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United Kingdom general election, 2017

The United Kingdom general election of 2017 is scheduled to take place on 8 June 2017. Each of the 650 parliamentary constituencies will elect one Member of Parliament (MP) to the House of Commons, the lower house of Parliament.

United Kingdom general election, 2017
United Kingdom
← 2015 8 June 2017 2022 →

All 650 seats in the House of Commons
326 seats needed for a majority
Opinion polls
  Theresa May Jeremy Corbyn
Leader Theresa May Jeremy Corbyn
Party Conservative Labour
Leader since 11 July 2016 12 September 2015
Leader's seat Maidenhead Islington North
Last election 330 seats, 36.9% 232 seats, 30.4%
Current seats 330 229
Seats needed Steady Increase 97

  Nicola Sturgeon Tim Farron
Leader Nicola Sturgeon Tim Farron
Party SNP Liberal Democrat
Leader since 14 November 2014 16 July 2015
Leader's seat Not contesting[n 1] Westmorland & Lonsdale
Last election 56 seats, 4.7% 8 seats, 7.9%
Current seats 54 9
Seats needed N/A[n 2] Increase 317

2017UKElectionMap.svg
A map of UK parliamentary constituencies.

Incumbent Prime Minister

Theresa May
Conservative



2005 election MPs
2010 election MPs
2015 election MPs
2017 election MPs

In line with the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011, an election had not been due until 7 May 2020, but a call for a snap election by Prime Minister Theresa May received the necessary two-thirds majority in a 522 to 13 vote in the House of Commons on 19 April 2017.

The Conservative Party, which has governed since 2015 (and as a senior coalition partner from 2010), is defending a majority of 12 against the Labour Party, the official opposition. The third largest party, the Scottish National Party, won 56 of the 59 Scottish constituencies in 2015. The Liberal Democrats, and the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party, are the fourth and fifth largest parties, with 9 and 8 seats respectively.

Negotiation positions following Britain's invocation of Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union in March 2017 to leave the EU are expected to feature in the election campaign as well as the normal major issues of the economy, education, jobs and the NHS. Opinion polling for the popular vote since the election was called has given May's Conservatives a lead over Labour led by Jeremy Corbyn.

Campaigning was temporarily suspended by all major parties from 23 May to 24 May following a suicide bombing during a concert at the Manchester Arena that killed 22 people and injured 59 others.

Contents

Electoral systemEdit

Each parliamentary constituency of the United Kingdom elects one MP to the House of Commons using the "first past the post" system. If one party obtains a majority of seats, then that party is entitled to form the Government, with its leader as Prime Minister. If the election results in no single party having a majority, then there is a hung parliament. In this case, the options for forming the Government are either a minority government or a coalition government.[1]

Because the postponed Sixth Periodic Review of Westminster constituencies is not due to report until 2018[2] the general election will take place under existing boundaries, enabling comparisons with the results by constituency in 2015.

Voting eligibilityEdit

To vote in the general election, one must be:[3][4]

  • on the Electoral Register;
  • aged 18 or over on polling day;
  • a British, Irish or Commonwealth citizen;
  • a 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),[n 3] and;
  • not legally excluded from voting (for example a convicted person detained in prison or a mental hospital, or unlawfully at large if he/she would otherwise have been detained,[5] or a person found guilty of certain corrupt or illegal practices[6]).

Individuals must be registered to vote by midnight twelve working days before polling day (22 May).[7][8] Anyone who qualifies as an anonymous elector has until midnight on 31 May to register.[n 4] 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 vote in only one constituency at the general election.[10]

On 18 May, The Independent reported that more than 1.1 million people between 18 and 35 had registered to vote since the election was announced on 18 April. Of those, 591,730 were under the age of 25.[11]

Date of the electionEdit

The Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 introduced fixed-term Parliaments to the United Kingdom, with elections scheduled every five years following the general election on 7 May 2015.[12] This removed the power of the Prime Minister, using the royal prerogative, to dissolve Parliament before its five-year maximum length.[12] The Act permits early dissolution if the House of Commons votes by a supermajority of two-thirds.

On 18 April 2017, the Prime Minister Theresa May announced she would seek an election on 8 June.[13] May had previously indicated she had no plan to call a snap election.[14][15] A House of Commons motion to allow this was passed on 19 April, with 522 votes for and 13 against, a majority of 509, meeting the required two-thirds majority.[16] The motion was supported by the Conservatives, Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Greens while the SNP abstained.[13] Nine Labour MPs, one SDLP MP and three independents (Sylvia Hermon and two former SNP MPs, Natalie McGarry and Michelle Thomson) voted against the motion.[17]

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn supported the early election,[18] as did Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron and the Green Party.[19][20] The SNP stated that it was in favour of fixed-term parliaments, so abstained in the House of Commons vote.[21] UKIP leader Paul Nuttall and First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones criticised the timing of the election as opportunistic by May, motivated by the apparent weakness of the Labour Party in opposition.[22][23]

On 25 April, the election date was confirmed as 8 June,[24] with dissolution on 3 May. The government announced it intends for the next parliament to assemble on 13 June with the state opening on 19 June.[25]

TimetableEdit

The key dates are listed below (all times are BST):[26]

