[19] have continued the position of Charles Kennedy of not being prepared to form a coalition with either main party and of voting against any Queen's Speech unless there was an unambiguous commitment in it to introduce proportional representation.

David Cameron is attempting to make a pitch towards "Middle England" — the people who it is said have abandoned the Conservative Party since 1992 for Labour or the Liberal Democrats.[20]

Other parties contesting the election

Other parties with representation at the previous general election at Westminster include the Scottish National Party and Plaid Cymru from Scotland and Wales respectively, and RESPECT The Unity Coalition and Health Concern, both of which hold one Parliamentary seat from England. Since that election, the Scottish National Party have won the 2007 Scottish Parliament elections, whilst the Labour Party remained the largest party in the Welsh Assembly, though Plaid Cymru increased their share of the vote.

Within Northern Ireland, none of the main parties from Great Britain has any representation. At the 2005 election, Sinn Féin (whose MPs do not take their seats as they will not swear the Oath of Allegiance to the Queen) won five seats whilst the Democratic Unionist Party won nine. This continued their expansion at the expense of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (3 seats) and the Ulster Unionist Party (1 seat) respectively. This shift continued trends in both the nationalist and unionist communities that had been seen in the previous two elections, and was also replicated in the 2007 elections to the Northern Ireland Assembly. In 2008, the DUP announced their intention to sit with the Conservative Party in parliament, and in 2009 the UUP and Conservative Party announced they had formed an electoral alliance - the two parties will field joint candidates for future elections under the banner of "Ulster Conservatives and Unionists – New Force".[21]

Many constituencies will be contested by other, smaller parties. Parties that won no representatives at Westminster in 2005 but have seats in the devolved assemblies or European Parliament include the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland, the Progressive Unionist Party of Northern Ireland, the British National Party, the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), and the Green parties in the UK: the Green Party of England and Wales, the Scottish Green Party, and the Green Party in Northern Ireland. In 2009, Nigel Farage announced his intention to resign as UKIP leader to focus his attention on becoming a Member of Parliament. Farage was replaced by Lord Pearson of Rannoch, elected by party members, whose stated intention would be for the electoral support of UKIP to force a hung parliament. The Green Party of England and Wales has voted to have a position of leader for the first time; the first leadership election was won by Caroline Lucas, Prospective Parliamentary Candidate to contest the constituency of Brighton Pavilion.

The Jury Team, launched in March 2009 and described as a "non-party party", is an umbrella organisation seeking to increase the number of independent politicians in the UK,[22] citing a YouGov poll that suggests that 55% of electors would vote for an independent candidate if they thought he or she had a realistic chance of being elected. The Jury Team along with the Christian Party, the English Democrats, the Popular Alliance, the United Kingdom First Party and Veritas have formed the Alliance for Democracy in order to participate in the upcoming general election and named Sir Paul Judge as its first leader.[23][24]

Several left-wing parties that participated in the European Union Parliamentary elections of 2009 under No2EU have formed the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition to contest the general election. The coalition is comprised of the Socialist Workers Party, the Socialist Party, the Socialist Alliance, Socialist Resistance, and is supported by some members of UNISON, the National Union of Teachers, the University and College Union, the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers, and the Public and Commercial Services Union. Several members of these unions have agreed to run as candidates under the TUSC banner.[25] The coalition will not run candidates against left-wing Labour or Respect candidates.[26][27]

Opinion polls, and analysis of votes in relation to numbers of seats

Since each MP is elected separately by the first past the post voting system, it is impossible to directly project a clear election outcome from overall UK shares of the vote. Not only can individual constituencies vary markedly from overall voting trends, but individual countries and regions within the UK may have a very different electoral contest that is not properly reflected in overall share of the vote figures. For example, while the main contest in the 2010 election will be between Labour and the Conservatives, the main contest in Scotland will be between Labour and the SNP, with latest polls showing the SNP ahead.[28] That said, analysis of previous elections shows that approximate forecasting of results can be achieved by assuming that the swing in each individual constituency will be the same across the country, or at least normally-distributed around the mean. This system is used by much of the media in the UK to assess electoral fortunes.

With boundary changes coming into effect at the election, the benchmarks for relating national vote share to the outcome in seats have been recalculated by a team led by Colin Rallings and Michael Thrasher.[29] Figures in brackets represent the headline lead. Note that these figures do not take into account the performance of the Liberal Democrats, minor or nationalist parties, independent candidates, or localised effects caused by a change in the distribution of the Labour and Conservative vote and that of other parties.

