2017 United Kingdom general election

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2017 United Kingdom general election
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg
  2015 8 June 2017 2019  

All 650 seats in the House of Commons
326 [n 1] seats needed for a majority
Opinion polls
Turnout68.8% (Increase2.svg 2.4 pp) [1]
 First partySecond partyThird party
  Theresa May election infobox.jpg Jeremy Corbyn election infobox 2.jpg Nicola Sturgeon election infobox 3.jpg
Leader Theresa May Jeremy Corbyn Nicola Sturgeon
Party Conservative Labour SNP
Leader's seat Maidenhead Islington North Did not stand [n 2]
Last election330 seats, 36.9%232 seats, 30.4%56 seats, 4.7%
Seats won317*26235
Seat changeDecrease2.svg 13Increase2.svg 30Decrease2.svg 21
Popular vote13,636,68412,877,918977,568
SwingIncrease2.svg 5.5 pp Increase2.svg 9.6 pp Decrease2.svg 1.7 pp

 Fourth partyFifth partySixth party
  Official portrait of Tim Farron MP crop 2.jpg Arlene Foster election infobox.jpg Gerry Adams election infobox.jpg
Leader Tim Farron Arlene Foster Gerry Adams
Party Liberal Democrats Democratic Unionist Party Sinn Féin
Leader's seat Westmorland
and Lonsdale
Did not stand [n 3] Did not stand [n 4]
Last election8 seats, 7.9%8 seats, 0.6%4 seats, 0.6%
Seats won12107 [n 5]
Seat changeIncrease2.svg 4Increase2.svg 2Increase2.svg 3
Popular vote2,371,861292,316238,915
SwingDecrease2.svg 0.5 pp Increase2.svg 0.3 pp Increase2.svg 0.1 pp

A map of UK parliamentary constituencies
* Figure does not include the Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow, who was included in the Conservative seat total by some media outlets.

UK House of Commons 2017-06-26.svg
Composition of the House of Commons after the election

Prime Minister before election

Theresa May

Prime Minister after election

Theresa May

The 2017 United Kingdom general election was held on Thursday 8 June 2017, two years after the previous general election in 2015; it was the first since 1992 to be held on a day that did not coincide with any local elections. [2] The governing Conservative Party remained the largest single party in the House of Commons but lost its small overall majority, resulting in the formation of a Conservative minority government with a Confidence and supply agreement with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) of Northern Ireland. [3]


The Conservative Party, which had governed as a senior coalition partner from 2010 and as a single-party majority government from 2015, was defending a working majority of 17 seats against the Labour Party, the official opposition led by Jeremy Corbyn. It was the first general election to be contested by either May or Corbyn; May had succeeded David Cameron following his resignation as prime minister the previous summer, Corbyn had succeeded Ed Miliband who resigned following Labour's failure to win the general election two years earlier.

Under the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 an election had not been due until May 2020, but Prime Minister Theresa May's call for a snap election was ratified by the necessary two-thirds vote in the House of Commons on 19 April 2017. May said that she hoped to secure a larger majority to "strengthen [her] hand" in the forthcoming Brexit negotiations. [4]

Opinion polls had consistently shown strong leads for the Conservatives over Labour. From a 21-point lead, the Conservatives' lead began to diminish in the final weeks of the campaign. The Conservative Party made a net loss of 13 seats despite winning 42.4% of the vote (its highest share of the vote since 1983), whereas the Labour Party made a net gain of 30 seats with 40.0% (its highest vote share since 2001, representing its highest increase in vote share between two general elections since 1945). It was the first election since 1997 in which the Tories made a net loss of seats or Labour a net gain of seats. The election had the closest result between the two major parties since February 1974 and resulted in their highest combined vote share since 1970. The Scottish National Party (SNP) and the Liberal Democrats, the third- and fourth-largest parties, both lost vote share; media coverage characterised the result as a return to two-party politics. [5] The SNP, which had won 56 of the 59 Scottish seats at the previous general election in 2015, lost 21. The Liberal Democrats made a net gain of four seats.UKIP, the third-largest party in 2015 by number of votes, saw its share of the vote reduced from 12.6% to 1.8% and lost its only seat.

In Wales, Plaid Cymru gained one seat, giving it a total of four seats. The Green Party retained its sole seat, but saw its share of the vote reduced. In Northern Ireland, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) won 10 seats, Sinn Féin won seven, and Independent Unionist Sylvia Hermon retained her seat. The Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) and Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) lost all their seats.

Negotiation positions following the UK's invocation of Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union in March 2017 to leave the EU were expected to feature significantly in the campaign, but did not as domestic issues took precedence instead. The campaign was interrupted by two major terrorist attacks: Manchester and London Bridge; thus, national security became a prominent issue in its final weeks.

The outcome of the election would have significant implications for the Brexit negotiations, and led the UK Parliament into a period of protracted deadlock which would eventually bring about another general election two-and-a-half years later.

Electoral system

Each parliamentary constituency of the United Kingdom elects one MP to the House of Commons using the "first past the post" system. If one party obtains a majority of seats, then that party is entitled to form the Government, with its leader as Prime Minister. If the election results in no single party having a majority, there is a hung parliament. In this case, the options for forming the Government are either a minority government or a coalition. [6]

The Sixth Periodic Review of Westminster constituencies was not due to report until 2018, [7] and therefore this general election took place under existing boundaries, enabling direct comparisons with the results by constituency in 2015.

Voting eligibility

To vote in the general election, one had to be: [8] [9]

Individuals had to be registered to vote by midnight twelve working days before polling day (22 May). [14] [15] Anyone who qualified as an anonymous elector had until midnight on 31 May to register. [n 7] A person who has two homes (such as a university student with a term-time address but lives at home during holidays) may be registered to vote at both addresses, as long as they are not in the same electoral area, but can vote in only one constituency at the general election. [17]

On 18 May, The Independent reported that more than 1.1 million people between 18 and 35 had registered to vote since the election was announced on 18 April. Of those, 591,730 were under the age of 25. [18]

Date and cost of the election

A polling station in north London North London polling station June 2017 election 01.jpg
A polling station in north London

The Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 introduced fixed-term Parliaments to the United Kingdom, with elections scheduled every five years since the general election on 7 May 2015. [19] This removed the power of the Prime Minister, using the royal prerogative, to dissolve Parliament before its five-year maximum length. [19] The Act permits early dissolution if the House of Commons votes by a supermajority of two-thirds of the entire membership of the House.

On 18 April 2017, Prime Minister Theresa May announced she would seek an election on 8 June, [20] despite previously ruling out an early election. [21] [22] A House of Commons motion to allow this was passed on 19 April, with 522 votes for and 13 against, a majority of 509. [23] The motion was supported by the Conservatives, Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Greens, while the SNP abstained. [20] Nine Labour MPs, one SDLP MP and three independents (Sylvia Hermon and two former SNP MPs, Natalie McGarry and Michelle Thomson) voted against the motion. [24]

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn supported the early election, [25] as did Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron and the Green Party. [26] [27] The SNP stated that it was in favour of fixed-term parliaments, and would abstain in the House of Commons vote. [28] UKIP leader Paul Nuttall and First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones criticised May for being opportunistic in the timing of the election, motivated by the then strong position of the Conservative Party in the opinion polls. [29] [30]

On 25 April, the election date was confirmed as 8 June, [31] with dissolution on 3 May. The government announced that it intended for the next parliament to assemble on 13 June, with the state opening on 19 June. [32]


The key dates are listed below (all times are BST): [33]

18 AprilPrime Minister Theresa May announced her intention to hold a snap election [34]
19 AprilMPs voted to dissolve Parliament [35]
22 AprilStart of pre-election period [36] [37]
25 AprilRoyal Proclamation under section 2(7) of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 issued by HM The Queen on the advice of the Prime Minister [31]
27 AprilSecond session of Parliament prorogued [38]
3 May Formal dissolution of Parliament (for the election to take place on 8 June) and official start of 'short' campaigning [39]
3 MayRoyal Proclamation was issued summoning a new UK Parliament [32]
4 May Local elections (these were already scheduled, and were not part of the general election) [40]
11 MayDeadline (4pm) for the delivery of candidate nomination papers [41]
11 MayDeadline (5pm) for the publication of Statements of Persons Nominated (or 4 pm on 12 May if objections were received) [42]
11 MayEarliest date returning officers could issue poll cards [43] and postal ballot packs [44]
22 MayLast day the public was able to register to vote (unless an anonymous elector) [14]
23 MayDeadline (5pm) to apply for a postal vote/postal proxy vote [45] [46]
31 MayDeadline (5pm) to apply for a proxy vote, [45] [46] and last day to register to vote as an anonymous elector [n 7]
8 JunePolling day (polling stations opened at 7 am and closed at 10 pm, or once voters present in a queue at or outside the polling station at 10 pm had cast their vote). [47] Counting of votes started no later than 2 am on 9 June. [48]
13 JuneFirst meeting of the 57th Parliament of the United Kingdom, for the formal election of a Speaker of the Commons and the swearing-in of members, ahead of the State Opening of the new Parliament's first session. [49]
21 June State Opening of Parliament (initially planned for 19 June) [50] [51]


The cost of organising the election was around £140 million – slightly less than the EU referendum, of which £98 million was spent on administrative costs, and £42.5 million was spent on campaign costs. [52]

Parties and candidates

Campaigning on polling day, 8 June 2017 Labour party campaigning June 2017 election.jpg
Campaigning on polling day, 8 June 2017

Most candidates were representatives of a political party registered with the Electoral Commission. Candidates not belonging to a registered party could use an "independent" label, or no label at all.

