With a ‘dead-eyed’ Theresa May announcing on Tuesday that the UK is once again set to head to the polls we thought we’d have a look at some interesting facts surrounding a UK general election
How much does a General Election Cost? It turns out rather an expensive affair. It is difficult to gauge but given the bill for the 2010 election was £113.3m and the EU referendum £142.4m it is more than likely Ms May’s snap election will leave the taxpayer with a bill exceeding £150m
Much has been made of the reasons behind the election being called. A new Prime Minister seeking a mandate however is not unheard of. General elections were called for the same reason in both 1923 and 1955
Many suspect though that the Conservative party may be taking advantage of Labour’s abysmal poll ratings to seek a huge majority. However despite Labour’s dismal ratings if current opinion polls were replicated at the ballot box the Conservatives would secure a working majority of 100 (based on winning 375 seats). Whilst substantial this pales in comparison Labour’s 1997 179 seat majority and the Conservatives’ 209 seat in 1924.
Much was made of the election of 21 year old Mhairi Black for Paisley and Renfrewshire South in 2015. Whilst the youngest member of the Commons in quite a while she is by no way the most youthful ever by a significant margin. The youngest MP ever came to the House in 1667, the 13 year old Christopher Monck, 2nd Duke of Albermarle. Given the current laws that an MP must be at least 18 this record doesn’t look like it’ll be broken anytime soon.
Where should you be looking on election night. Some seats are considered good indicators of which way the country is leaning, however none more than Dartford which has gone for the winning party every election since 1964.
The election has been predictably scheduled for a Thursday. The last find an election taking place on any other day one has to go back to Tuesday October 27th 1931. Why though the consistency? It is thought to have something to do with pay day previously occurring each Friday. The Government sought to wait till the end of the week when people would have least money and hence less likely to be in the pub and forgetting to vote.
Contrary to popular belief the Queen is in fact allowed to vote. However given that she must ask the victor in the election to form a Government it is seen as constitutionally dubious and so she abstains.
In the early 2000s low voter turnout raised debate about whether voting should be made compulsory. While little came of this and turnout has in fact increased in recent years Luxembourg, Greece, Cyprus and Australia all have laws compelling the electorate to vote with non-compliance earning fines or possibly jail time.