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The General Election 2015 An informative Power. Point about the 2015 UK General Election
When is the General Election? On Thursday May 7 th 2015, there will be a General Election the UK. This is in when people get to vote to choose the Government of the United Kingdom. Elections give people a chance to make decisions about how their country is run. General Elections in the UK are usually held every five years.
What is the General Election? General Elections in the UK are made up of 650 individual elections that take place on a single day across England, Wales, Scotland Northern Ireland. The UK is separated into 650 areas, known as constituencies. Every eligible resident gets to go out and vote for one of the would be representatives, called candidates, in their constituency. The candidate with the most votes in each area wins a place, or seat, in the House of Commons.
How do the votes create a new Government? If one party is able to win more than half the seats in the House of Commons (326) then its leader gets to become Prime Minister and form a government. All other parties become the opposition. The party that wins the second largest number of seats becomes the main opposition party. Its leader becomes the Leader of the Opposition. In the 1997 election, Labour won 418 seats which was referred to as a landslide victory as it was such a change in voting compared to the previous election. Tony Blair became Prime Minister for Labour. Photos courtesy of ‘Center for American Progress' (@flickr. com) granted under creative commons licence attribution
How do the votes create a new Government? If no party is able to win more than half the seats in the House of Commons then the result is a hung parliament. This happened in the 2010 election. As no party had a majority, a coalition government was formed by the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats. Between them they had enough votes for a majority.
Why do the candidates want to become Members of Parliament? MP represent the interests of the people living in their constituencies (their local s area). They consider and propose new laws, and can find out more about government policies by asking ministers questions about current issues. Photos courtesy of ‘U. S. Embassy London’ (@flickr. com) granted under creative commons licence attribution
What happens before a General Election? On 30 th March 2015 Parliament was dissolved. When Parliament is dissolved, every seat in the House of Commons becomes vacant. Until a new Parliament is elected, there are no MPs. Those who wish to be MPs again must stand again as candidates for election.
How do people choose who to vote for? Once Parliament has been dissolved, the political parties begin their election campaigns. To get votes, candidates campaign in their constituency. They announce a set of policies their manifesto – which they promise will guide them when making decisions if they are elected. Usually, candidates join together with other people who share the same ideas as part of a political party. A vote for a political party is also a vote for that party's guiding beliefs and principles.
Who can we vote for? Britain's three biggest political parties at the last General Election were: The Conservative Party The Liberal Democrats The Labour Party Normally, the largest political parties will support a candidate in most constituencies across the country. There are several smaller political parties too, who may put forward candidates for election. Candidates who don't belong to a political party are called 'independents'.
Who can we vote for? The 2015 General Election tv debate featured the leaders of seven parties: Ed Miliband, Labour Nigel Farage, UKIP David Cameron, Conservative Leanne Wood, Plaid Cymru Nick Clegg, Liberal Democrats Natalie Bennett, The Green Party Nicola Sturgeon, SNP Although the leaders from the largest regional parties in Scotland Wales were included, this did not stretch to Northern Ireland. Peter Robinson, the leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), was not invited to take part. Photos courtesy of ‘Riots. Panel’, ‘Foreign and Commonwealth Office’, ‘Liberal Democrats’, ‘Gage Skidmore’, ‘National Assembly For Wales/ Cynulliad Cymru’, ‘Edinburgh. Greens’, ’Ninian Reid’ (@flickr. com) granted under creative commons licence attribution
Who can we vote for? Other smaller parties include: Great Britain Respect British National Party (BNP) English Democrats Northern Ireland Sinn Féin Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) Ulster Unionist Party Alliance Party of Northern Ireland Traditional Unionist Voice Green Party in Northern Ireland NI 21
Who can vote? To vote in the General Election you must be 18 years of age (or older) on the day of the vote. You must be British, a member of a Commonwealth country, or an Irish citizen living in the UK to be eligible to vote.
Who can’t vote? If you are under 18 you are not entitled to vote. EU citizens living in the UK, members of the House of Lords, and UK citizens in prison are not allowed to vote in elections. The Queen is allowed to vote but usually does not.
How do people vote in the General Election? To vote in any election you must register to vote with your local council. Your name then appears on the electoral register. You will receive a polling card which shows that you are eligible to vote on the day of the election, and where to go to vote. To • • • vote, you can: visit a polling station send your vote by post vote by proxy (arranging for someone else to make your vote for you)
What are polling stations? Polling stations are places you can go to vote. They are usually public buildings like school halls, libraries, or town halls. They are open from 7 am until 10 pm to give everyone a chance to vote, even if they have to work during the day. When voters arrive at the polling station they show their polling card and are given a ballot paper.
What is a ballot paper? To vote in the election, you must complete a ballot paper. The ballot paper lists the candidates you may vote for, with a box next to each name. To vote for a candidate, you must put a cross in the box next to one name only and put your ballot paper into a sealed box. You cannot vote for more than one person. All votes are secret.
Is voting in an election compulsory? Voting in any election is not compulsory. Some people choose not to vote. Others believe that everyone should vote. In the past, people fought passionately for everyone to have the right to vote. What do you think?
How do we find out the election results? Counting of the votes begins when the polls close at 10 pm on May 7 th. Counting continues through the night. The results of each vote will be broadcast as they are announced. By the morning, the UK will know who has been elected to form the next Government. Photos courtesy of ‘secretlondon 123' (@flickr. com) granted under creative commons licence attribution
How much have you remembered? Are you ready for the General Election? Try this quiz!
Where would you go to vote in the 2015 UK General Election? A) A petrol station B) A railway station C) A library D) A polling station
What is a manifesto? A) A set of policies which a candidate promises to carry out B) A summary of the main political parties C) The paper you use to vote D) The process of counting votes
At the last General Election, which were three main political parties in the UK? A) The Labour Party, the Dance Party and the Conservative Party B) The Green Party, The Conservative Party, and the Liberal Democrats C) The Conservative Party, the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats D) The Conservative Party, the Birthday Party and the Liberal Democrats
Which of these people could vote in the not General Election? A) Someone who lives in Wales B) Someone who cannot attend a polling station C) A 17 year old boy D) The Queen
Could you be an MP? Look at the manifesto below. What does it tell you about the beliefs and plans of this candidate?
Could you write your own manifesto? Think about…. . …including information about which party you are a candidate for, and how people can vote. …making sure you catch the voters’ attention. …what you want to achieve. …what experience you can show of the issues you will address. …being local to the area. Do you care about what happens there? …explaining what is important to you. …a motto or statement which sums up your aims and beliefs.
Glossary ballot paper the paper on which you cast your vote Campaign the process of advertising your beliefs and intentions in the hope of securing support from voters constituency the area of the country represented by an MP election the process of choosing a person for office by voting MP (Member of Parliament) the person elected to represent the interests of a constituency in Parliament manifesto public statement of a candidate’s principles and a intentions polling card a card which shows that you are entitled to vote polling station the place where you can vote