The leader of the party commanding a majority of support in the House of Commons is the person who is called on by the monarch to form a government as Prime Minister, while the leader of the largest party not in government becomes the Leader of the Opposition. Other parties also form shadow ministerial teams. The leaders of the SNP, Plaid Cymru and the DUP are not MPs; hence, they appoint separate leaders in the House of Commons.

Great Britain

The Conservative Party and the Labour Party have been the two biggest parties since 1922, and have supplied all Prime Ministers since 1935. Both parties changed their leader after the 2015 election. David Cameron, who had been the leader of the Conservative Party since 2005 and Prime Minister since 2010, was replaced in July 2016 by Theresa May following the referendum on the United Kingdom's membership of the European Union. Jeremy Corbyn replaced Ed Miliband as Leader of the Labour Party and Leader of the Opposition in September 2015, and was re-elected leader in September 2016.

While the Liberal Democrats and their predecessors had long been the third-largest party in British politics, they returned only 8 MPs in 2015 (having been part of the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition from 2010 until 2015)—49 fewer than at the previous election and the fewest in their modern history. [n 8] Tim Farron became the Liberal Democrat leader in July 2015, following the resignation of Nick Clegg. Led by First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon, the SNP stands only in Scotland; it won 56 of the 59 Scottish seats in 2015. UKIP, then led by Nigel Farage, who was later replaced by Diane James and then by Paul Nuttall in 2016, won 12.7% of the vote in 2015 but gained only one MP, Douglas Carswell, who left the party in March 2017 to sit as an independent. After securing 3.8% of the vote and one MP in the previous general election, Green Party leader Natalie Bennett was succeeded by joint leaders Caroline Lucas and Jonathan Bartley in September 2016. Smaller parties that contested the 2015 election and chose not to put forward candidates in 2017 included Mebyon Kernow, the Communist Party of Britain, the Scottish Socialist Party, and the National Front. [53] [54] [55] The Respect Party, which had previously held seats, was dissolved in 2016; its former MP George Galloway stood and lost in the 2017 election as an independent in Manchester Gorton. [56] [57]

Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), Sinn Féin, the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), the Green Party of Northern Ireland and the Alliance Party contested the 2017 election. Sinn Féin maintained its abstentionist policy. [58] [59] The DUP, Sinn Féin, SDLP, UUP and APNI were all led by new party leaders, changed since the 2015 election. The Conservatives, Greens, and four other minor parties also stood. Despite contesting 10 seats last time, UKIP did not stand in Northern Ireland. [60]


3,304 candidates stood for election, down from 3,631 in the previous general election. The Conservatives stood in 637 seats, Labour in 631 (including jointly with the Co-operative Party in 50) [61] and the Liberal Democrats in 629. UKIP stood in 377 constituencies, down from 624 in 2015, while the Greens stood in 468, down from 573. The SNP contested all 59 Scottish seats and Plaid Cymru stood in all 40 Welsh seats. [62] In Great Britain, 183 candidates stood as independents; minor parties included the Christian Peoples Alliance which contested 31 seats, the Yorkshire Party which stood in 21, the Official Monster Raving Loony Party in 12, the British National Party in 10, the Pirate Party in 10, the English Democrats in 7, the Women's Equality Party in 7, the Social Democratic Party in 6, the National Health Action Party in 5 and the Workers Revolutionary Party in 5, while an additional 79 candidates stood for 46 other registered political parties. [61]

In Wales, 213 candidates stood for election. Labour, Conservatives, Plaid Cymru, and Liberal Democrats contested all forty seats and there were 32 UKIP and 10 Green candidates. [63] In Scotland, the SNP, the Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats stood in all 59 seats while UKIP contested 10 seats and the Greens only 3. [64]

Of the 109 candidates in Northern Ireland, Sinn Féin, the SDLP and the Alliance contested all 18 seats; the DUP stood in 17, the UUP in 14 and the Conservatives and Greens stood in 7 each. People Before Profit and the Workers' Party contested two seats while Traditional Unionist Voice and the new Citizens Independent Social Thought Alliance stood in one each; four independents including incumbent Sylvia Hermon also stood. [60]

Party selection processes

Unlike in previous elections, the timetable of the snap election required parties to select candidates in just under three weeks, to meet the 11 May deadline.

For the Conservatives, local associations in target seats were offered a choice of three candidates by the party's headquarters from an existing list of candidates, without inviting applications; candidates in non-target seats were to be appointed directly by central party offices; and successful MPs were to be confirmed by a meeting of their local parties. [65] This was controversial with local associations. [66] The Labour Party required sitting MPs to express their intention to stand, automatically re-selecting those who did; and it advertised for applications from party members for all remaining seats by 23 April. [65] [67] Having devolved selections to its Scottish and Welsh parties, Labour's National Executive Committee endorsed all parliamentary candidates on 3 May except for Rochdale, the seat of suspended MP Simon Danczuk. [68] On 7 May, Steve Rotheram announced he was standing down as MP for Liverpool Walton following his election as Liverpool City Region mayor, leaving five days to appoint a candidate by close of nominations. [69]

The SNP confirmed on 22 April that its 54 sitting MPs would be re-selected and that its suspended members Natalie McGarry and Michelle Thomson would not be nominated as SNP candidates; the party subsequently selected candidates for McGarry's and Thomson's former seats, as well as for the three Scottish constituencies it did not win in 2015. [70] The Liberal Democrats had already selected 326 candidates in 2016 and over 70 in 2017 before the election was called. [65] Meetings of local party members from UKIP, the Greens and Plaid Cymru selected their candidates. [65] Parties in Northern Ireland were not believed to have already selected candidates due to the Assembly elections in March. [65]

High-profile candidates


Former employment minister Esther McVey was selected to contest Tatton. Zac Goldsmith was adopted as the candidate for Richmond Park, having lost the 2016 by-election as an independent in protest against the form of the Government's chosen expert's recommended Heathrow expansion. He had served as the seat's Conservative MP between 2010 and 2016. [71] [72] Kenneth Clarke, the Father of the House of Commons, had said he would retire in 2020 and so stood again in the 2017 election, leaving it open for him to retire possibly in 2022 (he eventually retired in 2019 when that year's national election was called). [73] [74]


Tony Lloyd, a former Labour MP for Manchester Central who served as Greater Manchester Police and Crime Commissioner from 2012 and interim Mayor of Greater Manchester since 2015 stood in Rochdale. [75]

Eli Aldridge was just 18 years old when he challenged then Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron in his Westmorland and Lonsdale constituency. News coverage showed Aldridge balancing campaigning with revision for his A-level examinations, even missing the start of his end-of-year ball to speak at a hustings in Kendal.[ citation needed ]

Liberal Democrats

Those ministers defeated in 2015 who stood for election in their former seats included Vince Cable in Twickenham, Ed Davey in Kingston and Surbiton, Jo Swinson in East Dunbartonshire, and Simon Hughes in Bermondsey and Old Southwark. [76]

UKIP leader

After coming second in the Stoke-on-Trent Central by-election earlier in 2017, UKIP leader Paul Nuttall contested Boston and Skegness. [77]

MPs rejected by their parties

Former Labour MP Simon Danczuk stood as an independent candidate, after being rejected from standing with that party and then withdrawing his party membership. [78] After the Liberal Democrats rejected David Ward, the former MP for Bradford East, for anti-semitism, he contested that seat as an independent. [79] [80]

Electoral alliances and arrangements

Ahead of the general election, crowdfunding groups such as More United and Open Britain were formed to promote candidates of similar views standing for election, and a "progressive alliance" was proposed. [81] [82] [83] [84] Former UKIP donor Arron Banks suggested a "patriotic alliance" movement. [85] A Tactical voting spreadsheet to keep the Conservatives out of government went viral on social media. [86] [87] Gina Miller, who took the government to court over Article 50, set out plans to tour marginal constituencies in support of pro-EU candidates. [88]

Within a few days of the election being announced, the Green Party of England and Wales and the SNP each proposed to collaborate with Labour and the Liberal Democrats to prevent a Conservative majority government. [89] [90] Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron quickly reaffirmed his party's opposition to an electoral pact or coalition with Labour, citing "electorally toxic" Corbyn and concerns over Labour's position on Brexit. [91] [92] On 22 April the Liberal Democrats also ruled out a coalition deal with the Conservatives and SNP. [93] Labour ruled out an electoral pact with the SNP, Liberal Democrats and Greens. [94]

Notwithstanding national arrangements, the Liberal Democrats, the Greens, and UKIP indicated they might not stand in every constituency. [95] The Green Party of England and Wales chose not to contest 22 seats explicitly "to increase the chance of a progressive candidate beating the Conservatives", [96] including South West Surrey, the seat of Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, in favour of the National Health Action Party candidate. [97] The Scottish Green Party contested just three constituencies. [64] The Liberal Democrats agreed to stand down in Brighton Pavilion. [98] After indicating it might not nominate candidates in seats held by strongly pro-Brexit Conservative MPs, [99] UKIP nominated 377 candidates; it was suggested this would help the Conservatives in marginal seats. [100]