Uniform national swing Result
Any to Lab Increased Labour majority in Parliament
Up to 1.6% to Con Reduced Labour majority
1.6% – 4.3% to Con Labour hung parliament
4.3% – 6.9% Con Conservative hung parliament
More than 6.9% to Con Conservative overall majority

Normally governments can easily survive for a full parliamentary term on a majority of more than 20 seats over all other parties. Below that level there is a danger of by-elections and MPs crossing the floor of the House reducing the government to a minority such that it would be at increased risk of losing a vote of no confidence in the government.

The first past the post system means that the number of MPs elected may not reflect the overall popular vote share across the parties. Thus, it is not necessarily the party with the largest share of the popular vote that will end up with the largest number of MPs. (See details of the elections in 1951 and February 1974.) Since 1935 no party has achieved more than 50% of the popular vote in a UK general election. The voting system favours parties with relatively concentrated support: a widely distributed vote leaves a party at risk of getting a large vote share but doing poorly in terms of numbers of seats (as the SDP-Liberal Alliance did in the 1980s), whereas parties with localised votes can win seats with a relatively small share of the vote.

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Opinion poll trends since 2005

Immediately following the previous general election, the Labour party held a double-digit lead in opinion polls. However, over the course of 2005, this lead was eroded somewhat. By December 2005, the Conservative party showed its first small leads in opinion polls following the controversial 90 days detention proposals and the election of David Cameron to the leadership of the Conservative party.[30]

In early 2006, opinion polls were increasingly mixed with small leads given alternately to Labour and Conservative. From the May 2006 local elections, in which Labour suffered significant losses, the Conservatives took a small single-digit lead in opinion polls. Labour regained the lead in June 2007 following the resignation of Tony Blair and the appointment of Gordon Brown as prime minister. From November 2007, the Conservatives again took the lead and, from then, extended their lead into double digits, particularly in response to the MPs' expenses scandal, although there was some evidence that the lead narrowed slightly towards the end of 2009. By the end of February 2010, Ipsos MORI, ICM, YouGov and ComRes polls had all found a sufficient narrowing of the Conservative lead for media speculation about a hung parliament to return.[31]

The following graph shows polls recorded over the period by Ipsos MORI:

UKGeneralElection2010MoriPolls.svg

Television debates

In September 2009, Sky News started to campaign for televised debates between the leaders of the three main parties. David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Gordon Brown have agreed to take part.[32]

On 21 December 2009, it was announced that there would be three leaders debates, each in primetime. They would be hosted by ITV's Alastair Stewart, Adam Boulton from Sky News and BBC Question Time's David Dimbleby.[33] However, the SNP has insisted that as the leading political party in Scotland in the latest opinion poll, it should be included in any debate broadcast in Scotland, adding "The broadcasters would do well to recall the debacle experienced by the BBC’s Panorama programme in 1995, when they were forced not to broadcast an interview with the Prime Minister in Scotland because it breached the rules of impartiality during a Scottish local election."[34]

On 22 December 2009, the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) leader, Lord Pearson stated that his party should be included because it "would be wrong for UKIP, which came second in the last test of national political opinion, to be excluded from these debates."[35]

MPs not seeking re-election

This general election has an unusually high number of MPs choosing not to seek re-election. There are more MPs standing down at the next general election than did at the 1945 election (which on account of the extraordinary wartime circumstances came ten years after the preceding election).[36] This has been blamed on the expenses scandal and the fact that redundancy-style payments for departing MPs may be scrapped after the election.[37]

In all, 96 Labour MPs, 35 Conservatives, 7 Liberal Democrats, 3 independents, 1 Independent Conservative and 1 member each from Plaid Cymru, the Scottish National Party, the Democratic Unionist Party, and the Social Democratic and Labour Party have announced that they will not be contesting the next election.

Boundary changes

The notional results of the 2005 election, if they had taken place with the new boundaries.

The four national Boundary Commissions are required by the Parliamentary Constituencies Act 1986 (as amended by the Boundary Commissions Act 1992) to conduct a general review of all the constituencies in its part of the United Kingdom every eight to twelve years to ensure the size and composition of constituencies are as fair as possible. Based on the Rallings and Thrasher studies using ward by ward data from local elections and the 2005 general election, the new boundaries to be used in 2010 would have returned nine fewer Labour MPs had they been in place at the previous election; given that there are to be four more seats in the next parliament this notionally reduces Labour's majority from 66 to 44.[29]

England

The Boundary Commission for England completed and sent its recommendations to the Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs on 31 October 2006. The changes, which included four additional seats, were given effect by Statutory Instrument on 13 June 2007.[38]

Northern Ireland

In 2006 the Northern Ireland Boundary Commission proposed keeping the number of constituencies at 18 but with minor changes to its eastern constituencies. The changes were given effect by Statutory Instrument on 11 June 2008.[39] For the first time, these changes include the splitting of an electoral ward between two constituencies.

