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United Kingdom (UK) general election 2015 - Statistics & Facts

On May 7, 2015 there was a general election in the United Kingdom to decide which party or parties would govern the country for the next 5 years. In the build up to the vote the pollsters had the two main parties of Labour and the Conservatives largely neck and neck. The country braced itself for long drawn-out coalition negotiations and even potentially a second round of voting.

None of this came to pass, with David Cameron's Conservative Party securing a first majority government since John Major in 1992. In the aftermath of the result, Ed Miliband resigned as leader of the party amid fervent debate about which direction the party needs to head in if it is to mount a strong enough challenge at the next election. Opinions aside, the fact that Labour lost a net 26 seats, largely to a rampaging Scottish National Party (SNP) in its traditional stronghold north of the English border, certainly contributed to the failure.

The SNP, somehow buoyed by the 'no' vote in September 2014's referendum on independence from the United Kingdom, saw net gains of 50 seats with the party winning in 56 out of a possible 59 constituencies in Scotland. At the other end of the scale, the Liberal Democrats lost 49 of their previously held seats leaving them with a total of 8.

Aside from the main battle for Downing Street between Labour and the Conservatives, one other party started to steal the limelight in the months leading up to the election. The United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), led by Nigel Farage, received not only a lot of media coverage but in the end also a large proportion of the votes. Despite their clear popularity among the UK electorate, they only won one seat, in Clacton, with their leader himself losing out in his constituency to the Conservative candidate.

Such results have led to demand for electoral reform. Detractors of the 'first past the post' system currently in use, whereby the candidate with the most votes in each constituency is given a seat in parliament, suggest that it should be replaced by 'proportional representation'. If the 2015 election had been conducted using this system the share of the seats won would have matched the share of the total votes that each party received. Nevertheless, because UKIP came second in over 90 constituencies, they have to settle for their lone seat in Essex.


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