In Northern Ireland, there were talks between the DUP and UUP. [95] Rather than engaging in a formal pact, the DUP agreed not to contest Fermanagh and South Tyrone, while the UUP chose not to stand in four constituencies. [101] Talks took place between Sinn Féin, the SDLP and the Green Party in Northern Ireland about an anti-Brexit agreement (the Alliance Party were approached but declined to be involved) [102] but no agreement was reached; the Greens said there was "too much distance" between the parties, Sinn Féin's abstentionist policy was criticised, and the SDLP admitted an agreement was unlikely. [103] On 8 May, the SDLP rejected Sinn Féin's call for them to stand aside in some seats. [101]



Prior to the calling of the general election, the Liberal Democrats gained Richmond Park from the Conservatives in a by-election, a seat characterised by its high Remain vote in the 2016 EU referendum. [104] The Conservatives held the safe seat of Sleaford and North Hykeham in December 2016. [105] In by-elections on 23 February 2017, Labour held Stoke-on-Trent Central but lost Copeland to the Conservatives, the first time a governing party had gained a seat in a by-election since the Tories took Mitcham and Morden in 1982. [106]

The general election came soon after the Northern Ireland Assembly election on 2 March. Talks on power-sharing between the DUP and Sinn Féin had failed to reach a conclusion, with Northern Ireland thus facing either another Assembly election, or the imposition of direct rule. The deadline was subsequently extended to 29 June. [107]

Local elections in England, Scotland and Wales took place on 4 May. These saw large gains by the Conservatives, and large losses by Labour and UKIP. Notably, the Conservatives won metro mayor elections in Tees Valley and the West Midlands, areas traditionally seen as Labour heartlands. [108] Initially scheduled for 4 May, a by-election in Manchester Gorton was cancelled; the seat was contested on 8 June along with all the other seats. [109] [110]

On 6 May, a letter from Church of England Archbishops Justin Welby and John Sentamu stressed the importance of education, housing, communities and health. [111]

All parties suspended campaigning for a time in the wake of the Manchester Arena bombing on 22 May. [112] The SNP had been scheduled to release their manifesto for the election but this was delayed. [113] Campaigning resumed on 25 May. [114]

Major political parties also suspended campaigning for a second time on 4 June, following the London Bridge attack. [115] UKIP chose to continue campaigning. [116] There were unsuccessful calls for polling day to be postponed. [116]



The UK's withdrawal from the European Union was expected to be a key issue in the campaign, [117] but featured less than expected. [118] May said she called the snap election to secure a majority for her Brexit negotiations. [119] UKIP supported a "clean, quick and efficient Brexit" and, launching his party's election campaign, Nuttall stated that Brexit was a "job half done" and UKIP MPs were needed to "see this through to the end". [120]

Labour had supported Brexit in the previous parliament - Corbyn did not vote against the triggering of Article 50. Corbyn's actions in the previous parliament therefore dispelled the doubts of Labour voters who had voted to leave the EU. [121] However, his vision for Brexit prioritised different plans for the UK outside the EU. He wanted to Britain to still maintain the benefits of the single market and the custom union. [122] The Liberal Democrats and Greens called for a deal to keep the UK in the single market and a second referendum on any deal proposed between the EU and the UK. [123] [124] [125]

The Conservative manifesto committed the party to leaving the single market and customs union, but sought a "deep and special partnership" through a comprehensive free trade and customs agreement. It proposed seeking to remain part of some EU programmes where it would "be reasonable that we make a contribution", staying as a signatory of the European Convention on Human Rights over the next parliament, and maintaining the Human Rights Act during Brexit negotiations. Parliament would be able to amend or repeal EU legislation once converted into UK law, and have a vote on the final agreement. [126]


Two major terrorist attacks took place during the election campaign, with parties arguing about the best way to prevent such events. [127] [128] [129] May, after the second attack, focused on global co-operation to tackle Islamist ideology and tackling the use of the internet by terrorist groups. [130] [ failed verification ] [131] After the first attack, Labour criticised cuts in police numbers under the Conservative government. [132] Corbyn also linked the Manchester attack to British foreign policy. [128] The Conservatives stated that spending on counter-terrorism for both the police and other agencies had risen. [133]

Former Conservative strategist Steve Hilton said Theresa May should be "resigning not seeking re-election", because her police cuts and security failures had led to the attacks. [134] [135] Corbyn backed calls for May to resign, but said she should be removed by voters. [136] May said that police budgets for counter-terrorism had been maintained and that Corbyn had voted against counter-terrorism legislation. [137]

The Conservative manifesto proposed more government control and regulation of the Internet, including forcing Internet companies to restrict access to extremist and adult content. [138] [139] Following the London attack, Theresa May called for international agreements to regulate the internet. [140] The Conservative stance on regulation of the internet and social media was criticised by Farron and the Open Rights Group. [141] [142]

On 6 June, May promised longer prison sentences for people convicted of terrorism and restrictions on the freedom of movement or deportation of militant suspects when it is thought they present a threat but there is not enough evidence to prosecute them, stating that she would change human rights laws to do so if necessary. [143] [144]

The UK's nuclear weapons, including the renewal of the Trident system, also featured in the campaign. [145] The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats favoured Trident renewal. [146] Labour's manifesto committed to Trident renewal; Corbyn confirmed renewal would take place under Labour, but declined to explicitly speak in favour. [145] He also declined to answer whether as prime minister he would use nuclear weapons if the UK was under imminent nuclear threat. [147]

Social care

Social care became a major election issue after the Conservative Party's manifesto included new proposals, which were subsequently altered after criticism. [148] [149] [150] The previous coalition government had commissioned a review by Andrew Dilnot into how to fund social care. [151] Measures that were seen to disadvantage pensioners were also in the Conservative manifesto: eliminating the pension triple lock and Winter Fuel Payments for all pensioners. After the election, journalist Tim Shipman argued that social care was the single issue that cost May her majority. [152]

Scottish independence and the future of the UK

The question of a proposed Scottish independence referendum was also thought likely to influence the campaign in Scotland. On 28 March 2017, the Scottish Parliament approved a motion requesting that Westminster pass a Section 30 order giving the Parliament the authority to hold a second independence referendum, [153] suggesting that there had been a "material change of circumstances" since the independence referendum in 2014 as a result of Britain's vote to leave the EU and Scotland's vote to remain. [154] The SNP hoped to hold a second independence referendum once the Brexit terms a were clear but before Britain left the EU; May said her government would not approve an independence referendum before Brexit negotiations had finished. [155] After the final results were announced the SNP had lost 13% of the Scottish vote and one third of their seats - leading Sturgeon to conclude that, "Undoubtedly the issue of an independence referendum was a factor in this election result, but I think there were other factors as well". [156]

University tuition fees

Labour was thought to have attracted a significant number of student voters with its pledge to abolish tuition fees, which stands at £9,250 a year in England, and bring back student grants. [157]

Possible coalitions

Although Labour and the Liberal Democrats both rejected election pacts with each other and with the Greens and the SNP, and although the Liberal Democrats ruled out a coalition deal with the Conservatives, the Conservatives campaigned on the proposition that such deals might nevertheless occur, using the phrase "coalition of chaos". [93] [158] Similar messages against a potential Lib–Lab pact were credited with securing a Conservative win in the 1992 and 2015 elections. [159] On 19 April, May warned against a Labour–SNP–Lib Dem pact that would "divide our country". [160] After the hung result led the Conservatives to seek DUP support for a minority government, this rhetoric was mocked by opponents. [161]

Party campaigns


May launched the Conservative campaign with a focus on Brexit, lower domestic taxes and avoiding a Labour–SNP-Lib Dem "coalition of chaos", but she refused to commit not to raise taxes. [162] [160] [163] On 30 April, May stated that it was her intention to lower taxes if the Conservatives won the general election, but only explicitly ruled out raising VAT. [164] May reiterated her commitment to spending 0.7% of GNI on foreign aid. [165]

May hired Lynton Crosby, the campaign manager for the Conservatives in the 2015 general election, as well as former President of the United States Barack Obama's 2012 campaign manager, Jim Messina. [166] [167] The Conservative campaign was noted for the use of targeted adverts on social media, in particular attacking Corbyn. [168] The repeated use of the phrase "strong and stable" in the Conservatives' campaigning attracted attention and criticism. [169] Some expressed concern that the party may have restricted media access to the prime minister. [170] [171] [172] While some speculated that an investigation into campaign spending by the Conservatives in the 2015 general election was a factor behind the snap election, [173] [174] on 10 May the Crown Prosecution Service said that despite evidence of inaccurate spending returns, no further action was required. [175]

On 7 May the Conservatives promised to replace the 1983 Mental Health Act, to employ an additional 10,000 NHS mental health workers by 2020 and to tackle discrimination against those with mental health problems. [176] May indicated that the Conservatives would maintain their net immigration target, and promised to implement a cap on "rip-off energy prices", [177] [178] a policy that appeared in Labour's 2015 manifesto. [179] May indicated she would permit a free vote among Conservative MPs on repealing the ban on fox hunting in England and Wales. [180] On 11 May the Conservatives promised above-inflation increases in defence spending alongside its NATO commitment to spend at least 2% of GDP on defence. [181]