Scotland

Scotland saw its most recent large-scale review completed in 2004, so the boundaries used in the 2005 general election in Scotland will still apply at the next UK general election. Scotland will therefore continue to have 59 constituencies.

Wales

Constituencies in Wales were reviewed by the Boundary Commission for Wales. The recommendations were laid before Parliament on 14 December 2005 and approved on 11 April 2006.[40] The new constituencies will apply from the next general election.

The total number of seats is to remain at 40, although new seats have been recommended by radical redrawing of boundaries in Clwyd and Gwynedd: Arfon and Dwyfor Meirionnydd replace Caernarfon and Meirionnydd Nant Conwy respectively; Aberconwy replaces Conwy. Currently Welsh constituencies have on average 25,000 fewer people than their counterparts in England.

Marginal seats for main parties

Following the Boundary Commissions' reports recommending changes to seats in England, Northern Ireland, and Wales various estimates have been made of the electoral effect of the changes in each constituency. The most respected of these estimates is The Media Guide to the New Parliamentary Constituencies compiled and edited by Colin Rallings and Michael Thrasher, which was published in February 2007.[41] The website UKPollingReport has also compiled estimates.[42] The various estimates differ in detail.

Arising out of those estimates, lists of the most marginal seats have been compiled. They are the seats where the party needs to overturn the lowest percentage majority to win the seat. These are not necessarily the seats where it will be easiest to do so, or the only seats that the party will actually be targeting at the next election. For complete lists of targets for each party, see Conservative targets for next UK election and Labour targets for next UK election.

N.B. The "Winning Party" is notional, calculated on the Boundary Commission changes made to the seat (except in the case of Scottish constituencies, where revised boundaries were adopted prior to 2005, and the few seats to have seen no boundary changes). This may not be the same as the party that won the seat in the 2005 general election (for instance in the case of Solihull and Rochdale).

Labour targets

Rank Constituency Winning party Swing to gain
1 Sittingbourne and Sheppey Conservative 0.03
2 Clwyd West Conservative 0.07
3 Hemel Hempstead Conservative 0.18
4 Kettering Conservative 0.20
5 North East Somerset Conservative 0.23
6 Finchley and Golders Green Conservative 0.35
7 Shipley Conservative 0.48
8 Dundee East SNP 0.48
9 Rochester and Strood Conservative 0.57
10 Wellingborough Conservative 0.62

Conservative targets

Rank Constituency Winning party Swing to gain
1 Gillingham and Rainham Labour 0.02
2 Crawley Labour 0.04
3 York Outer Liberal Democrat 0.22
4 Romsey and Southampton North Liberal Democrat 0.23
5 Harlow Labour 0.29
6 Cheltenham Liberal Democrat 0.33
7 Croydon Central Labour 0.36
8 Portsmouth North Labour 0.38
9 Battersea Labour 0.41
10 Hove Labour 0.50

Liberal Democrat targets

Rank Constituency Winning party Swing to gain
1 Guildford Conservative 0.09
2 Solihull Conservative 0.12
3 Rochdale Labour 0.17
4 Oxford East Labour 0.37
5 Edinburgh South Labour 0.47
6 Hampstead and Kilburn Labour 0.57
7 Eastbourne Conservative 0.70
8 Islington South and Finsbury Labour 0.78
9 Watford Labour 1.17
10 Ealing Central and Acton Labour 1.37

Scottish National Party targets

Rank Constituency Winning party Swing to gain
1 Ochil and South Perthshire Labour 0.74
2 Dundee West Labour 7.29

Plaid Cymru targets

Rank Constituency Winning party Swing to gain
1 Ceredigion Liberal Democrat 0.31
2 Arfon Labour 0.91
3 Ynys Môn Labour 1.75

Northern Irish targets

Rank Constituency Winning party Challenging party Swing to gain
1 Belfast South SDLP Democratic Unionist 1.93
2 South Antrim Democratic Unionist Ulster Unionist 4.54
3 Fermanagh and South Tyrone Sinn Féin Democratic Unionist 4.70
4 Belfast South SDLP Ulster Unionist 4.80

