Search

Election 2017: Everything you need to know about the UK’s snap general election

PUBLISHED: 17:14 18 April 2017 | UPDATED: 17:47 18 April 2017

Prime Minister Theresa May announcing a snap general election on June 8. PICTURE: Philip Toscano/PA Wire

Prime Minister Theresa May announcing a snap general election on June 8. PICTURE: Philip Toscano/PA Wire

A snap general election has been called by prime minister Theresa May, to be held in June.

The PM made the announcement outside 10 Downing Street shortly after 11am this morning.

But there is lots of uncertainty about what will happen – so here is everything you need to know for now.

What is a ‘snap election’?

It is usually one called earlier than expected, or indeed needed. Most parliamentary systems require elections to be called at certain times (at least every so many years, that sort of thing). In the UK there has to be one every five years (see our bit about the Fixed-term Parliaments Act below). A snap election is one at short notice outside of those normal requirements.

When will it be held?

The date announced by Mrs May outside 10 Downing Street was June 8, seven weeks away on Thursday. However, that might not be completely certain just yet...

Is a general election an absolute certainty?

It’s highly likely, but not guaranteed at the moment. The reason is the Fixed-term Parliaments Act (more on that below), which means Mrs May has to ask Parliament first.

What is the Fixed-term Parliaments Act?

Before the Act (brought in in 2011) Parliament could run for a maximum of five years, but the Queen could dissolve parliament at any time – though she only does this on the recommendation of the prime minister, so effectively it’s their decision. However the act brought in, as the name suggests, fixed terms for parliaments of five years – so you could theoretically predict every General Election for the next 50 years.

How can Theresa May call a snap election two years after the last one?

There is a bit in the Fixed-term Parliaments Act which allows for this, so it is still possible for a snap election to be called, though it is harder than it used to be. For an early election to be called the House of Commons has to vote on whether it wants one – and there has to be a two-thirds majority in favour of an election for it to happen. The other way an early election can happen is if the House of Commons decides it has no confidence in the Government, but that is highly unlikely.

So there might not be a general election?

It would be extraordinary for Parliament not to agree to Mrs May’s request. Stranger things have happened though...

What happens next?

After today’s statement, Theresa May will go to the House of Commons tomorrow and ask them to vote on whether a general election should be held on June 8 this year. If she gets the two-thirds majority needed, the date will be set and things will start to swing into action. There will be a short “wash-up” period to clear up outstanding legislation such as the Finance Bill to enable the funding of government to carry on.

Parliament will then be dissolved on Wednesday May 3, 25 working days before polling, marking the start of the official campaign.

What are the views of the other main parties?

Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North), the Labour leader, has already said he welcomes it. Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron (Westmorland and Lonsdale) has said the election will be “your chance to change the direction of our country”. Green Party co-leader Jonathan Bartley has tweeted that the party is ready for what he calls “this seismic moment in our country’s future”. Paul Nuttall of UKIP said the party welcomed the “opportunity to take UKIP’s positive message to the country” but also called said Mrs May’s announcement was “a cynical decision driven more by the weakness of Corbyn’s Labour Party rather than the good of the country”.

Related articles

Latest East London Stories

18:00

Gallagher, the proud title partner of Premiership Rugby, has launched a nationwide competition for community rugby clubs to win a training session coached by their local Gallagher Premiership Rugby club.

15:00

London Lions face a hectic weekend with a league fixture and a cup quarter-final clash against Worcester Wolves.

8 minutes ago

Tower Hamlets Council is to overhaul the way it awards grants to community and voluntary organisations (VCS) in the borough.

PROMOTED CONTENT

Are you a landlord looking for a fixed rental income, paid whether the property is empty or not? Steve Westley, general manager at estate agents Elliot Leigh, explains their Guaranteed Rent Scheme and how it takes the stress out of letting your property.

Newsletter Sign Up

East London Advertiser twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Awards Directory

Show Job Lists

Most read

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Docklands and East London Advertiser
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now