In a speech in Tynemouth the next day, May said Labour had "deserted" working-class voters, criticised Labour's policy proposals and said Britain's future depended on making a success of Brexit. [182] On 14 May the Conservatives proposed a "new generation" of social housing, paid from the existing capital budget, offering funding to local authorities and changing compulsory purchase rules. [183] The following day May promised "a new deal for workers" that would maintain workers' rights currently protected by the EU after Brexit, put worker representation on company boards, introduce a statutory right to unpaid leave to care for a relative and increase the National Living Wage in line with average earnings until 2022. [184] The proposals were characterised as an "unabashed pitch for Labour voters"; however Labour and the GMB trade union criticised the government's past record on workers' rights. [184]

Unveiling the Conservative manifesto in Halifax on 18 May, May promised a "mainstream government that would deliver for mainstream Britain". [185] It proposed to balance the budget by 2025, raise spending on the NHS by £8bn per year and on schools by £4bn per year by 2022, remove the ban on grammar schools, means-test the winter fuel allowance, replace the state pension "triple lock" with a "double lock" and require executive pay to be approved by a vote of shareholders. [185] It dropped the 2015 pledge to not raise income tax or national insurance contributions but maintained a commitment to freeze VAT. [185] New sovereign wealth funds for infrastructure, rules to prevent foreign takeovers of "critical national infrastructure" and institutes of technology were also proposed. [186] The manifesto was noted for its intervention in industry, lack of tax cuts and increased spending commitments on public services. [187] On Brexit it committed to leaving the single market and customs union while seeking a "deep and special partnership" and promised a vote in parliament on the final agreement. [126] The manifesto was noted for containing similar policies to those found in Labour's 2015 general election manifesto. [188]

The manifesto also proposed reforms to social care in England that would raise the threshold for free care from £23,250 to £100,000, while including property in the means test and permitting deferred payment after death. [185] After attracting substantial media attention, four days after the manifesto launch, May stated that the proposed social care reforms would now include an "absolute limit" on costs in contrast to the rejection of a cap in the manifesto. [189] She criticised the "fake" portrayal of the policy in recent days by Labour and other critics, who had termed it a "dementia tax". [189] Evening Standard editor and former Conservative Chancellor George Osborne called the policy change a "U-turn". [190]

The Conservative Party manifesto at the 2017 general election proposed repealing the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011. [191]


Corbyn launched the Labour campaign focusing on public spending, and argued that services were being underfunded, particularly education. [162] Labour's shadow Brexit secretary, Keir Starmer, stated that the party would replace the existing Brexit white paper with new negotiating priorities that emphasise the benefits of the single market and customs union, that the residence rights of EU nationals would be guaranteed and that the principle of free movement would have to end. [192] [193] Corbyn emphasised Labour's support for a "jobs-first Brexit" that "safeguards the future of Britain's vital industries". [194]

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn launching the party's general election campaign on 9 May 2017 in Manchester. Jeremy Corbyn speaking at the Labour Party General Election Launch 2017.jpg
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn launching the party's general election campaign on 9 May 2017 in Manchester.

Labour proposed the creation of four new bank holidays, marking the feast days of the patron saints of the United Kingdom's constituent nations. [195] On 27 April the party pledged to build 1 million new homes over five years. [196] Labour's proposal to employ 10,000 new police officers was overshadowed when Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott cited incorrect figures in a widely publicised gaffe in an LBC interview on 2 May on how it would be funded. [197] [198] Labour later stated that the £300 million cost would be funded by reversing cuts to capital gains taxes, although it was noted that the party had also pledged some of those savings towards other expenditure plans. [199]

On 7 May, Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell ruled out rises in VAT and in income tax and employee national insurance contributions for those with earnings below £80,000 per year. [200] The following day Labour outlined plans to ban junk food TV adverts and parking charges at NHS hospitals. [201] [202] Labour promised an additional £4.8 billion for education, funded by raising corporation tax from 19% to 26%. [203]

A draft copy of Labour's manifesto was leaked to the Daily Mirror and The Daily Telegraph on 10 May. [204] It included pledges to renationalise the National Grid, railways, and the Royal Mail and create publicly owned energy companies. The draft was noted for including commitments to workers' rights, a ban on fracking, and the abolition of university tuition fees in England. [204] The draft manifesto included a commitment to the Trident nuclear deterrent, but suggested a future government would be "extremely cautious" about using it. [205] The next day Labour's Clause V meeting endorsed the manifesto after amendments from shadow cabinet members and trade unions present. [206]

In a speech at Chatham House on 12 May, Corbyn set out his foreign policy, saying he would reshape Britain's foreign relations, avoid the use of nuclear weapons, and while Labour supported Trident renewal he would initiate a defence review in government. [207] Corbyn stated that he would halt all weapons sales from the UK to Saudi Arabia citing the violations of human rights in the Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen. [208] After the 2017 London Bridge attack, Corbyn said that a conversation should take place "with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states that have funded and fuelled extremist ideology". [209]

On 14 May, Labour revealed plans to extend stamp duty by introducing a financial transactions tax, which McDonnell claimed would raise up to £5.6bn per year. [210] The next day Corbyn set out plans to spend £37bn on the NHS in England over a five-year parliament, including £10bn on IT upgrades and building repairs. [211]

Launching its manifesto officially on 16 May, Labour revealed it would nationalise the water industry, provide 30 hours per week of free childcare for two- to four-year-olds, charge companies a levy on annual earnings above £330,000, lower the 45p income tax rate threshold to £80,000 per year, and reintroduce the 50p tax rate for those earning more than £123,000 per year. [212] [213] Labour said it would raise an additional £48.6bn in tax revenue per year and insisted its policies were fully costed, though it was noted no costings were provided for its nationalisation pledges. [214] [215] Compared to the leaked draft, the manifesto was noted for toughening Labour's position on defence and Trident, confirming that outside the EU free movement would have to end, qualifying support for airport expansion, and clarifying the party's stance on Israel-Palestine, as well as other changes. [216] After initial confusion, Labour clarified it would not reverse the government's freeze on most working-age benefits. [217] [218]

In an interview following the manifesto launch, Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said victory for Labour in the general election would be "extraordinary" and that winning just 200 seats (compared to 229 seats held at the time) would be a "successful" result; the following morning he clarified he was now "optimistic" about Labour's chances. [219] [220]


The SNP, keen to maintain its position as the third-largest party in the House of Commons, made the need to protect Scotland's interests in the Brexit negotiations a central part of its campaign. [221] The SNP manifesto called for a vote on independence to be held "at the end of the Brexit process", set out "anti-austerity" plans to invest £118bn in UK public services over the next five years, pledged to increase the minimum wage to £10 an hour and called for Scotland to have control over immigration and to remain in the EU single market after Brexit. [222] With the polls closing, Nicola Sturgeon told the Today programme that the SNP could support a Labour government "on an issue-by-issue basis" in the event of a hung parliament and she would be open to forming a "progressive alternative to a Conservative government". [223]

Liberal Democrats

Central themes of the Liberal Democrat campaign were an offer of a referendum on any eventual Brexit deal and a desire for the UK to stay in the single market. [224] The party reportedly targeted seats which had voted to remain in the EU, such as Twickenham, Oxford West and Abingdon, and Vauxhall. [225] [226] Bob Marshall-Andrews, a Labour MP from 1997 to 2010, announced he would support the Liberal Democrats. [227]

The party reported a surge in membership after the election was called, passing 100,000 on 24 April, having grown by 12,500 in the preceding week. [228] The party also reported raising £500,000 in donations in the first 48 hours after May's announcement of an early election. [229]

An early issue raised in the campaign was Tim Farron's views, as a Christian, regarding gay sex and LGBT rights. After declining to state whether he thought gay sex was a sin, Farron affirmed that he believed neither being gay nor having gay sex are sinful. [230]

The party proposed raising income tax by 1p to fund the NHS and maintaining the triple-lock on the state pension. [231] [232] The Liberal Democrats also promised an additional £7 billion to protect per-pupil funding in education; they said it would be partly funded by remaining in the EU single market. [203] The party pledged on 11 May to accept 50,000 refugees from Syria over five years, with Farron saying that the £4.3 billion costs would over time be repaid in taxes by those refugees that settle in Britain. [233]

On 12 May the party revealed plans to legalise cannabis and extend paid paternity leave. [234] Farron proposed financial incentives for graduates joining the armed forces and committed to NATO's 2% of GDP defence spending target. [235] The next day the Liberal Democrats promised to end the cap on public-sector pay increases and repeal the Investigatory Powers Act. [236] [237] On 16 May the Liberal Democrats proposed an entrepreneurs' allowance, to review business rates and to increase access to credit. [238]

Policies emphasised during their manifesto launch on 17 May included a second referendum on a Brexit deal with the option to remain a member of the EU, discounted bus passes for 16- to 21-year-olds, the reinstatement of Housing Benefit for 18- to 21-year-olds, a £3bn plan to build 300,000 new houses a year by 2022 and support for renters to build up equity in their rented properties. [239]


Paul Nuttall announced that UKIP's manifesto would seek to ban the burqa, outlaw sharia law, impose a temporary moratorium on new Islamic schools and require annual checks against female genital mutilation (FGM) for high-risk girls. [240] [241] In response to the proposed burqa ban UKIP's foreign affairs spokesperson James Carver resigned, labelling the policy "misguided". [242]

