UK: Political forces at a glance

Content Type
Country Data and Maps
Economist Intelligence Unit
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Politics, Summary, Background, Political forces at a glance
Political Geography
United Kingdom

Political outlook: Political forces at a glance

The UK is a parliamentary democracy. The legislature consists of an elected lower chamber, the House of Commons (650 seats), and an unelected upper chamber, the House of Lords (about 825 members), which was partly reformed in 1999. Pending a second stage of reform, most members of the House of Lords are appointed life peers. The UK is governed by the centre-right Conservative Party under its leader, Theresa May, who became prime minister in July 2016 following the resignation of David Cameron after the Brexit referendum. Mrs May called a snap election for June 8th 2017. In the election the Conservative Party is likely to increase its parliamentary majority, from 17 currently. The main opposition party, the centre-left Labour Party, led by veteran left-winger Jeremy Corbyn, is in danger of losing seats as it fails to convince working class, pro-Brexit voters that it represents their interests. The snap poll in 2017 will move the next scheduled general election to May 2022.

Parliamentary forces
  No. of seats   % share of vote  
  2010 2015 2010 2015
Conservative Party 306 331 36.1 36.9
Labour Party 258 232 29.0 30.4
Scottish National Party 5 56 1.7 4.7
Liberal Democrats 57 8 23.0 7.9
UK Independence Party 0 1 3.1 12.6
Others 24 22 7.1 7.5
Total 650 650 100.0 100.0

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