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Current Electoral & Constitutional Issues

The biggest electoral issue within the country at present is the campaign by all political parties to win the 2015 General Election. This will be held on May 7th. It is the most unpredictable election in post-war Britain with a hung-parliament as the likely outcome caused by the rise of smaller parties and apparent dissilusionment with 'mainstream politics'.

Find out more about what the opinion polls are saying here

The second largest electoral issue within Great Britain is Scottish Independence. A referendum was held on 18 September 2014. Take a look at our Scottish Referendum section and find out more about the campaigns. The Scottish people rejected independence but further devolved powers were promised during the last days of the campaign as panic set in. The increased authority to Scotland, and Wales and Northern Ireland, has started a wider momentum behind English devolution; more powers to the regions of England and the principle of 'English votes for English laws' to overturn the current situation where Members of Parliament outside England can vote on English matters but not the other way around. This will be a key election battleground.

Electoral issues in Great Britain at present are:

  • European proposals to extend the vote to prisoners, currently banned
  • The terms of the In/Out of the European Union referendum for the British people in 2017 should the Conservatives win the next election 
  • Extending powers to the Welsh Assembly (and therefore what people are voting for)
  • Low voter turn-out and the access to voting. Is it putting people off?
  • Extending the vote to 16 and 17 year olds after the precedent of the Scottish Referendum
  • Cases of postal vote fraud and voter intimidation in some areas of the country
  • The diversity of candidates selected to Parliament – in particular the low numbers of women serving in the cabinet

What used to be the biggest issue…

One of the biggest electoral issues used to be when the General Election would be called. Indeed some believe that if Gordon Brown had called an election as soon as he took office from Tony Blair, things may have been quite different. The Fixed Term Parliament Act has changed the process of Government transition and formation with unpredictable consequences if no party has a majority in Parliament. 

Some near misses…

  • Proposals for changing the electoral system for general elections to the Alternative vote were defeated at a referendum in 2011  
  • Plans for an elected House of Lords did not get the support of enough Conservative Members of Parliament  
  • The Liberal Democrats failed to vote for Conservative proposals to reduce the number of MPs to 600 and make constituencies of almost exactly the same size.  

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