General Election 2015 timetable

General election timetable 2015

Following the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011, the date of the next general election has been set as Thursday 7 May 2015. Here is the expected timetable for what will happen during the campaign and after polling day, when the newly elected MPs take their seats and Members of the Lords return.

Please be aware that the timetable may change in the event of days being appointed for public thanksgiving or mourning.

This timetable is based on the assumption that the writ is received on the day following the dissolution of Parliament.

Thursday 26 March 2015 - Prorogation 2015

The formal end of the parliamentary session is marked by what is known as 'prorogation'. The 2014-15 session of Parliament was prorogued on Thursday 26 March 2015 until Monday 30 March 2015.

Monday 30 March 2015 - Dissolution

Dissolution of Parliament takes place.

Writs will be issued for elections in the UK's 650 constituencies.

A proclamation will be made announcing when Parliament will meet after the general election and setting the date of the Queen's Speech at State Opening.

Thursday 9 April - Candidate nomination papers deadline

Deadline for candidates to deliver nomination papers to (Acting) Returning Officer (4pm) and deadline for candidates to withdraw (4pm).

Monday 20 April - Voter registration deadline 2015

Deadline for receiving applications for registration.

Tuesday 21 April - Deadline for applying for postal vote

Deadline for receiving applications for a new postal vote and postal proxy applications was 5pm on Tuesday 21 April.

Tuesday 28 April - deadline for proxy vote applications

Deadline for applying for a proxy vote (except for emergency proxies) (5pm).

Thursday 7 May 2015 - Polling day

Polling booths open between 7am and 10pm. Counting of votes will begin when the polls close.

Friday 8 May 2015

Counting continues.

Monday 18 May 2015 - New Parliament summoned

Parliament returns on a date set by proclamation.

The Father of the House presides over the re-election of / election of a new Speaker of the House of Commons.

Royal Commission confirms the election of the Speaker of the Commons.

MPs start swearing the Oath of Allegiance or making an Affirmation in the Commons, starting with the Speaker, followed by the Father of the House, the Prime Minister and other members of the Cabinet.

Swearing in continues for two or three further days.

Members of the House of Lords start swearing the Oath of Allegiance or making an Affirmation in the Lords.

Wednesday 27 May 2015 - State Opening and the Queen's Speech

The Queen's Speech is delivered at the State Opening of the new Parliament.

Triggering an election other than at five year intervals

The Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 provides for general elections to be held on the first Thursday in May every five years. There are two provisions that trigger an election other than at five year intervals.

  • A motion of no confidence is passed in Her Majesty's Government by a simple majority and 14 days elapses without the House passing a confidence motion in any new Government formed
  • A motion for a general election is agreed by two thirds of the total number of seats in the Commons including vacant seats (currently 434 out of 650)

If these were to happen then the dates in the timetable above would be amended accordingly.

Extension of timetable for elections

Section 14 of the Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013 made provision for lengthening the UK Parliamentary election timetable, both for general and by-elections. This provision was brought into force on 6 April 2014.

Parliament will now be dissolved 25 days before the general election on 7 May 2015, instead of 17 days. According to this timetable, Parliament will be dissolved on Monday 30 March 2015.

The House of Commons Library produces briefing papers to inform MPs and their staff of key issues. The Library has published papers on the timetables for the UK Parliamentary general elections and by-elections.

Image: PA / Lynne Cameron

Electoral Commission

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

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