18 April Prime Minister Theresa May announced her intention to hold a snap election
19 April MPs voted to dissolve Parliament
22 April Start of purdah[27][28]
25 April Royal Proclamation under section 2(7) of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act, 2011 issued by HM The Queen on the advice of the Prime Minister[24]
27 April Second session of Parliament prorogued
3 May Formal dissolution of Parliament (in order for election to take place on 8 June) and official start of 'short' campaigning
3 May Royal Proclamation is issued summoning a new UK Parliament[25]
4 May Local elections (were already scheduled, are not part of the general election)
11 May Deadline (4pm) for the delivery of candidate nomination papers
11 May Deadline (5pm) for the publication of Statements of Persons Nominated (or 4 pm on 12 May if objections were received)
11 May Earliest date returning officers can issue postal ballot packs[29]
22 May Last day to register to vote (unless an anonymous elector)[7]
23 May Deadline (5pm) to apply for a postal vote/postal proxy vote[30][31]
31 May Deadline (5pm) to apply for a proxy vote,[30][31] and last day to register to vote as an anonymous elector[n 4]
8 June Polling day (polling stations open at 7 am and close at 10 pm or once voters present in a queue at/outside the polling station at 10 pm have cast their vote).[32] Counting of votes begins no later than 2 am on 9 June.[33]
13 June Parliament re-assembles
19 June State Opening of Parliament

Parties and candidatesEdit

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. Parties in the tables below are sorted by their results in the 2015 general election

Great BritainEdit

The leader of the party commanding a majority of support in the House of Commons is the person who is called on by the Monarch to form a government as Prime Minister, while the leader of the largest party not in government becomes the Leader of the Opposition. Other parties also form shadow ministerial teams. The leaders of the SNP and Plaid Cymru are not members of parliament, but instead members of their respective devolved legislatures, and so these parties have separate leaders in the House of Commons: Angus Robertson and Hywel Williams respectively.

Party/alliance Party leader(s) Leader since Leader's seat Last election
 % of
votes
Seats
Conservative Party May, TheresaTheresa May July 2016 Maidenhead 36.8% 330
Labour Party Corbyn, JeremyJeremy Corbyn September 2015 Islington North 30.4% 232
Scottish National Party Sturgeon, NicolaNicola Sturgeon November 2014 None[n 1] 4.7% 56
Liberal Democrats Farron, TimTim Farron July 2015 Westmorland and Lonsdale 7.9% 8
Plaid Cymru Wood, LeanneLeanne Wood March 2012 None[n 5] 0.6% 3
UK Independence Party Nuttall, PaulPaul Nuttall November 2016 None[n 6] 12.7% 1
Green Party of England and Wales Lucas, CarolineCaroline Lucas
Bartley, JonathanJonathan Bartley
September 2016 Brighton Pavilion
None
3.8% 1
Other parties contesting: see United Kingdom general election, 2017 § Candidates

The Conservative Party and the Labour Party have been the two biggest parties since 1922, and have supplied all Prime Ministers since 1935. Both parties have changed their leader since the 2015 election. David Cameron, who had been the leader of the Conservative Party since 2005 and Prime Minister since 2010, was replaced in July 2016 by Theresa May following the referendum on the United Kingdom's membership of the European Union. Jeremy Corbyn replaced Ed Miliband as Leader of the Labour Party and Leader of the Opposition in September 2015 and was re-elected leader in September 2016.

While the Liberal Democrats and their predecessors had long been the third-largest party in British politics, they returned only 8 MPs in 2015–49 fewer than at the previous election, far below the Scottish National Party (SNP) and with fewer votes than the UK Independence Party (UKIP). Tim Farron became the Liberal Democrat leader in July 2015, following the resignation of Nick Clegg. Led by First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon, the SNP stand only in Scotland and won 56 of 59 Scottish seats in 2015.

UKIP, then led by Nigel Farage, who was later replaced by Diane James and then by Paul Nuttall in 2016, won 12.7% of the vote in 2015 but gained only one MP, Douglas Carswell, who left the party in March 2017 to sit as an independent. After securing 3.8% of the vote and one MP in the previous general election, Green Party leader Natalie Bennett was succeeded by joint leaders Caroline Lucas and Jonathan Bartley in September 2016.

A number of parties that contested the previous election chose not to stand candidates, including Mebyon Kernow, the Communist Party of Britain, the Scottish Socialist Party, and the National Front.[34][35][36]

Northern IrelandEdit

Party/alliance Leader(s) Leader since Leader's seat Last election
 %
(in NI)
Seats
Democratic Unionist Party Foster, ArleneArlene Foster December 2015 None[n 7] 25.7% 8
Sinn Féin Adams, GerryGerry Adams November 1983 None[n 8] 24.5% 4
Social Democratic and Labour Party Eastwood, ColumColum Eastwood November 2015 None[n 9] 13.9% 3
Ulster Unionist Party Swann, RobinRobin Swann April 2017 None[n 10] 16.0% 2
Alliance Party of Northern Ireland Long, NaomiNaomi Long October 2016 None[n 11] 8.6% 0
Other parties contesting: see United Kingdom general election, 2017 § Candidates

In Northern Ireland, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), Sinn Féin, the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), and the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), who all won seats in 2015, and the Alliance Party (APNI), which contested all 18 Northern Irish seats and achieved 8.6% of the vote, will contest the 2017 election. Sinn Féin are expected to continue its abstentionist policy to not take seats won in the election.[37] Compared to the previous election, the DUP, SDLP, UUP and APNI are all led by new party leaders. The Conservatives, Greens, and four other minor parties are also standing. Despite contesting 10 seats last time, UKIP are not standing in Northern Ireland.[38]

