What is a UK General Election?

You might have heard stuff in the news or people talking about a General Election and wondered what it is and how it might affect the UK. On this page we’ve looked at answering some of the key questions you might have!

A general election is an opportunity for people in the UK to choose Members of Parliament (MPs). The person who is elected from each local area (constituency) will represent that area and the people who live there, in the House of Commons for up to five years.

The UK is split into 650 areas, called constituencies, and each of these elects one MP to represent local residents. There is a choice of different candidates in each constituency and the candidate that receives most votes becomes their MP.

There will be a new General Election in the UK on the 4th of July. You can register to vote here.

Who Can Vote?

Anyone on the electoral register aged 18 or over on polling day can vote in the general election as long as they are a British citizen, a qualifying Commonwealth citizen or a Republic of Ireland citizen with a UK address.

If you are a UK citizen and live abroad you can register to vote in the constituency where you were previously on the electoral roll as long as they are not legally excluded from voting.

How Often Is a General Election Held?

The maximum term of a Parliament is five years from the day on which it first met. The current Parliament first met on Tuesday 17 December 2019 and would have automatically dissolved on Tuesday 17 December 2024, had an election not been held sooner.

However, 25 working days are then allowed to prepare for the election.

Am I Voting for a New Prime Minister?

You can only vote to elect your local MP in a general election. You cannot vote for a new Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister is appointed by the monarch. The political party that wins the most seats in the House of Commons at a general election usually forms the new government. Its leader then becomes Prime Minister.

Will I Need ID To Vote?

Yes. Since May 2023, voters have to show a valid form of photo ID at polling stations to vote in person at a general election.

There are lots of acceptable forms of ID including:

How Do I Vote?

Now that you have a better understanding of what a UK General Election is you might be wondering how you vote. All the information relating to registering to vote can be found here. You can also find out all the details you need to know for voting on polling day here.

If you’re on holiday or can’t make it to a polling station and you’ve already registered, you can apply for a postal vote.

You can also nominate someone to vote on your behalf, this is known as a proxy vote and you can find the full details on how to apply for a proxy vote here.

More Information

If you’re looking to learn more about voting you can find all the information you need here.

Other content you might be interested in

All ages

Why Should I Vote?

Some people might wonder why they should even vote, here’s a few important reasons to consider.

Why Should I Vote?
HIDE PAGELeave this site quickly
Back to top of the page