FAQs about UK parliament elections and voting

This page may give answers to your questions on UK Parliament elections, by-elections and referendums as well as information about your constituency, voting and who can vote.

Who are the candidates in my constituency?

Your local Electoral Registration Office will display the names of all the candidates on town hall and local council notice boards in your area about a week before polling day. Information is also normally available in local newspapers. Candidates may send information about themselves to you and there may be public meetings where you have the opportunity to hear all the candidates speak.

Can I vote for a new Prime Minister?

No. You can only vote to elect your local MP in a general election. Even if you live in the constituency represented by the current Prime Minister or the leader of another political party, you are still only voting on whether he or she will be your local MP in the next Parliament

Where can I find the election result in my constituency?

Results are posted up by local officials on town hall and local council notice boards in each constituency and are also reported in the local and national media. Results are also available on the relevant local authority website for your local Electoral Registration Office.

Parliamentary election results are also added to each MP's biography page on this website.

Can I vote in a UK Parliamentary election?

The Electoral Commission website gives detailed information on who is eligible to vote, how to register to vote, and the different ways to vote.The Get Involved pages on the Parliament website give a quick guide on voting in the general election.

Can the Queen vote?

The Queen can vote, but in practice it is considered unconstitutional for the Monarch to vote in an election.

When were women given the vote?

1918 (women aged 30 and over)
1928 (women aged 21 and over)

When were all men given the vote?

1918 (men aged 21 and over)

When was the voting age reduced to 18?

1969 (for both men and women)

Which parliamentary constituency am I in?

The constituency you are in depends on where you live, or in certain cases such as overseas residents or members of the armed forces, where you have lived in the past.

To find out which constituency you are in you can check on the Ordnance Survey website, or with your local Electoral Registration Office.

Every 8-12 years constituency boundaries are reviewed to take into account movement and growth of the population in the UK.

What is the largest constituency?

Ross, Skye and Lochaber - measures approximately 12,000 square kilometres.

What is the smallest constituency?

Islington North - measures 735 hectares.

Which MP has the largest majority?

After the 2015 General Election, Steve Rotheram MP holds the largest majority in the seat of Liverpool, Walton with a majority of 27,777.

Which MP has the smallest majority?

After the 2015 General Election, Byron Davies MP holds the smallest majority in the seat of Gower with a majority of 27.

When was the last by-election?

The last by-elections took place on 5 May 2016: Gill Furniss (Labour) was elected in the Sheffield, Brightside and Hillsborough constituency and Christopher Elmore (Labour) was elected as the MP for Ogmore.

When were previous by-elections held?

Information on by-elections during the 2010-2015 Parliament, and the 2005-2010 Parliament is given on the About Parliament web pages.

When was the last referendum held in the UK?

A referendum was held in Scotland on 18 September 2014 on whether Scotland should be an independent country. Prior to that a UK-wide referendum was held on whether to change the voting system for electing MPs to the House of Commons on 5 May 2011.

When is the EU Referendum 2016 taking place?

On 23 June 2016.

Can I vote in the EU Referendum in 2016?

To vote in the EU Referendum 2016 you must be registered to vote and aged 18 or over.

You must also be either:

  • a British or Irish citizen resident in the UK;
  • a qualifying Commonwealth citizen; 
  • a British citizen who is a service voter or overseas voter;
  •  an Irish or Commonwealth citizen who would be entitled to vote in European elections in Gibraltar.

Electoral Commission: Registering to Vote explains how you can check that you are on the register.

Where can I find out more about the EU Referendum 2016?

You can find impartial information on the in-out referendum produced by the Commons Library and Lords Library at the link below. It sets out the background and timetable and offers information both on potential “Brexit” and on remaining in the EU.

Official information for campaigners and organisations is provided by the Electoral Commission.

 

Contact the House of Commons Enquiry Service

The House of Commons Enquiry Service provides information on the work, history and membership of the House of Commons.

Our telephone enquiry service is open between 10am-12 midday and 2pm-4pm (Monday to Friday, excluding bank holidays).

Publications

The House of Commons Enquiry Service produces a series of free publications which you can read online, or contact us to request copies.

House of Commons on Twitter

Follow @HouseofCommons for updates on the UK House of Commons Chamber.