Notes

  1. ^ "Boundary Commission for Northern Ireland" (PDF). http://www.boundarycommission.org.uk/pubs/finalrecommendations.pdf. 
  2. ^ "Final Northern Ireland boundary change recommendations". http://www.ark.ac.uk/elections/gboun07.htm. 
  3. ^ "Brown would 'renew' Labour Party". BBC News Online. 5 January 2007. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/6236315.stm. 
  4. ^ "Salmond wants Westminster to 'dance to a Scottish jig' as he targets 20 seats". The Scotsman. 21 April 2008. http://news.scotsman.com/latestnews/Salmond-wants-Westminster-to-39dance.4001458.jp. 
  5. ^ UK Electoral Commission: UK Parliamentary general election
  6. ^ Technically, Parliament could vote to extend the lifetime of the current term beyond 5 years. This cannot be done by the House of Commons alone; it must be additionally approved by the House of Lords (the Parliament Acts 1911 and 1949 may not be utilised in this case) and by the Queen-in-Parliament. Since 1911, extension of the maximum term of Parliaments has only occurred during the First and Second World Wars.
  7. ^ a b "Research Paper 07/31: Election Timetables". House of Commons Library. http://www.parliament.uk/commons/lib/research/rp2007/rp07-031.pdf. 
  8. ^ "Election: How It Works — The General Election process". The Scotsman. 5 April 2005. http://election.scotsman.com/howitworks.cfm. 
  9. ^ "The most likely date for the next election is May 6th 2010 - Coffee House". The Spectator. 1 May 2009. http://www.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/3581436/the-most-likely-date-for-the-next-election-is-may-6th-2010.thtml. Retrieved 13 July 2009. 
  10. ^ "Defence Secretary Hints At May 6 Election". Sky News. 5 April 2005. http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/Politics/Bob-Ainsworth-Tells-Skys-Adam-Boulton-The-Election-Will-Be-On-May-6/Article/201001415534567. 
  11. ^ "Labour 'warns of early election'". BBC News Online. 8 December 2006. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/6220352.stm. 
  12. ^ Philip Webster (25 June 2007). "Election set for 2008". The Times. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article1811255.ece. 
  13. ^ "How election fever developed". BBC News Online. 6 October 2007. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7032099.stm. 
  14. ^ "Brown rules out autumn election". BBC News Online. 6 October 2007. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7031749.stm. 
  15. ^ "Tory marginals poll". News of the World. 6 October 2007. http://www.newsoftheworld.co.uk/notw_poll.pdf. 
  16. ^ "PM paves way for deal with Lib Dems in hung parliament". The Independent. 4 January 2010. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/pm-paves-way-for-deal-with--lib-dems-in-hung-parliament-1856888.html. 
  17. ^ Whitehall prepares for hung parliament with Lib Dem talks The Guardian, 1 Jan 2009
  18. ^ "Clegg's terms for deal in hung parliament". Guardian Unlimited. 10 March 2008. http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2008/mar/10/liberaldemocrats.nickclegg. 
  19. ^ "Liberal Democrats under my leadership would vote against any Queens Speech without a clear and unambiguous commitment for Proportional Representation". mingcampbell.co.uk. 15 February 2006. http://www.mingcampbell.org.uk/ccarchive/2006/02/15/liberal-democrats-under-my-leadership-would-vote-against-any-queens-speech-without-a-clear-and-unambiguous-commitment-for-proportional-representation/. 
  20. ^ "Brown to stake all on Middle England". The Times. 25 September 2006. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-2373790,00.html. 
  21. ^ http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/northern_ireland/7913967.stm
  22. ^ Gourlay, Chris (2009-03-08). "Tycoon finances ‘X Factor’ party to clean up politics". The Sunday Times. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article5864530.ece. Retrieved 2009-05-10. 
  23. ^ http://englishparliament.net/poll/alliance-democracy
  24. ^ http://www.cityam.com/news-and-analysis/julie-meyer/entrepreneur-gathering-gives-views-2010
  25. ^ http://www.tusc.org.uk/index.php
  26. ^ http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/art.php?id=20159
  27. ^ http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/8673
  28. ^ Talk of independence is doing SNP few favours ipsos-mori.com, 29 November 2009
  29. ^ a b Colin Rallings, Michael Thrasher, "The Media Guide to the New Parliamentary Constituencies", Local Government Chronicle Elections Centre, 2007. ISBN 0948858451.
  30. ^ Anthony Wells (10 December 2005). "Tories take the Lead". UKPollingReport. http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/blog/archives/104. Retrieved 15 March 2010. 
  31. ^ YouGov show Tory lead cut to 7 points ukpollingreport.co.uk, 29 January 2010
  32. ^ Norman, Laurence (2009-10-03). "Brown Agrees to U.S.-Style Debates - WSJ.com". Online.wsj.com. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125458139648761865.html?mod=googlenews_wsj. Retrieved 2010-01-10. 
  33. ^ "Brown to face three televised election debates". BBC News Online. 2009-12-21. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8425280.stm. Retrieved 2009-12-21. 
  34. ^ Salmond slams rigged election debate proposals snp.org 21 December 2009
  35. ^ "TV debates must include UKIP - UK Independence Party". Ukip.org. 2009-12-22. http://www.ukip.org/content/latest-news/1381-tv-debates-must-include-ukip. Retrieved 2010-01-10. 
  36. ^ "A post-war record for MPs standing down". BBC News Online. 2 December 2009. http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/newsnight/michaelcrick/2009/12/a_postwar_record_for_mps_stand.html. 
  37. ^ "Quarter of MPs to stand down over expenses". The Daily Telegraph. 28 December 2009. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/mps-expenses/6894889/Quarter-of-MPs-to-stand-down-over-expenses.html. 
  38. ^ "The Parliamentary Constituencies (England) Order 2007 (S.I. 2007 No. 1681)". http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2007/20071681.htm. 
  39. ^ "The Parliamentary Constituencies (Northern Ireland) Order 2008 (S.I. 2008 No. 1486)". http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2008/uksi_20081486_en_1. 
  40. ^ "The Parliamentary Constituencies and Assembly Electoral Regions (Wales) Order 2006 (S.I. 2006 No. 1041)". http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2006/20061041.htm. 
  41. ^ Local Government Chronicle Elections Centre for BBC, ITN, PA News and Sky News. ISBN 0 948858 45 1.
  42. ^ UKPollingReport Election Guide, UK Polling Report, in association with YouGov