Despite losing all 145 of the seats it was defending in the 2017 local elections (but gaining one from Labour in Burnley), Nuttall insisted voters would return to UKIP in the general election. [243] On 8 May UKIP proposed a net migration target of zero within five years. [244]

Television debates

← 2015 debates 2017 2019 debates →

Within hours of the election being announced, Corbyn, Farron and Sturgeon called for televised debates. [245] The Prime Minister's office initially opposed the idea. [246] On 19 April, the BBC and ITV announced they planned to host leaders' debates, as they had done in the 2010 and 2015 elections, whether or not May took part. [247] Labour subsequently ruled out Corbyn taking part in television debates without May. [248]

Broadcaster Andrew Neil separately interviewed the party leaders in The Andrew Neil Interviews on BBC One, starting on 22 May with Theresa May. [249] The Manchester Arena bombing led to interviews with Nuttall, Farron, Sturgeon and Corbyn to be rescheduled. [250] ITV Tonight also ran a series of programmes with the major party leaders. [251]

Sky News and Channel 4 hosted an election programme on 29 May where May and Corbyn were individually interviewed by Jeremy Paxman after taking questions from a studio audience. [252] [253] The BBC held two debates to which all seven main party leaders were invited, on 31 May in Cambridge and 6 June in Manchester; both May and Corbyn stated they would not attend the 31 May debate. May said that she had already debated Corbyn many times in parliament, and that she would be meeting the public instead. [254] Corbyn announced on the day that he would attend the debate in Cambridge, calling on May to do the same. [255] Instead Amber Rudd appeared for the Conservatives.

The BBC hosted separate debates for the English regions, and for both Scotland and Wales, and also a Question Time special with May and Corbyn separately answering questions from voters on 2 June, chaired by David Dimbleby. Sturgeon and Farron were expected to do the same on 4 June, but after the 2017 London Bridge attack it was rescheduled to 5 June and instead presented by Nick Robinson.[ citation needed ] The BBC also hosted two back-to-back episodes of a special election programme titled Election Questions on 4 June, the first in Bristol with Green Party co-leader Jonathan Bartley followed by Nuttall, and the second in Swansea with Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood. The party leaders were individually questioned by a studio audience. [256] [257]

STV planned to host a live TV debate in Glasgow with four Scottish party leaders on 24 May, [258] but it was postponed, owing to the Manchester Arena bombing. The debate was rescheduled for Tuesday 6 June. [259]

United Kingdom general election debates, 2017 [260] [261]
DateOrganisersVenueInvitees P Present   S Surrogate   NI Non-invitee  A Absent invitee 
Cons. Labour SNP Lib. Dem. Plaid Cymru Green UKIP
16 May ITV Wales Cardiff Welsh leadersP
18 May ITV dock10 studios, Manchester National leadersAAP
21 May BBC Scotland Edinburgh Scottish leadersP
29 May Sky News
Channel 4
Sky Studios, Isleworth, London National leadersP
30 May BBC Wales Cardiff Welsh leadersS
30 May BBC English Regions [262] VariousEnglish regionalP
31 May BBC Senate House, Cambridge National leadersS
2 June BBC
(Question Time)
University of York, York National leadersP
4 June BBC
(Election Questions)
Bristol and Swansea National leadersNINININIP
5 June BBC
(Question Time)
Edinburgh National leadersNINIP
5 June [263] UTV Belfast Northern Ireland Nigel Dodds (DUP), Michelle O'Neill (SF), Robin Swann (UUP), Colum Eastwood (SDLP) and Naomi Long (APNI)
6 June [259] STV Glasgow Scottish leadersP
6 June BBC Newsbeat [264] Manchester National leadersS
Fflur Elin
6 June BBC Belfast Northern Ireland leaders Jeffrey Donaldson (DUP), John O'Dowd (SF), Robin Swann (UUP), Colum Eastwood (SDLP) and Naomi Long (APNI)

Campaign costs

In the 12 months leading up to the election, the Conservatives spent £18.5m, Labour spent £11m and the Liberal Democrats spent £6.8m. [265]


Newspapers, organisations and individuals endorsed parties or individual candidates for the election. For example, the main national newspapers gave the following endorsements:

National daily newspapers

NewspapersEndorsementNotes2017 circulation (June) [266] Link
Daily Express Conservative Party 386,297 [267]
Daily Mail Conservative Party 1,454,073 [268]
Daily Mirror Labour Party On election day, urged its readers to vote for whoever would beat the Conservatives in their constituency. [266] 687,000 [269]
Daily Star None437,949 [266]
The Daily Telegraph Conservative Party 467,601 [270]
Financial Times Conservative Party 58,600 (UK circ.) [271]
The Guardian Labour Party Prioritised tactical voting against the Conservatives, including votes for Liberal Democrats and Greens.154,010 [272]
Various (Scotland)In Scotland: supported opposition to the Conservatives, either SNP or Labour.[A percentage of circulation statistic above] [273]
i None263,826 [274]
The Independent NoneBacked Labour's Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union Keir Starmer to negotiate Brexit. Supported unionist candidates in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.N/A [275] [276]
Metro None1,480,110 [277]
The Sun Conservative Party 1,617,152[ citation needed ]
The Times Conservative Party 445,737 [278]

National Sunday newspapers

The Conservative Party were endorsed by 80% of UK national Sunday newspaper market. [279]

NewspaperEndorsementNotes2017 circulation (Jan.) [280] Link
The Mail on Sunday Conservative Party 1,257,984 [281]
The Observer NoneEndorsed voting against the Conservatives and for candidates opposing austerity and a hard Brexit.185,752 [282]
Sunday Express Conservative Party 335,772 [283]
Sunday Mirror Labour Party 629,277 [284]
The Sunday People NoneEndorsed tactical voting against the Conservatives.240,846 [285]
The Sun on Sunday Conservative Party 1,375,539 [281]
The Sunday Telegraph Conservative Party 359,400 [286]
The Sunday Times Conservative Party 792,324 [287]

Media coverage

In contrast to the 2015 general election, in which smaller parties received more media coverage than usual, coverage during the 2017 election focused on the two main political parties, Labour and the Conservatives [288] (84% of the politicians featured in newspapers, and 67% on TV, were Conservative or Labour), with Conservatives sources receiving the most coverage and quotation, particularly in the print media (the margin of difference between Conservative and Labour sources was 2.1 points on TV and 9.6 points in newspapers). [289] The five most prominent politicians were Theresa May (Cons) (30.1% of news appearanced), Jeremy Corbyn (Lab) (26.7%), Tim Farron (Lib Dem) (6.8%), Nicola Sturgeon (SNP) (3.7%), and Boris Johnson (Cons) (3.6%). [289] The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) received next to no coverage during the campaign [288] (0.4% of appearances) but were prominent in coverage after the election. [289]

Newspapers were partisan in their coverage and generally took an attacking editorial line, providing negative coverage of one or more parties they opposed rather than advocating for the party they endorsed, [289] with Labour receiving the most negative coverage. [289] [290] Mick Temple, professor of Journalism and Politics at Staffordshire University, characterised the negativity Corbyn and Labour received during this election as more hostile than that which Ed Miliband and Labour received during the 2015 general election. [291] Jeremy Corbyn was portrayed as a coward, [292] and he and his closest allies were accused of being terrorist sympathizers. [293] [288] [294] [295] [292] During the election period, BBC Question Time host David Dimbleby said Jeremy Corbyn had not had 'a fair deal at the hands of the press' and that he was more popular than the media made him out to be. [296] An exception, when the Conservative Party received more negative coverage than Labour, was during the third week of the campaign, when the Conservatives released their manifesto, proposed a controversial social welfare policy (which became known as the "dementia tax") and subsequently made a U-turn on the proposal. [289] When newspaper circulation size is accounted for, the Conservative Party was the only party to receive a positive evaluation overall from the press. [289] It was endorsed by newspapers that had an 80% share of the national Sunday press audience (the five Sunday newspapers endorsing the Conservatives had a daily circulation of more than 4 million) [281] and 57% of the national daily press [297] (a combined circulation of 4,429,460 [266] ).