CandidatesEdit

A total of 3,304 candidates were successfully nominated, down from 3,631 in the previous general election. The Conservatives are standing in 637 seats, Labour in 631 (including jointly with the Co-operative Party in 50[39]) and the Liberal Democrats in 629. UKIP are standing in 377 constituencies, down from 624 in 2015, while the Greens are standing in 468, down from 573. The SNP are contesting all 59 Scottish seats and Plaid Cymru are standing in all 40 Welsh seats.[40] In Great Britain 183 candidates are standing as independents; minor parties including the Christian Peoples Alliance are standing in 31 seats, the Yorkshire Party in 21, the Official Monster Raving Loony Party in 12, the British National Party in 10, the Pirate Party in 10, the English Democrats in 7, the Women's Equality Party in 7, the Social Democratic Party in 6, the National Health Action Party in 5, and the Workers Revolutionary Party in 5, while an additional 79 candidates are standing for 46 other registered political parties.[39]

In Wales, 213 candidates are standing. Labour, Conservatives, Plaid Cymru and Liberal Democrats will contest all 40 seats and there are 32 UKIP and 10 Green candidates.[41] In Scotland the SNP, the Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats are standing in all 59 seats while UKIP are contesting 10 seats and the Greens only 3.[42]

Of the 109 candidates in Northern Ireland, Sinn Féin, the SDLP and the Alliance are contesting all 18 seats; the DUP are standing in 17, the UUP in 14, and the Conservatives and Greens in 7 each. People Before Profit and the Workers' Party are contesting two seats while Traditional Unionist Voice and the new Citizens Independent Social Thought Alliance are standing in one each; four independents including incumbent Sylvia Hermon are also standing.[38]

Party selection processesEdit

Unlike in previous elections, the timetable of the snap election required parties to select candidates in just under three weeks, to meet the 11 May deadline.

For the Conservatives, local associations in target seats were offered a choice of three candidates by the party's headquarters from an existing list of candidates, without inviting applications; candidates in non-target seats were to be appointed directly[clarification needed]; and MPs were to be confirmed by a meeting of their local parties.[43] Labour required sitting MPs to express their intention to stand, automatically re-selecting those that did. Labour advertised for applications from party members for all remaining seats by 23 April.[43][44] Having devolved selections to its Scottish and Welsh parties, Labour's National Executive Committee endorsed all parliamentary candidates on 3 May except for Rochdale, the seat of suspended MP Simon Danczuk.[45] On 7 May Steve Rotheram announced he was standing down as MP for Liverpool Walton following his election as Liverpool City Region mayor, leaving five days to appoint a candidate by close of nominations.[46]

The SNP confirmed on 22 April that its 54 sitting MPs would be re-selected and that its suspended members Natalie McGarry and Michelle Thomson would not be nominated as SNP candidates; the party subsequently selected candidates for McGarry and Thomson's former seats as well as for the three Scottish constituencies they did not win in 2015.[47] The Liberal Democrats had already selected 326 candidates in 2016 and over 70 in 2017 before the election was called.[43] Meetings of local party members from UKIP, the Greens and Plaid Cymru selected their candidates.[43]

Parties in Northern Ireland were not believed to have already selected candidates due to the Assembly elections in March.[43] Prior to discussions with the DUP on 24 April, the UUP re-selected its two sitting MPs and indicated it will not contest the three constituencies of Belfast North, Belfast West and Foyle.[48] Sinn Féin selected assembly member Barry McElduff to replace MP Pat Doherty as its candidate in West Tyrone.[49]

High-profile candidatesEdit

Ken Clarke, the Father of the House of Commons, had said he would retire in 2020, but opted to stand again in the 2017 election.[50][51] Former Conservative employment minister Esther McVey was selected to contest Tatton, and Zac Goldsmith was adopted as the Conservative candidate for Richmond Park, having lost the 2016 by-election as an independent after previously serving as the constituency's Conservative MP since 2010.[52][53]

After coming second in the Stoke-on-Trent Central by-election earlier in the year, UKIP leader Paul Nuttall announced he would contest Boston and Skegness.[54] Former Labour MP for Manchester Central Tony Lloyd, who served as Greater Manchester Police and Crime Commissioner from 2012 and interim Mayor of Greater Manchester since 2015, was selected to contest Rochdale.[55] The former Labour MP, Simon Danczuk, is standing as an independent candidate after being banned from standing as a Labour candidate and leaving the party.[56]

A number of former Liberal Democrat ministers who were defeated in 2015 announced they would stand for election in their former seats, including Sir Vince Cable in Twickenham, Sir Ed Davey in Kingston and Surbiton, Sir Simon Hughes in Bermondsey and Old Southwark and Jo Swinson in East Dunbartonshire.[57] After the former MP for Bradford East, David Ward, was dropped as a candidate by the Liberal Democrats for anti-semitism he stood as an independent.[58][59]

Electoral alliances and arrangementsEdit

Ahead of the general election, crowdfunding groups such as More United and Open Britain were formed to promote candidates of similar views standing for election, and a "progressive alliance" was proposed.[60][61][62][63] Former UKIP donor Arron Banks suggested a "patriotic alliance" movement.[64] Tactical voting to keep the Conservatives out of government was suggested on social media.[65][66] Gina Miller, who took the government to court over Article 50, set out plans to tour marginal constituencies in support of pro-EU candidates.[67]

Within a few days of the election being announced, the Green Party and the SNP each proposed to collaborate with Labour and the Liberal Democrats to prevent a Conservative majority government.[68][69] Lib Dem leader Tim Farron quickly reaffirmed his party's opposition to an electoral pact or coalition with Labour, citing "electorally toxic" Corbyn and concerns over Labour's position on Brexit.[70][71] On 22 April the Liberal Democrats also ruled out a coalition deal with the Conservatives and SNP.[72] Labour ruled out an electoral pact with the SNP, Liberal Democrats and Greens.[citation needed]

