What is a General Election

What is a General Election?

A map of the UK with people standing around it showing their plans for change. In the middle is a voting booth, a ballot paper and a ballot box

A General Election is when we choose who will make up the Government.

People vote for who they want to be the Member of Parliament (MP) for their local area.

A man in a suit with the Houses of Parliament behind him

People who want to be MPs are called candidates.  Candidates usually work for a political party, like the Conservative Party, Labour, or the Liberal Democrats.

Some candidates are independent, and don't work for a party.

A hand placing a ballot paper into a grey ballot box

If a candidate gets the most votes in their local area, they become an MP.

If they get the most votes, they win what is called a seat in parliament.

Rosettes for the main political parties in blue, red, yellow and green

The political party that has the most MPs will make the Government.  The leader of the party with the most MPs becomes the Prime Minister .

This can only happen if the party has 326 MPs. This is called an overall majority.

A woman holding a clipboard with the Houses of Parliament behind her.

If the party with the most seats has less than 326 MPs, they do not have an overall majority.

This is called a hung parliament.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak standing in front of 10 Downing Street

The Prime Minister at the time of the election will try to find other parties to  work with to form a government

 This is called a coalition.

Kier Starmer waring a suit with a red Labour rosette badge

If the Prime Minister at the time cannot make a coalition then the Leader of the Opposition will get the chance to speak to other parties to make a Government.

King Charles III on a graphic with a Union Flag in the background and text reading King Charles III above

The leader of the party who has a majority or forms a coalition then goes to Buckingham Palace to meet with the King.

King Charles in a grey suit with medals

The King will ask the leader of the party to be the Prime Minister and make a government.

The black door of 10 Downing Street

The Prime minister will leave Buckingham Palace and make their way to Downing Street to make a speech. 

10 Downing Street is where the Prime Minister lives.

A group of people around a large meeting table and a list of things on a piece of paper

The Prime minister will choose which MPs in their party will be invited to work in the Government on important things like health, education , and how money is spent.

This is called the Cabinet.