General elections

This page highlights some of the current parliamentary material available on general elections. This includes select committee reports, briefing papers on current legislation and other subjects produced by the parliamentary research services, and the latest Early Day Motions put down by MPs.

Commons Briefing Papers

10.05.2016Overseas voters
British citizens living overseas are entitled to be registered to vote in UK Parliamentary elections for up to 15 years in the constituency they were registered in before leaving the UK. After the general election the Government indicated that it would bring forward a Votes for Life Bill; this Bill has not yet been introduced but the Government indicated that its provisions would end the 15 year rule. This Briefing Paper provides details of the provisions relating to overseas voters in the Representation of the People Act 1985 and of earlier attempts to change the 15 year rule.
25.04.2016'Purdah' before elections and referendums
Specific restrictions on the use of public resources are in place during the 'purdah' period before elections and referendums. The Cabinet Office issues guidance for civil servants on their conduct during this period.
07.03.2016All-women shortlists
This note looks at the background to the Sex Discrimination (Election Candidates) Act 2002 which allowed political parties to draw up all-women shortlists of candidates for elections; and its extension. It gives details of Labour candidates selected through all-women shortlists and methods of positive action used by the main political parties to increase the number of women MPs.
18.11.2015Armed Forces Voting
The Armed Forces can register to vote as ordinary electors, as overseas voters, or as service voters. There has been concern about the under-registration of the Armed Forces, especially those serving overseas, and the difficulties they face in participating in the electoral process more generally.The Note also gives a brief history of how the system of voting by members of the Armed Forces has changed, particularly during the periods directly after each World War.
13.11.2015General Election results: Social Indicators page
General Election results: headline data and trends.
28.07.2015General Election 2015
This briefing paper analyses the results of the 2015 General Election. It includes the election results by country, region and party, as well as the full result and turnout for every UK constituency. This is the second edition of the briefing paper, which provides additional analysis and statistics. New chapters in this edition cover seats changing hands, the characteristics of voters for each party, the characteristics of candidates and MPs, the electorate and turnout, safe and marginal seats, by-elections during the last Parliament, polling day, and the marginality of constituencies. The full results are available for download in two CSV files. The election results shown in this Briefing Paper were provided by Returning Officers following the 2015 General Election.
30.03.2015Televised debates between party leaders
This note sets out the background to the current debate about televised debates between party leaders during a general election campaign. Three debates were held for the first time in the UK during the 2010 general election. The BBC, ITV News, Sky News and Channel 4 have put forward proposals to change the format of the televised leaders' debates to be held before the 2015 general election.
17.03.2015Party Political Broadcasts
This note sets out the current arrangements for party political broadcasts including their allocation, frequency, scheduling, length and content. Details are given of the BBC's final allocation criteria for party election broadcasts (PEBs) in 2015 as well as Ofcom's rules on PEBs for commercial broadcasters.
11.02.2015Prisoners' voting rights (2005 to May 2015)
Prisoners serving a custodial sentence do not have the right to vote under UK law. Prisoners on remand are able to vote under the provisions of the Representation of the People Act 2000. This Standard Note provides a narrative of events from the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) on 6 October 2005, in the case of Hirst v United Kingdom (No 2), to the May 2015 General Election.
28.01.2015Dissolution of Parliament
Under provisions in the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011, Parliament is dissolved automatically 25 working days before a general election. The Act sets the date of the next general election as 7 May 2015, accordingly this Parliament will dissolve on 30 March 2015.

Select Committee Reports

16.03.2010Constitutional processes following a general election.
Justice Select Committee report [Commons]

Early Day Motions

That this House is concerned at allegations of high levels of voter fraud in Halifax and elsewhere at the 2010 General Election; notes that Calderdale Council has admitted that 763 ...
That this House notes with concern the quality of the BBC's coverage of the recent general election, and in particular its results programme on election night; further notes the importance ...
That this House notes with concern the new restrictions placed on media coverage of the forthcoming general election in Ethiopia; further notes with great sadness the violent aftermath ...
That this House supports the principle that the counting of votes following the 2010 general election should take place immediately after the close of polls, recognising that in some ...
That this House welcomes the decision of the Chief Electoral Officer in Northern Ireland to count the ballots for the general election immediately following the close of the polls on ...


  • Commons Briefing Papers (CBP) Papers providing in-depth and impartial analysis on every major piece of primary legislation and on other topics of public and parliamentary concern. Regular statistics papers are also published.
  • Early Day Motions (EDMs) - formal motions submitted by MPs in the House of Commons
  • POSTnotes (POST PN) - proactive four-page policy briefings from the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology based on reviews of the research literature, interviews with stakeholders and peer review, commissioned by the POST Board
  • Lords Library Notes (LLN) - authored publications by the research section of the House of Lords Library that provide analysis of Bills, subjects for debate in the House and other issues of interest to Members.
  • Select Committee Reports - papers produced by all select committees of both Houses