Notwithstanding national arrangements, the Liberal Democrats, the Greens and UKIP indicated they may not stand in every constituency.[73] The Green Party chose not to contest 22 seats in England and Wales explicitly "to increase the chance of a progressive candidate beating the Conservatives",[74] including in South West Surrey, the seat of Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, in favour of the National Health Action Party candidate.[75] The Scottish Greens contested just three constituencies.[42] The Liberal Democrats agreed to stand down in Brighton Pavilion.[76] After indicating they may not nominate candidates in seats held by strongly pro-Brexit Conservative MPs,[77] UKIP nominated 377 candidates; it was suggested this would help the Conservatives in marginal seats.[78]

In Northern Ireland, there were talks between the DUP and UUP.[73] Rather than a formal pact, the DUP agreed not to contest Fermanagh and South Tyrone while the UUP chose not to stand in four constituencies.[79] After talks between Sinn Féin, the SDLP and the Greens about an anti-Brexit agreement (the Alliance Party were approached but declined to be involved)[80] no agreement was reached; the Greens said there was "too much distance" between the parties, Sinn Féin's abstentionist policy was criticised, and the SDLP admitted an agreement was unlikely.[81] On 8 May the SDLP rejected Sinn Féin's call for them to stand aside in some seats.[79]

CampaignEdit

BackgroundEdit

Prior to the calling of the general election, the Liberal Democrats gained Richmond Park from the Conservatives in a by-election, a seat characterised by its high remain vote in the 2016 EU referendum.[82] The Conservatives held the safe seat of Sleaford and North Hykeham in December 2016.[83] In by-elections on 23 February 2017, Labour held Stoke-on-Trent Central but lost Copeland to the Conservatives, the first time a governing party had gained a seat in a by-election since 1982.[84]

The general election comes soon after the Northern Ireland Assembly election on 2 March. Talks on power-sharing between the DUP and Sinn Féin had failed to reach a conclusion, with Northern Ireland thus facing either another Assembly election or the imposition of direct rule. The deadline was subsequently extended to 29 June.[85]

Local elections in England, Scotland and Wales took place on 4 May. These saw large gains by the Conservatives, and large losses by Labour and UKIP. Notably the Conservatives won metro mayor elections in Tees Valley and the West Midlands, areas traditionally seen as Labour heartlands.[86] Initially scheduled for 4 May, a by-election in Manchester Gorton was cancelled; the seat will be contested on 8 June together with all the other seats.[87][88]

On 6 May, a letter from Church of England Archbishops Justin Welby and John Sentamu stressed the importance of "education for all, of urgent and serious solutions to our housing challenges, the importance of creating communities as well as buildings, and a confident and flourishing health service that gives support to all – especially the vulnerable – not least at the beginning and end of life."[89]

All parties suspended campaigning for a time in the wake of the 2017 Manchester Arena bombing on 22 May.[90] The SNP had been scheduled to release their manifesto for the election but this was delayed.[91] Campaigning resumed on 25 May.[92]

IssuesEdit

Brexit

The UK's withdrawal from the European Union is expected to be a key issue in the campaign.[93] May said she called the snap election to secure a majority for her Brexit negotiations.[94] UKIP support a "clean, quick and efficient Brexit" and, launching his party's election campaign, Nuttall stated that Brexit is a "job half done" and UKIP MPs are needed to "see this through to the end".[95]

Labour had supported Brexit in the previous parliament, but proposed different priorities for negotiations.[96] The Liberal Democrats and Greens have called for a deal to keep the UK in the single market and a second referendum on any deal proposed between the EU and the UK.[97][98][99]

The Conservative manifesto committed to leaving the single market and customs union but seek a "deep and special partnership" through a comprehensive free trade and customs agreement. It proposed seeking to remain part of some EU programmes where it would "be reasonable that we make a contribution" and stay as a signatory of the European Convention on Human Rights over the next parliament and maintain the Human Rights Act during Brexit negotiations. Parliament would be able to amend or repeal EU legislation once converted into UK law, and have a vote on the final agreement.[100]

Scottish independence and the future of the UK

The question of a proposed Scottish independence referendum is also likely to influence the campaign in Scotland. On 28 March 2017, the Scottish Parliament approved a motion for a second independence referendum,[101] suggesting that there had been a "material change" in the terms of the failed independence referendum in 2014 as a result of the UK's vote to leave the EU.[102] The SNP hopes to hold a second independence referendum before the UK leaves the EU; May has said her government would not approve an independence referendum before Brexit negotiations have finished.[103]

Unanimous agreement among EU leaders on their negotiating stance included: the need to resolve arrangements for the Northern Ireland border and the rights of EU and UK citizens living in other countries, before trade negotiations could take place.[104]

Possible coalitions

Although Labour and the Liberal Democrats have both rejected election pacts with each other and with the Greens and the SNP, and although the Liberal Democrats have also ruled out a coalition deal with the Conservatives, the Conservatives are expected to campaign on this theme.[72][105] Similar messages against a potential Lib-Lab pact are credited with having secured a Conservative win in the 1992 and 2015 elections.[106] On 19 April, May warned against a Labour-SNP-Lib Dem pact that would "divide our country".[107]

