Frequently Asked Questions: Elections

Useful information on voting, parliamentary constituencies and by-elections.

Voting

Can I vote in a UK Parliamentary election?

The Electoral Commission is an independent body that regulates elections in the UK, promotes voter awareness, and works to build confidence in the electoral process. 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.

Who cannot vote in a UK parliamentary election?

The Electoral Commission is the independent elections watchdog. Further information on eligibility to vote, and who cannot vote,  in a UK general election is given on their website.

How do I find out who the candidates are in an election 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.

How can I find out 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 the Queen vote?

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

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

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)

Parliamentary constituencies

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.

By-elections

When was the last by-election?

The last by-election took place on 20 November 2014. Mark Reckless of the UK Independence Party won the Rochester and Strood seat.

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.

Contact the Information Office

The House of Commons Information Office 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 HCIO produces a number of publications that include:

House of Commons on Twitter

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