A UK Parliament has a maximum duration of five years. At the end of the five year or before, a general election must take place so new members of parliament can be elected by the people.
The election of all Members of Parliament (MPs) for each constituency (local area) is called a General Election. In the UK we vote for the best candidate in our local area to represent us in the House of Commons.
The UK system is not like the US system where you vote for the President/Vice-President, then your local representatives separately. In the UK, the winning candidate becomes MP and takes a seat in the House of Commons. The party with the majority of seats in the Commons gets to form the government. That party’s leader becomes Prime Minister.
In the UK we have the House of Commons and the House of Lords. We can only vote for a MP to represent us in the House of Commons. The Lords are appointed or inherited.
General elections have to take place at least every five years and are called by the Prime Minister (the leader of the Government).
The last General Election was in 2010. No single party won enough majority of seats to form the government alone. So in order to form a government two or more parties had to join together. David Cameron, the leader of the Conservative Party, formed a new government, in coalition with the Liberal Democrats.
People are nominated as candidates to become MPs. Any one over the age of 21 can be a candidate.
When an MP gets the most votes for his constituency (local area) he gains a seat. This means he has a place in Parliament.
|Did you know?
In the US, there are general elections every four years for the presidency and every two years for governor, senate and congressional seats. Those in-between general elections where the presidency is not determined are called mid-term elections. And the date chosen is always the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. However, there may be local elections that are called as needed by local councils.
How Britain is Governed | Parliament
House of Parliament | Elections | Government
Prime Minister | House of Commons
Making and Passing Laws