Party campaignsEdit

ConservativesEdit

May launched the Conservative campaign with a focus on Brexit, lower domestic taxes and avoiding a Labour-Lib Dem-SNP "coalition of chaos", but she refused to commit not to raise taxes.[108][107][109] On 30 April, May stated that it was her intention to lower taxes if the Conservatives won the general election, but only explicitly ruled out raising VAT.[110] May reiterated her commitment to spending 0.7% of GNI on foreign aid.[111]

Theresa May hired Lynton Crosby, the campaign manager for the Conservatives in the 2015 general election, as well as Barack Obama's 2012 campaign manager, Jim Messina.[112][113] The Conservative campaign was noted for the use of targeted adverts on social media, in particular attacking Corbyn.[114] The repeated use of the phrase "strong and stable" in the Conservatives' campaigning attracted attention and criticism.[115] Some expressed concern that the party may have restricted media access to the prime minister.[116][117][118] While some speculated that an investigation into campaign spending by the Conservatives in the 2015 general election was a factor behind the snap election,[119][120] on 10 May the Crown Prosecution Service said that despite evidence of inaccurate spending returns, no further action was required.[121]

On 7 May the Conservatives promised to replace the 1983 Mental Health Act, to employ an additional 10,000 NHS mental health workers by 2020, and to tackle discrimination against those with mental health problems.[122] May indicated that the Conservatives would maintain their net immigration target, and promised to implement a cap on "rip-off energy prices",[123][124] a policy that appeared in Labour's 2015 manifesto.[125] On 11 May the Conservatives promised above-inflation increases in defence spending alongside its NATO commitment to spend at least 2% of GDP on defence.[126]

In a speech in Tynemouth the next day, May said Labour had "deserted" working-class voters, criticised Labour's policy proposals and said Britain's future depended on making a success of Brexit.[127] On 14 May the Conservatives proposed a "new generation" of social housing, paid from the existing capital budget, offering funding to local authorities and changing compulsory purchase rules.[128] The following day May promised "a new deal for workers" that would maintain workers' rights currently protected by the EU after Brexit, put worker representation on company boards, introduce a statutory right to unpaid leave to care for a relative, and increase the National Living Wage in line with average earnings until 2022.[129] The proposals were characterised as an "unabashed pitch for Labour voters"; however Labour and the GMB trade union criticised the government's past record on workers' rights.[129]

Unveiling the Conservative manifesto in Halifax, May promised a "mainstream government that would deliver for mainstream Britain".[130] It proposed to balance the budget by 2025, raise spending on the NHS by £8bn per year and on schools by £4bn per year by 2022, remove the ban on grammar schools, means-test the winter fuel allowance, replace the state pension "triple lock" with a "double lock", and require executive pay to be approved by a vote of shareholders.[130] It dropped the 2015 pledge to not raise income tax or national insurance contributions but maintained a commitment to freeze VAT.[130] New sovereign wealth funds for infrastructure, rules to prevent foreign takeovers of "critical national infrastructure", and institutes of technology were also proposed.[131] The manifesto was noted for its intervention in industry, lack of tax cuts and increased spending commitments on public services.[132] On Brexit it committed to leaving the single market and customs union while seeking a "deep and special partnership" and promised a vote in parliament on the final agreement.[100] The manifesto was noted for containing similar policies to those found in Labour's 2015 general election manifesto.[133]

The manifesto also proposed reforms to social care in England that would raise the threshold for free care from £23,250 to £100,000 while include property in the means test and permitting deferred payment after death.[130] After attracting substantial media attention, four days after the manifesto launch May stated that the proposed social care reforms would now include an "absolute limit" on costs in contrast to the rejection of a cap in the manifesto.[134] She criticised the "fake" portrayal of the policy in recent days by Labour and other critics who had termed it a "dementia tax".[134] Evening Standard editor George Osborne called the policy change a "U-turn".[135]

LabourEdit

 
Jeremy Corbyn speaking in Manchester at the Labour general election launch event

Corbyn launched the Labour campaign focusing on public spending, and argued that services were being underfunded, particularly education.[108] Labour's shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer stated that the party would replace the existing Brexit white paper with new negotiating priorities that emphasise the benefits of the single market and customs union, that the residence rights of EU nationals would be guaranteed, and that the principle of free movement would have to end.[96][136] Labour proposed the creation of four new bank holidays, marking the feast days of the patron saints of the United Kingdom's constituent nations.[137] On 27 April the party pledged to build 1 million new homes over five years.[138]

Labour's proposal to employ 10,000 new police officers was overshadowed when Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott cited incorrect figures in an LBC interview on how it would be funded.[139][140] Labour later confirmed that the £300 million cost would be funded by reversing cuts to Capital Gains Tax, although it was noted that the party had also pledged some of those savings towards other expenditure plans.[141]

On 7 May, Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell ruled out rises in VAT, and in income tax and employee national insurance contributions for those with earnings below £80,000 per year.[142] The following day Labour outlined plans to ban junk food TV adverts and parking charges at NHS hospitals.[143][144] Launching the party's campaign on 9 May, Corbyn emphasised Labour's support for a "jobs-first Brexit" that "safeguards the future of Britain's vital industries".[145] Labour promised an additional £4.8 billion for education, funded by raising corporation tax from 19% to 26%.[146]

A draft copy of Labour's manifesto was leaked to the Daily Mirror and the Daily Telegraph on 10 May.[147] It included pledges to renationalise the National Grid, the railways and the Royal Mail, and create publicly-owned energy companies. The draft was noted for including commitments on workers' rights, a ban on fracking, and the abolition of tuition fees in England.[147] The draft manifesto included a commitment to the Trident nuclear deterrent, but suggested a future government would be "extremely cautious" about using it.[148] The next day Labour's Clause V meeting endorsed the manifesto after amendments from shadow cabinet members and trade unions present.[149]