One national Sunday newspaper (the Sunday Mirror ), endorsed Labour, with two others endorsing tactical voting against the Conservative (these three titles, with a daily circulation of under 1 million, had a share of 20% of the Sunday press audience), [281] and 11% of the national daily press [297] (namely, The Guardian and the Daily Mirror ; a combined circulation of 841,010 [266] ). On this metric, 'Conservative partisanship was the most salient voice in the British national press'. [295] When newspapers' articles were measured by their positivity and negativity towards and against the parties running in the election, The Sun , The Daily Telegraph , the Daily Express and the Daily Mail provided support for the Conservatives and The Guardian and the Daily Mirror provided support for the Labour party. [289] However, few Guardian or Mirror election-related editorials called for a vote for Labour, and even fewer endorsed Corbyn – many articles in left-wing papers criticised him, or he was ignored. [295] While the collective voice of the right-wing papers were (four times) stronger in their support for the Conservatives than the left-wing were of Labour, on the whole they were similar to the left in their negativity towards, or avoidance of, the leader of their endorsed party. [295] Only the Daily Express gave Theresa May unreserved support. [295] After the election, the press turned on Theresa May, [298] who had run on a campaign that platformed her as a 'strong and stable' leader, and they described her as 'weak and wobbly', 'robotic', the 'zombie prime minister', and a 'dead woman walking'. [299]

Broadcast media, by giving airtime directly to Jeremy Corbyn and his policy ideas, was seen as playing a significant role during the election in presenting him as someone less frightening that the newspapers had presented him and more engaging than Theresa May. [300] [301] [302] [303] [304] The BBC has been criticised for its coverage during the election campaign. For example, right-wing papers The Sun and the Daily Mail complained that the audience at the BBC run leaders' debate was pro-Corbyn, and the Daily Mail asked why the topic of immigration, one of the Conservatives favoured issues, was barely mentioned; and right-wing websites Breitbart London and Westmonster said BBC coverage on Brexit was pro-EU. [305] Left-wing websites, like The Canary, The Skwawkbox and Another Angry Voice complained that the BBC was pro-Tory and anti-Corbyn. [305] According to analysts, a bias was evident during Jeremy Paxman's leaders debates, with 54% of airtime devoted to Conservative issues and 31% to Labour's. [297] In an episode of Have I Got News for You aired during the campaign period, Ian Hislop, editor of Private Eye , suggested the BBC was biased in favour of the Conservatives. [306] The BBC's political editor Laura Kuenssberg particularly received criticism for her election coverage. [305] During the election the BBC circulated a 2015 report of Kuenssberg's (on Corbyn's views on 'shoot to kill' policy) that had been censured by the BBC Trust for its misleading editing; on the final day of the election the BBC acknowledged that the clip was subject to a complaint that had been upheld by the Trust. [297]

As during the 2015 election, although less than then (−12.5%), most media coverage (32.9%) was given to the workings of the electoral process itself (e.g., electoral events, opinion polls, 'horse race' coverage, campaign mishaps). [289] During the first two weeks of campaigning, members of the public, interviewed in vox pops, [307] made up a fifth to almost a half of all sources in broadcast news. [288] While in the first two weeks of the election period policy made up less than half of all broadcast coverage, [288] over the whole campaign policy received more coverage in all media than during the previous election, [289] particularly after manifestos were published in the third week, when close to eight in ten broadcast news items were primarily about policy issues. [288] Policy around Brexit and the EU receiving most coverage overall (10.9%), and national events that happened during the campaign period (namely, the terrorist attacks on Manchester Arena and in the area of London Bridge), along with controversies over Trident, brought policy issues around defence and security to the fore (7.2%). [289] [308] [309]

From the start of the campaign, commentators predicted a landslide victory for the Conservatives. [310] [288] [311] After the results were in and the Conservatives had won by a much smaller margin, on air Channel 4's Jon Snow said, "I know nothing, we the media, the pundits and experts, know nothing". [288] A number of newspaper columnists expressed similar sentiments. [312] Some analysts and commentators have suggested the gap between the newspapers' strong support, and the public's marginal support, for the Conservatives in this election indicates a decline in the influence of print media, and/or that in 2017's election social media played a decisive role (perhaps being the first election in which this was the case [308] [313] ). [314] [298] [299] [291] [315] [309] [316] [317] [318] Some website and blog content, like that produced by The Canary and Another Angry Voice, gained as much traffic as many mainstream media articles [318] [303] and went more viral than mainstream political journalism. [298] [305] The London Economic had the most shared election-related article online during the campaign. [319] Others urge caution, [294] stressing that the traditional press still have an importance influence on how people vote. [320] [294] [310] In a YouGov poll, 42% of the general public said that TV was most influential in helping them choose, or confirming their choice in, whom to vote for; 32% said newspapers and magazines; 26%, social media; and 25%, radio. [321] 58% of people surveyed also thought that the social media had diminished the influence of newspapers. [321]

Politicians not standing

Members of Parliament who did not stand for re-election

MPSeatFirst electedPartyDate announced
Graham Allen Nottingham North 1987 Labour 22 April 2017 [322]
Dave Anderson Blaydon 2005 Labour 20 April 2017 [323]
Tom Blenkinsop Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland 2010 Labour 18 April 2017 [324]
Andy Burnham Leigh 2001 Labour 19 April 2017 [325]
Sir Simon Burns Chelmsford 1987 Conservative 8 January 2016 [326]
Douglas Carswell Clacton 2005 Independent (UKIP in 2015)20 April 2017 [327]
Pat Doherty West Tyrone 2001 Sinn Féin 3 May 2017 [328]
Jim Dowd Lewisham West and Penge 1992 Labour 19 April 2017 [329]
Michael Dugher Barnsley East 2010 Labour 20 April 2017 [330]
Sir Edward Garnier Harborough 1992 Conservative 27 April 2017 [331]
Pat Glass North West Durham 2010 Labour 28 June 2016 [332]
Sir Alan Haselhurst Saffron Walden 1970 (Middleton and Prestwich) Conservative 25 April 2017 [333]
Sir Gerald Howarth Aldershot 1983 (Cannock and Burntwood) Conservative 20 April 2017 [334]
Alan Johnson Hull West and Hessle 1997 Labour 18 April 2017 [335]
Peter Lilley Hitchin and Harpenden 1983 (St Albans) Conservative 26 April 2017 [336]
Karen Lumley Redditch 2010 Conservative 28 April 2017 [337]
David Mackintosh Northampton South 2015 Conservative 27 April 2017 [338]
Fiona Mactaggart Slough 1997 Labour 20 April 2017 [339]
Rob Marris Wolverhampton South West 2001 Labour 19 April 2017 [340]
Natalie McGarry Glasgow East 2015 Independent (SNP in 2015)25 April 2017 [341]
George Osborne Tatton 2001 Conservative 19 April 2017 [342]
Sir Eric Pickles Brentwood and Ongar 1992 Conservative 22 April 2017 [343]
John Pugh Southport 2001 Liberal Democrats 19 April 2017 [344]
Steve Rotheram Liverpool Walton 2010 Labour 7 May 2017 [69]
Andrew Smith Oxford East 1987 Labour 19 April 2017 [345]
Gisela Stuart Birmingham Edgbaston 1997 Labour 19 April 2017 [346]
Michelle Thomson Edinburgh West 2015 Independent (SNP in 2015)22 April 2017 [347]
Andrew Turner Isle of Wight 2001 Conservative 28 April 2017 [348]
Andrew Tyrie Chichester 1997 Conservative 25 April 2017 [349]
Dame Angela Watkinson Hornchurch and Upminster 2001 Conservative 19 April 2017 [350]
Iain Wright Hartlepool 2004 Labour 19 April 2017 [351]

Other politicians

Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage announced that he would not stand, saying he could be more effective as an MEP. [352] UKIP major donor Arron Banks, who had earlier indicated his intention to stand in Clacton to defeat Douglas Carswell, withdrew in favour of the UKIP candidate after Carswell announced he would be standing down. [353]

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood chose not to contest a Westminster seat, nor did former Labour MP and shadow chancellor Ed Balls. [354] [355]

Opinion polling and seat projections

In the 2015 general election, polling companies underestimated the Conservative Party vote and overestimated the Labour Party vote [356] and so failed to predict the result accurately. [357] Afterwards they started making changes to polling practices; recommendations from a review by the British Polling Council are likely to result in further changes. [358] Almost all polls and predictions were for seats in Great Britain only, with Northern Irish parties being either absent from the totals or counted as "other". The Spreadex columns below cover bets on the number of seats each party will win with the midpoint between asking and selling price.

Great Britain opinion polling for the 2017 election; moving average is calculated from the last ten polls. Final point is actual result.
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Liberal Democrats
Greens Opinion polling UK 2020 election short axis.png
Great Britain opinion polling for the 2017 election; moving average is calculated from the last ten polls. Final point is actual result.
  Liberal Democrats

Predictions three weeks before the vote

The first-past-the-post system used in UK general elections means that the number of seats won is not directly related to vote share. Thus, several approaches are used to convert polling data and other information into seat predictions. The table below lists some of the predictions.

Forecast [359]
as of 15 May 2017
Calculus [360]
as of 20 May 2017
Ashcroft [361]
as of 12 May 2017
Etc. [362]
as of 12 May 2017
Spreadex [363]

as of 17 May 2017

Labour Party 155185152–164170161
SNP 544745–484944.5
Liberal Democrats 658–141316
Plaid Cymru 234–53N/A
Green Party 11111.5
UKIP 00000.5
Others1 [n 9] 18 [n 10] 19N/AN/A
Overall result (probability)Conservative

Predictions two weeks before the vote

Forecast [364]
as of 26 May 2017
Calculus [365]
as of 28 May 2017
Ashcroft [366]
as of 26 May 2017
Etc. [367]
as of 26 May 2017
Statesman [368]
as of 26 May 2017
Labour Party 212196180188199
SNP 4549475055
Liberal Democrats 826105
Plaid Cymru 2123
Green Party 0101
UKIP 0000
Others1 [n 9] 18 [n 10] 19
Overall result (probability)Conservative

Predictions one week before the vote

Forecast [369]
as of 1 June 2017
Calculus [370]
as of 31 May 2017
as of 31 May 2017
YouGov [372]
as of 1 June 2017
Britain Elects [373]
as of 1 June 2017
Spreadex [374]

as of 31 May 2017

Labour Party 195208209253206200
SNP 465054474746.5
Liberal Democrats 73791113.5
Plaid Cymru 2234
Green Party 11111.25
UKIP 10000.5
Others1 [n 9] 18 [n 10] 219
Overall result (probability)Conservative