External links

Boundary Commissions


Simple English

The 2010 United Kingdom General Election was an election held on 6th May 2010 to elect 650 members to the House of Commons of the United Kingdom. The three party leaders are shown below.

[[File:|110px]] File:Gordon Brown File:Nick Clegg by the 2009 budget
David Cameron
Conservative Party Leader
Gordon Brown
Labour Party Leader
Nick Clegg
Liberal Democrat Leader
[[File:|100px]] File:Logo Labour Party-red and File:Liberal Democrats UK
Conservative Party Logo Labour Party Logo Liberal Democrat Logo

The election resulted in a hung parliament, where no political party has an overall majority of seats. This is the first time this has happened since 1974.

The Conservative Party won 307 out of the 650 seats available making them the largest party in the House of Commons. A coalition was then formed between the Conservative Party and the Liberal Democrats who together had enough seats for a majority. This is the first coalition government in the United Kingdom since World War II.

The Leader of the Conservative Party David Cameron became Prime Minister of the United Kigdom on 11 May 2010 and the leader of the Liberal Democrats Nick Clegg became the Deputy Prime Minister. Before the election, the Leader of the Labour Party Gordon Brown was the Prime Minister.

This was the first British general election where the leaders of the three main parties took part together in a series of debates for television. The first debate was shown on ITV and was moderated by Alastair Stewart. It was on the subject of domestic affairs and polls taken after the debate showed that most people thought Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg had done the best and the Liberal Democrats then saw a large rise in support in opinion polls, even beating Labour for second place behind the Conservatives.

The second debate, on the subject of Foreign Affairs was shown on Sky News and was moderated by Adam Boulton. Polls after this debate showed that Nick Clegg and David Cameron had done best with Gordon Brown slightly behind. The third and final debate was shown on BBC One and was moderated by David Dimbleby. It was on the subject of the economy and taxes and most opinion polls indicated that David Cameron had performed the best out of the three leaders.

The Conservative Party gained support from the following newspapers: the Daily Express, the Daily Mail, the Sun, the Daily Telegraph, the Times, the Daily Star, the Evening Standard, the Financial Times, Sunday Express, the Mail on Sunday, the News of the World, the Sunday Telegraph and the Sunday Times. The Liberal Democrats were supported by: the Guardian, the Observer and the Independent. Only the Daily Mirror and the Sunday Mirror supported the Labour Party and the People newspaper favoured a coalition.

This election saw the Conservative Party return to government for the first time since 1997 and also saw the Liberal Democrats get their first ever representation in government. Peter Robinson, the First Minister of Northern Ireland and leader of the Democratic Unionist Party unexpectedly lost his seat to the Alliance Party. The Green Party of England and Wales gained its first ever seat in the House of Commons and the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland gained its first seat in the House of Commons since 1974. Former Labour Party Home Secretaries Jacqui Smith and Charles Clarke both lost their seats. The Ulster Unionist Party and the Respect Party won seats in the 2005 General Election but lost their seats in the 2010 Election.

The final results of the election were:

The seat of North Down was won by an Independent candidate and the seat of Buckinghamshire was won by the Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow, who is not considered to be of any political party.


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