Following the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011, the date of the next general election has been set as 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.
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 the new timetable, Parliament will be dissolved on Monday 30 March 2015.
House of Commons Library analysis
The House of Commons Library produces briefing papers to inform MPs and their staff of key issues. The Library has published a paper on the timetables for the UK Parliamentary General Election.
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 below would be amended accordingly.
Timetable for 2015 parliamentary elections
The formal end of the parliamentary session is marked by what is known as prorogation. The House of Commons may decide that it will not prorogue.
Monday 30 March 2015 - Dissolution
- Parliament dissolves
- 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
- Writs will be issued for elections in the UK's 650 constituencies
Voter registration deadline 2015 – date to be announced
- Cut-off date for UK citizens aged 18 and over to register to vote in the general election
- Also marks the deadline for voters to apply for a postal or a proxy vote
Candidates' nomination papers must be delivered to the local returning officer. Any candidate wishing to withdraw must do so on this date
- Election agents, who ensure the proper management of each candidate's campaign, must also be appointed
Thursday 7 May 2015 - Election day
Polling booths open between 7am and 10pm. Counting of votes will begin when the polls close.
Friday 8 May 2015
The return of Parliament 2015 – date to be announced
- Parliament returns
- MPs start swearing the Oath of Allegiance or making an Affirmation in the Commons
- Members of the House of Lords start swearing the Oath of Allegiance or making an Affirmation in the Lords
The Queens Speech 2015 – date to be announced
The Queen's Speech is delivered at the State Opening of the new Parliament.
Election of the speaker of the House of Commons 2015 – date to be announced
Royal Commission confirms the election of the Speaker of the Commons