Study Notes

General Election

AQA, Edexcel, OCR, IB

Last updated 22 Mar 2021

A General Election is an election held for a nation’s primary legislative body.

In the UK it is the election where voters select Members of Parliament (MPs) in the House of Commons. This is opposed to other types of election, such as local elections and by-elections, although it should be noted that the Scottish Assembly calls its elections a general election as well.

The Westminster General Election for the House of Commons occurs on the same day in all constituencies. Under the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act 2011, there is a fixed five year period between one General Election and the next.

This means that Prime Ministers no longer have the prerogative to be able to call an election at a time electorally convenient to them. Instead, they the Commons has to pass a motion of no confidence in the Government, or at least two thirds of the House of Commons’ members resolve that a General election should take place sooner.

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