In a speech at Chatham House on 12 May, Corbyn set out his foreign policy, saying he would reshape Britain's foreign relations, avoid the use of nuclear weapons, and while Labour supported Trident renewal he would initiate a defence review in government.[150] On 14 May Labour revealed plans to extend stamp duty by introducing a financial transactions tax, which McDonnell claimed would raise up to £5.6bn per year.[151] The next day Corbyn set out plans to spend £37bn on the NHS in England over a five-year parliament, including £10bn on IT upgrades and building repairs.[152]

Launching its manifesto on 16 May, Labour revealed it would nationalise the water industry, provide 30 hours per week of free childcare for two to four-year-olds, charge companies a levy on annual earnings above £330,000, lower the 45p income tax rate threshold to £80,000 per year, and reintroduce the 50p tax rate for those earning more than £123,000 per year.[153][154] Labour said it would raise an additional £48.6bn in tax revenue per year and insisted its policies were fully costed, though it was noted no costings were provided for its nationalisation pledges.[155][156] Compared to the leaked draft, the manifesto was noted for toughening Labour's position on defence and Trident, confirming that outside the EU free movement would have to end, qualifying support for airport expansion, and clarifying the party's stance on Israel-Palestine, as well as other changes.[157] After initial confusion, Labour clarified it would not reverse the government's freeze on most working-age benefits.[158][159]

In an interview following the manifesto launch, Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said victory for Labour in the general election would be "extraordinary" and that winning just 200 seats (compared to 229 seats held at the time) would be a "successful" result; the following morning he clarified he was now "optimistic" about Labour's chances.[160][161]

Liberal DemocratsEdit

Central themes of the Liberal Democrat campaign are offering a second referendum on any eventual Brexit deal and for the UK to stay in the single market.[162] The party was reported to have drawn up a target list of Conservative seats which had voted to remain in the EU, which is said to include Twickenham and Oxford West and Abingdon,[163] and are believed to be targeting Vauxhall, previously represented by leave-supporting Labour MP Kate Hoey.[164] Bob Marshall-Andrews, a former Labour MP from 1997 to 2010, announced he would support the Liberal Democrats.[165]

The party reported a surge in membership after the election was called, passing 100,000 on 24 April 2017, having grown by 12,500 in the preceding week.[166] The party had also reported raising £500,000 in donations in the first 48 hours after May's announcement of an early election.[167]

An early issue raised in the campaign was Tim Farron's views, as a Christian, regarding gay sex and LGBT rights. After declining to state whether he thought gay sex was a sin, Farron affirmed that he believed neither being gay nor having gay sex are sinful.[168]

The party proposed raising income tax by 1p to fund the NHS and maintaining the triple-lock on the state pension.[169][170] The Liberal Democrats also promised an additional £7 billion to protect per-pupil funding in education; they said it would be partly funded by remaining in the EU single market.[146]

On 11 May the Liberal Democrats pledged to accept 50,000 refugees from Syria over five years, with Farron saying that the £4.3 billion costs would over time be repaid in taxes by those refugees that settle in Britain.[171] On 12 May the party revealed plans to legalise cannabis and extend paid paternity leave.[172] Farron proposed financial incentives for graduates joining the armed forces and committed to Nato's 2% of GDP defence spending target.[173] The next day the Liberal Democrats promised to end the cap on public-sector pay increases and repeal the Investigatory Powers Act.[174][175] On 16 May the Liberal Democrats proposed an entrepreneurs' allowance, to review business rates, and to increase access to credit.[176] Policies emphasised during their manifesto launch on 17 May included a second referendum on a Brexit deal with the option to remain a member of the EU, discounted bus passes for 16 to 21-year-olds, the reinstatement of Housing Benefit for 18 to 21-year-olds, a £3bn plan to build 300,000 new houses a year by 2022, and support for renters to build up equity in their rented properties.[177]

UKIPEdit

Paul Nuttall announced that UKIP's manifesto will seek to ban the burqa, outlaw sharia law, impose a temporary moratorium on new Islamic schools and require annual checks against female genital mutilation (FGM) for high-risk girls.[178][179] UKIP's Deputy Leader Peter Whittle confirmed that beekeepers would be exempt from the ban on face coverings; and Margot Parker argued that nun's habits were not included in the ban as they "don't cover their face".[180][181] In response to the proposed burqa ban UKIP's foreign affairs spokesperson James Carver resigned, labelling the policy "misguided".[182]

Despite losing all 145 of the seats it was defending in the 2017 local elections (but gaining one from Labour in Burnley), Nuttall insisted voters would return to UKIP in the general election.[183] On 8 May UKIP proposed a net migration target of zero within five years.[184]

On fishing, UKIP wants to see a 200-mile exclusive economic zone where all fish caught by foreign vessels in British waters must be landed, processed and sold in Britain.[185]

Media CoverageEdit

In May 2017, according to study and analysis from an edition of Loughborough University's Centre for Research in Communication and Culture weekly reports into national news reporting of the election, a "considerable majority" of the reports on Labour are critical of Labour, its leader and its manifesto, whereas newspapers are being far more balanced in their coverage of the Conservatives with positive and negative reporting balancing each other out. The attacks coming from the most popular national newspapers, with The Sun and the Daily Express particularly focusing their negative coverage on Labour. The Daily Mail and The Times have also been hostile to Labour but have balanced that out with positive reporting on the Conservatives.[186] The Daily Mail and Daily Express praised Theresa May for election pledges that were condemned when proposed by Labour in previous elections.[187]