Predictions on polling day

The UK's first-past-the-post electoral system means that national shares of the vote do not give an exact indicator of how the various parties will be represented in Parliament. Different commentators and pollsters currently provide a number of predictions, based on polls and other data, as to how the parties will be represented in Parliament:

Forecast [369]
as of 8 June 2017
Calculus [375]
as of 8 June 2017
Ashcroft [366]
as of 8 June 2017 [376]
Etc. [377]
as of 8 June 2017
as of 8 June 2017
YouGov [379]
as of 8 June 2017
Britain Elects [380]
as of 8 June 2017
Spreadex [381]

as of 8 June 2017

Labour Party 232207218217214227269219201
SNP 564649444754444346.5
Liberal Democrats 873591012911.5
Plaid Cymru 3331323
Green Party 11101111
UKIP 11000000
Others191 [382] 192019
Overall resultConservative
majority of 10
majority of 82
majority of 66
majority of 64
majority of 66
majority of 24

(Con 24 seats short)
majority of 62
majority of 86

Exit poll

An exit poll, conducted by GfK and Ipsos MORI on behalf of the BBC, ITV and Sky News, was published at the end of voting at 10 pm, predicting the number of seats for each party, with the Conservatives being the largest party, but short of an overall majority: [388] Actual results were close to the prediction.

Conservative Party 314Decrease2.svg 17
Labour Party 266Increase2.svg 34
Scottish National Party 34Decrease2.svg 22
Liberal Democrats 14Increase2.svg 6
Plaid Cymru 3Steady2.svg
Green Party 1Steady2.svg
UKIP 0Decrease2.svg 1
Conservatives 12 short of a majority


Labour-->85% Vote share percentage for individual constituencies..png

Results for all constituencies except Kensington were reported by the morning after the election. The Conservatives remained the largest single party in terms of seats and votes, but were short of a parliamentary majority. The Conservatives won 317 seats with 42.4% of the vote while the Labour Party won 262 seats with 40.0% of the vote. The election resulted in the third hung parliament since the Second World War, elections in February 1974 and 2010 having previously resulted in hung parliaments. YouGov correctly predicted a hung parliament after employing "controversial" methodology. [389] [390] [391]

Twenty-nine seats that had changed parties at the 2015 election changed parties again in 2017. Nineteen of these seats returned the candidate from the party that had held the seat in 2010. A third party took ten of these seats: nine were Conservative gains from the SNP in seats that the SNP had won from Labour in 2015, whilst Portsmouth South, which the Conservatives had gained from the Lib Dems in 2015, was then gained by Labour in 2017.

In England, Labour made a net gain of 21 seats, taking 25 constituencies from the Conservatives and two from the Liberal Democrats. Its gains were predominantly in university towns and cities and in London, most notably achieving victories in Battersea, Canterbury, Kensington and Ipswich from the Conservatives by narrow margins; [392] it also lost five seats to the Conservatives, largely in the Midlands, and did not regain Copeland which had been lost in a February by-election. [393] The Conservatives experienced a net loss of 22 seats, the first time since 1997 that the party suffered a net loss of seats. They gained Clacton from UKIP and Southport from the Liberal Democrats in addition to the six gains from Labour. The Liberal Democrats took five seats from the Conservatives, including Twickenham, won back by Vince Cable, and Kingston and Surbiton, won by Ed Davey, [394] but lost two seats to Labour: Leeds North West and Sheffield Hallam, the seat of former party leader Nick Clegg. Richmond Park, which the Liberal Democrats had won in a 2016 by-election, was narrowly lost to the Conservatives. Caroline Lucas remained the sole Green Party MP, retaining Brighton Pavilion.

In Scotland, the Conservatives, Labour, and the Liberal Democrats all gained seats from the SNP, whose losses were attributed to opposition to a second Scottish independence referendum, contributing to tactical voting for unionist parties. [395] [396] The Conservative Party placed second in Scotland for the first time since 1992, won its largest number of seats in Scotland since 1983 [397] and recorded its highest share of the vote there since 1979. With thirteen seats, the Scottish Conservatives became the largest unionist party in Scotland for the first time since 1955. Labour gained six seats from the SNP, while the Liberal Democrats gained three. Having won 56 of 59 Scottish seats at the last general election, the SNP lost a total of 21 seats, and majorities in its remaining seats were greatly reduced. [398] High-profile losses included SNP Commons leader Angus Robertson in Moray and former party leader and ex-First Minister Alex Salmond in Gordon. [399]

In Wales, Labour held 25 seats and gained Cardiff North, Gower and Vale of Clwyd from the Conservatives, leaving the Welsh Tories with eight seats. Plaid Cymru retained its three existing seats and gained Ceredigion, the Liberal Democrats' only seat in Wales. [400] This was the first ever election at which the Liberal Democrats or one of their ancestral parties failed to win a seat in Wales.

In Northern Ireland, the SDLP lost its three seats (Foyle and South Down to Sinn Féin and Belfast South to the DUP), while the UUP lost its two seats (Fermanagh and South Tyrone to Sinn Féin and South Antrim to the DUP). With the Alliance Party failing to win any seats or regain Belfast East, this left the DUP with ten seats (up from eight) and Sinn Féin with seven (up from four); independent unionist Sylvia Hermon retained North Down. [401] Recording its best result since partition, Sinn Féin confirmed it would continue its abstentionist policy, leaving no nationalist representation in the House of Commons. [402]

UKIP failed to win any seats, its vote share falling from 12.6% at the previous general election to just 1.8%; party leader Paul Nuttall came third in Boston and Skegness. The Greens' vote share dropped from 3.8% to 1.6%.


The result was noted for increased vote shares for Labour (up 9.6 percentage points) and the Conservatives (up 5.5 percentage points), with a combined 82.4% share of the vote, up from 67.3% in 2015. The highest combined share of the vote for the two main parties since 1970, it was suggested this indicated a return to two-party politics [5] caused by tactical voting [403] which led to the Conservatives having a smaller share of seats despite an increased number of votes. The election was characterised by higher turnout, particularly among younger voters, which may have contributed to Labour's increased vote share. [404] [405] Research company Ipsos MORI considered age to be one of the most significant factors behind the result; compared to the 2015 general election, under-45s tended to opt more for Labour and over-54s for the Conservatives. [405] It found 60% of those aged 18–24 voted Labour while 61% of over-64s voted Conservative. [405] The swing to Labour was high in those seats with large numbers of young people. [406] In seats where the Remain vote was strong there was also evidence of tactical voting against the Conservatives to stop a "hard Brexit", with many voters opting for the non-Conservative candidate with the best chance of winning. [407]

In terms of social grade, Labour increased its share of middle-class voters (defined as ABC1) by 12 percentage points compared to the previous election while the Conservatives increased their share of working-class voters (C2DE) by 12 percentage points. [405] Political scientist John Curtice found that the Conservatives tended to experience a greater increase in vote share in seats with a higher proportion of working-class voters, particularly those that voted Leave in the EU referendum. [406] Many of Labour's most successful results occurred in seats that voted Remain by a large margin in 2016. [406]

Compared to previous elections, turnout by private renters increased (from 51% in 2010 to 65%) and favoured Labour to a greater degree, with the party achieving a 23-point lead over the Conservatives among private renters; the Conservatives maintained a 14-point lead among homeowners. [408] In terms of education, YouGov found that a one-point lead for the Conservatives among university graduates in 2015 had flipped to a 17-point lead for Labour in 2017. [408] [409] For those with low educational qualifications, the Conservatives led by 22 points, up from 8 points in 2015. [408] [409]

It was suggested that UKIP's decline boosted both main parties, but tended to help Labour retain seats in the North of England and the Midlands against the Conservatives, though it may have also benefited the Conservatives in predominantly working-class seats. [404] [408] Ipsos Mori found that UKIP's collapse was consistent across all age groups. [405]

Published in August 2017, the British Election Study (BES), which surveyed 30,000 voters, found that despite a relatively low profile in the campaign, Brexit was considered to be the single most important issue facing the country by over a third of respondents. [410] It found more than half of UKIP voters in 2015 went to the Conservatives, while 18% went to Labour. [410] Remain voters tended to favour Labour, with the party particularly gaining among Remain voters who previously supported other parties, despite perceived uncertainty over its position on the single market. [410] There was a strong correlation between those who prioritised controlling immigration and the Conservatives, while the same was true for supporting single market access and those who opted for Labour or the Liberal Democrats. [410]

The BES study indicated the importance of the campaign period. A pre-election survey found 41% for the Conservatives and 27% for Labour, but by the election 19% of voters had switched party. [410] Unlike the previous election where both main parties achieved similar shares of late-switchers, Labour won 54% while the Conservatives won 19%. [410] Likeability of party leaders also narrowed over the course of the campaign. [410]

Newly elected MPs included Britain's first turbaned Sikh MP, Tan Dhesi, [411] the first woman Sikh MP, Preet Gill, [412] and the first MP of Palestinian descent, Layla Moran. [413]

A record number of woman and LGBT+ MPs were elected. [414] [415] 208 woman MPs were elected to Parliament; the first time more than 200 MPs were women and beating the previous high of 196 woman MPs in the last Parliament. [416] For the first time, a majority of MPs were educated at state comprehensive schools. [417] More MPs who are known to be disabled were elected in 2017 than in 2015. [418]

