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A quick guide to the UK General Election

By Stephen Andrews

The 2024 United Kingdom general election will be held on Thursday, 4 July 2024.


On that day, people around the country will vote to decide which political party they want as the next government.


Since the 1920s, the two main political parties in the UK, with the most MPs in the House of Commons, are the Conservative and the Labour Party.


The Parties


The Conservative Party (also called Tories) traditionally attracts people who have right-wing, conservative, views. Their policies generally favour those who are well-off, rather than the working-class.


Currently, the Conservatives have been in power for 15 years. Some people think that’s far too long! In that time, they’ve been accused of not spending enough on things like the National Health Service, education and social housing. It hasn’t helped that the leadership of the party has changed twice in the space of two months. Boris Johnson, probably the best-known Conservative Prime Minister, was very popular with the public, but because of a series of scandals, was eventually thrown out of office. He was replaced, for a very brief time by Liz Truss, who only lasted a few months due to her disastrous economic policies. She was replaced by the current Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, who many dislike because he’s so rich!


The Labour Party generally hold views opposite to the Conservatives. Traditionally, they represented working-class people and were supported by the Trade Union movement, which fights for better conditions and the rights of people employed in various trades. Over the past few years, though, this has changed quite a lot. Now, some people say that the current Labour Party has begun to resemble the Conservatives more and more. This could be because Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, has tended to go against the views of the left-wing members of his party. The problem for him is that he hasn’t been very clear explaining exactly what his beliefs are.


Who to Vote For?


Generally, people in Britain tend to belong to the Conservatives or Labour. But there are lots of other parties to vote for. The Liberal Democrats are the third most popular party and sit somewhere in between Conservatives and Labour.


In Scotland, the Scottish National Party are the biggest political party, with more MPs than Labour. They believe that Scotland should be a separate nation from England.


Similarly, in Wales, Plaid Cymru appeal to people who want Wales to be more independent from England. 


But there are a few political parties which offer something a bit different to the Conservatives and Labour.


For example, if you like, you could vote for the Monster Raving Loony Party. I didn’t make this up! They are a registered political party and want people to ‘Vote for Insanity’. So even British politics can have a sense of humour …


Who’ll win?


The problem for both the Conservative and the Labour parties in this election, is that neither of their leaders are very popular!


Lots of people simply believe that, because the Conservatives have been in power for so long, that it’s time for a change. They may well vote for Keir Starmer and Labour simply because of that.


As we move towards Election Day, people’s opinions are reflected in a number of polls, surveys showing how people might vote.


At the moment, the Labour Party is far ahead of the Conservatives and the popular belief is that Labour will eventually win. But, in politics, nothing is ever certain, and the British people are always a bit unpredictable.


So we’ll have to wait for the day after Election Day, when all the votes have been finally counted, to find out …







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