Television debatesEdit

← 2015 debates 2017 Next debates →

Within hours of the election being announced, Corbyn, Farron and Sturgeon called for televised debates.[188] The Prime Minister's office opposed the idea of any televised debates during the campaign.[189] Despite the opposition of the Prime Minister, on 19 April the BBC and ITV announced they planned to host leaders' debates, as they had done in the 2010 and 2015 elections, whether or not May takes part.[190] Labour subsequently ruled out Corbyn taking part in television debates without May.[191]

Veteran broadcaster Andrew Neil also separately interviewed the party leaders in The Andrew Neil Interviews on BBC One, starting on 22 May with Theresa May. There were also due to be interviews with Paul Nuttall, Tim Farron, Nicola Sturgeon and Jeremy Corbyn during the same week;[192] however the 2017 Manchester Arena bombing led to the suspension of General Election campaigning on 23 and 24 May 2017 and consequently delayed the remaining interviews.

Sky News and Channel 4 announced an election programme to take place on 29 May where Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn will be individually interviewed by Jeremy Paxman before taking questions from a studio audience.[193] Rather than a debate, the BBC plans to host a Question Time special with May and Corbyn separately answering questions from voters on 2 June; Sturgeon and Farron are expected to do the same on 4 June, and both events will be chaired by David Dimbleby.[194]

United Kingdom general election debates, 2017[194][195]
Date Party leaders invited Organisers Venue     P  Present    I  Invitee    NI  Non-invitee   A  Absent invitee 
Conservatives Labour SNP Liberal Democrats Plaid Cymru Green UKIP
16 May Welsh ITV Wales Cardiff P P NI P P NI P
18 May UK ITV MediaCityUK, Salford A A P P P P P
21 May Scottish BBC Edinburgh P P P P NI P P
24 May Scottish STV Glasgow
Postponed[196]
24 May Northern Ireland UTV Belfast
Postponed[197]
29 May UK Sky News, Channel 4 Isleworth, London I I NI NI NI NI NI
30 May Welsh BBC Wales Cardiff I I NI I I NI I
30 May Regions BBC English Regions Various I I I I I I I
31 May UK BBC Cambridge I I I I I I I
2 June UK BBC York I I NI NI NI NI NI
4 June UK BBC Edinburgh NI NI I I NI NI NI
6 June UK BBC Manchester I I I I I I I

Further debates will also take place in Wales and Scotland:

  • On 16 May, ITV Wales held a debate between the five main Welsh party leaders.[198]
  • On 21 May, BBC Scotland hosted a live TV debate in Edinburgh with six Scottish party leaders from the SNP, Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats, Greens, and UKIP.[199]
  • On 30th May BBC Wales will host a debate with the five main wales leaders hosted by Huw Edwards from Cardiff.[200]
  • ON 30th May Each of the 12 BBC English Regions will hold their own local debates as well.[201]

The BBC Wales Report are hosting a series of debates on specific issues with representatives of major parties in Wales.[202] [203] BBC Daily Politics are also running a series of debates on specific issues with representatives from major UK-wide parties.

EndorsementsEdit

Various newspapers, organisations and individuals have endorsed parties or individual candidates for the election.

Politicians not standingEdit

Members of Parliament not standing for re-electionEdit

Members of Parliament not standing for re-election
MP Seat First elected Party Date announced
Allen, GrahamGraham Allen Nottingham North 1987 Labour 22 April 2017[204]
Anderson, DaveDave Anderson Blaydon 2005 Labour 20 April 2017[205]
Blenkinsop, TomTom Blenkinsop Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland 2010 Labour 18 April 2017[206]
Burnham, AndyAndy Burnham Leigh 2001 Labour 19 April 2017[207]
Burns, Sir SimonSir Simon Burns Chelmsford 1987 Conservative 8 January 2016[208]
Carswell, DouglasDouglas Carswell Clacton 2005 Independent (UKIP in 2015) 20 April 2017[209]
Doherty, PatPat Doherty West Tyrone 2001 Sinn Féin 3 May 2017[210]
Dowd, JimJim Dowd Lewisham West and Penge 1992 Labour 19 April 2017[211]
Dugher, MichaelMichael Dugher Barnsley East 2010 Labour 20 April 2017[212]
Garnier, Sir EdwardSir Edward Garnier Harborough 1992 Conservative 27 April 2017[213]
Glass, PatPat Glass North West Durham 2010 Labour 28 June 2016[214]
Haselhurst, Sir AlanSir Alan Haselhurst Saffron Walden 1970 Conservative 25 April 2017[215]
Howarth, Sir GeraldSir Gerald Howarth Aldershot 1983 Conservative 20 April 2017[216]
Johnson, AlanAlan Johnson Hull West and Hessle 1997 Labour 18 April 2017[217]
Lilley, PeterPeter Lilley Hitchin and Harpenden 1983 Conservative 26 April 2017[218]
Lumley, KarenKaren Lumley Redditch 2010 Conservative 28 April 2017[219]
Mackintosh, DavidDavid Mackintosh Northampton South 2015 Conservative 27 April 2017[220]
Mactaggart, FionaFiona Mactaggart Slough 1997 Labour 20 April 2017[221]
Marris, RobRob Marris Wolverhampton South West 2001 Labour 19 April 2017[222]
McGarry, NatalieNatalie McGarry Glasgow East 2015 Independent (SNP in 2015) 25 April 2017[223]
Osborne, GeorgeGeorge Osborne Tatton 2001 Conservative 19 April 2017[224]
Pickles, Sir EricSir Eric Pickles Brentwood and Ongar 1992 Conservative 22 April 2017[225]
Pugh, JohnJohn Pugh Southport 2001 Liberal Democrats 19 April 2017[226]
Rotheram, SteveSteve Rotheram Liverpool Walton 2010 Labour 7 May 2017[46]
Smith, AndrewAndrew Smith Oxford East 1987 Labour 19 April 2017[227]
Stuart, GiselaGisela Stuart Birmingham Edgbaston 1997 Labour 19 April 2017[228]
Thomson, MichelleMichelle Thomson Edinburgh West 2015 Independent (SNP in 2015) 22 April 2017[229]
Turner, AndrewAndrew Turner Isle of Wight 2001 Conservative 28 April 2017[230]
Tyrie, AndrewAndrew Tyrie Chichester 1997 Conservative 25 April 2017[231]
Watkinson, Dame AngelaDame Angela Watkinson Hornchurch and Upminster 2001 Conservative 19 April 2017[232]
Wright, IainIain Wright Hartlepool 2004 Labour 19 April 2017[233]

Other politiciansEdit

Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage announced that he would not stand, saying he could be more effective as an MEP.[234] UKIP major donor Arron Banks, who had earlier indicated his intention to stand in Clacton to defeat Douglas Carswell, withdrew in favour of the UKIP candidate after Carswell announced he would be standing down.[235]

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood chose not to contest a Westminster seat, as did former Labour MP and shadow chancellor Ed Balls.[236][237]

Opinion pollingEdit

In the 2015 general election, polling companies underestimated the Conservative Party vote and overestimated the Labour Party vote[238] and so failed to predict the result accurately.[239] Afterwards they started making changes to polling practices; recommendations from a review by the British Polling Council are likely to result in further changes.[240]

 
UK opinion polling for the 2017 election, including polls which were released on or before 25 May 2017 (moving average is calculated from the last ten polls)
  Conservative
  Labour
  UKIP
  Liberal Democrats
  SNP
  Greens

Predictions three weeks before the voteEdit

The first-past-the-post system used in UK general elections means that the number of seats won is not closely related to vote share. Thus, several approaches arre used to convert polling data and other information into seat predictions. The table below lists some of the predictions.


Parties Election
Forecast[241]
as of 15 May 2017
Electoral
Calculus[242]
as of 26 May 2017
Lord
Ashcroft[243]
as of 12 May 2017
Elections
Etc[244]
as of 12 May 2017
Conservatives 414 387 406-415 391
Labour Party 155 189 152-164 170
SNP 53 49 45-48 49
Liberal Democrats 6 5 8-14 13
Plaid Cymru 2 1 4-5 3
Green Party 1 1 1 1
UKIP 0 0 0 0
Others 1[245] 18[246] 19 N/A
Overall result (probability) Conservative
majority
(100%)
Conservative
majority
(75%)
Conservative
majority
Conservative
majority
(91%)

Predictions two weeks before the voteEdit

Parties Election
Forecast[247]
as of 26 May 2017
Electoral
Calculus[248]
as of 25 May 2017
Lord
Ashcroft[249]
as of 26 May 2017
Elections
Etc.[250]
as of 19 May 2017
New
Statesman[251]
as of 26 May 2017
Conservatives 364 387 396 386 371
Labour Party 212 189 180 177 199
SNP 45 49 47 46 55
Liberal Democrats 8 5 6 13 5
Plaid Cymru 2 1 2 3
Green Party 0 1 0 1
UKIP 0 0 0 0
Others 1[n 12] 18[n 13] 19
Overall result (probability) Conservative
majority
(94%)
Conservative
majority
(74%)
Conservative
majority
Conservative
majority
(91%)
Conservative
majority

Lord Ashcroft Polls has announced an estimate for the election result. He updates it at intervals on his website.[252][253]

Electoral Calculus maintains a running projection of seats according to latest polls on its website based on universal changes from the previous general election results according to opinion poll averages. It also maintains a seat-by-seat projection for Scotland.

Election Forecast also maintains a projection of seats based on current opinion poll averages on their website.

Elections Etc. issues regular forecasts based on current opinion poll averages, Betting Markets, expert predictions and other sources on their website.

NotesEdit

  1. ^ a b Nicola Sturgeon sits as an MSP in the Scottish Parliament.
  2. ^ As the SNP contests elections only in Scottish constituencies, they are unable to win a majority of UK seats.
  3. ^ 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
  4. ^ a b 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).[9]
  5. ^ Leanne Wood sits as an AM in the Welsh Assembly.
  6. ^ Paul Nuttall sits as an MEP in the European Parliament. However, he is contesting the seat of Boston and Skegness.
  7. ^ Arlene Foster sits as an MLA in the Northern Ireland Assembly.
  8. ^ Gerry Adams sits as a TD in the Irish Dáil Éireann.
  9. ^ Colum Eastwood sits as an MLA in the Northern Ireland Assembly.
  10. ^ Robin Swann sits as an MLA in the Northern Ireland Assembly.
  11. ^ Naomi Long sits as an MLA in the Northern Ireland Assembly.
  12. ^ GB forecast only
  13. ^ Electoral Calculus counts Speaker John Bercow in the Conservative total

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External linksEdit