The results of the 2017 general election indicate the tilting of Britain's political axis, which reflects long-term trends. [419] Looking at information of constituency-level voting in England between 2005 and 2017, patterns of voting confirm the relevance of identifying new categories of social class alongside traditional political divides. [419] Labour has had increased appeal to voters who work in areas central to the modern British economy, and at the same time in larger metropolitan centres and economically dynamic university towns. [419] On the other hand, the Conservative voter base has been seen to increase in less populated, less ethnically diverse areas, where voters are more engaged in industries such as manufacturing. [419]



2017 UK parliament.svg

After all 650 constituencies had been declared, the results were: [420] [421]

2017 UK General Election Winner%25.svg
Of totalOf total
Conservative Party Theresa May 317
317 / 650
Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn 262
262 / 650
Scottish National Party Nicola Sturgeon 35
35 / 650
Liberal Democrats Tim Farron 12
12 / 650
Democratic Unionist Party Arlene Foster 10
10 / 650
Sinn Féin Gerry Adams 7
7 / 650
Plaid Cymru Leanne Wood 4
4 / 650
Green Party of England and Wales Jonathan Bartley
Caroline Lucas
1 / 650
Speaker John Bercow 1
1 / 650
Independent Sylvia Hermon 1
1 / 650

Full results

e    d  Results of the June 2017 House of Commons of the United Kingdom results
UK House of Commons 2017-06-26.svg
Political partyLeaderMPsVotes
Candidates [422] TotalGainedLostNetOf total (%)TotalOf total (%)Change (%)
Conservative [423] Theresa May 6383172033−1348.813,636,68442.3+5.5
Labour Jeremy Corbyn 631262366+3040.312,877,91840.0+9.6
Liberal Democrats Tim Farron 6291284+41.82,371,8617.4−0.5
SNP Nicola Sturgeon 5935021−215.4977,5683.0−1.7
UKIP Paul Nuttall 378001−10594,0681.8−10.8
Green Party of England and Wales Caroline Lucas and Jonathan Bartley 457 1 0000.2525,6651.6−2.0
DUP Arlene Foster 171020+21.5292,3160.9+0.3
Sinn Féin Gerry Adams 18730+31.1238,9150.7+0.1
Plaid Cymru Leanne Wood 40410+10.6164,4660.5−0.1
Independent 18710000.2151,4710.5+0.2
SDLP Colum Eastwood 18003−3095,4190.30.0
Ulster Unionist Robin Swann 14002−2083,2800.3−0.1
Alliance Naomi Long 180000064,5530.20.0
Speaker John Bercow 1 1 0000.234,2990.10.0
Yorkshire Stewart Arnold210000020,9580.1+0.1
National Health Action Dr Alex Ashman50000016,1190.1−0.1
CPA Sidney Cordle31000005,8690.00.0
People Before Profit Eamonn McCann2000005,5090.00.0
Ashfield Independents 1000004,6120.00.0
BNP Adam Walker 10000004,5800.00.0
Monster Raving Loony Alan Hope12000003,8900.00.0
Liberal Steve Radford4000003,6720.00.0
Women's Equality Sophie Walker7000003,5800.00.0
TUV Jim Allister 1000003,2820.0−0.1
North East Party Mary Cartwright1000002,3550.00.0
Pirate David A Elston10000002,3210.00.0
English Democrat Robin Tilbrook7000001,9130.00.0
Christian Jeff Green2000001,7200.00.0
Independent Save Withybush Save Lives1000001,2090.00.0
Socialist Labour Arthur Scargill 3000001,1540.00.0
Animal Welfare Vanessa Hudson4000009550.00.0
Justice & Anti-Corruption 2000008420.00.0
Southampton Independents1000008160.00.0
Workers Revolutionary Sheila Torrance5000007710.00.0
Workers' Party 2000007080.00.0
Something New 2000005520.00.0
Demos Direct Initiative Party1000005510.00.0
Libertarian Adam Brown4000005240.00.0
SDP Peter Johnson6000004690.00.0
Peace John Morris2000004680.00.0
Friends Party3000004350.00.0
Better for Bradford 1000004200.00.0
All other parties38000005,4470.00.0

Seats, of total, by party

   Conservative (48.8%)
   Labour (40.3%)
   SNP (5.4%)
   Liberal Democrats (1.8%)
   DUP (1.5%)
   Sinn Féin (1.1%)
   Plaid Cymru (0.6%)
   Green (0.2%)
   Speaker (0.2%)
   Independent (0.2%)

Votes, of total, by party

   Conservative (42.3%)
   Labour (40.0%)
   Liberal Democrats (7.4%)
   SNP (3.0%)
   UKIP (1.8%)
   Green (1.6%)
   DUP (0.9%)
   Sinn Féin (0.7%)
   Plaid Cymru (0.5%)
  Other (1.8%)

All parties with over 400 votes shown.

Vote share
Liberal Democrat
Scottish National
UK Independence
Democratic Unionist
Sinn Féin
Plaid Cymru
Parliamentary seats
Scottish National
Liberal Democrat
Democratic Unionist
Sinn Féin
Plaid Cymru
The disproportionality of parliament in the 2017 election was 6.45 using the Gallagher Index. 2017 UK General Election Gallagher Index.png
The disproportionality of parliament in the 2017 election was 6.45 using the Gallagher Index.

Voter demographics

Ipsos MORI

Ipsos MORI polling after the election suggested the following demographic breakdown:

The 2017 UK general election vote in Great Britain [424]
Social group Con Lab Lib Dem UKIP OthersLead
Total vote44418253
Men by age
Women by age
Social class
Men by social class
Women by social class
Housing tenure
Social renter265744931
Private renter315471723
Ethnic group
No qualifications523544517
Other qualifications46396277
Degree or higher3348120715
EU referendum vote
Did not vote236641643
2015 general election vote
Lib Dem1530510421
Aged 18–34 by social class
Aged 35–54 by social class
Aged 55+ by social class


YouGov polling after the election suggested the following demographic breakdown:

The 2017 UK general election vote in Great Britain [425] [426]
Social group Con Lab Lib Dem SNP UKIP Green Plaid Others
Total vote4441832201
Social class
Highest educational level
GCSE or lower5533523101
High (degree or above)32491141201
Housing status
Work sector
Private sector5034732101
Public sector3944842211
Work status
Not working3648643101
Newspaper read most often
Daily Express 7715203200
Daily Mail 7417313101
Daily Mirror 1968362101
Daily Star 3849633100
The Sun 5930333101
The Daily Telegraph 7912601101
The Financial Times 40391412301
The Guardian 8731230301
The Independent 15661231201
The Times 58241411201

Open seats changing hands

PartyCandidateIncumbent retiring from the HouseConstituencyDefeated byParty
Independent Paul Oakley (UKIP) Douglas Carswell (elected as UKIP) [n 11] Clacton Giles Watling Conservative
Independent Toni Giugliano (SNP) Michelle Thomson (elected as SNP) [n 12] Edinburgh West Christine Jardine Liberal Democrats
Labour Tracey Harvey Tom Blenkinsop Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Simon Clarke Conservative
Liberal Democrats Sue McGuire John Pugh Southport Damien Moore Conservative

Seats which changed allegiance


Government formation

Theresa May declares her intention to remain in office following the election result outside 10 Downing Street, 9 June 2017 Theresa May 2017 election speech outside 10 Downing Street.jpg
Theresa May declares her intention to remain in office following the election result outside 10 Downing Street, 9 June 2017

Corbyn and Farron called on May to resign. [427] [428] On 9 June, May apologised to candidates who lost their seats and confirmed she would continue as party leader and prime minister, with the intention of forming a minority government with support from the Democratic Unionist Party to ensure "certainty". [428] By convention, when no party has a majority, the incumbent prime minister has the first opportunity to garner enough support to govern.

May's joint chiefs of staff Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill resigned, replaced by Gavin Barwell, who had lost his seat in the election. [429]

On 10 June, a survey of 1,500 ConservativeHome readers found that almost two-thirds of Conservative Party members wanted Theresa May to resign. [430] A YouGov poll of 1,720 adults for The Sunday Times had 48% saying Theresa May should resign, with 38% against. [431] A Survation poll of 1,036 adults online for The Mail on Sunday showed 49% of people wanting her resignation, with 38% against. [431] On 11 June George Osborne, former Chancellor of the Exchequer, described May as a "dead woman walking". [432]

In a post-election reshuffle carried out on 11 June, May promoted her close ally Damian Green to become First Secretary of State and brought Michael Gove into the cabinet as Environment Secretary, making Andrea Leadsom Leader of the House of Commons. Liz Truss, David Lidington and David Gauke changed roles, while eleven cabinet members including key figures such as Boris Johnson, Amber Rudd, Michael Fallon, Philip Hammond and David Davis remained in post. [433]

Negotiations between the Conservatives and the DUP began on 9 June. On 12 June, it was reported that the State Opening of Parliament, scheduled for 19 June, could be delayed. [434] DUP sources informed the BBC that the Grenfell Tower fire on 14 June would delay finalisation of an agreement. [435] On 15 June, it was announced that the Queen's Speech would occur on 21 June. [436] A confidence and supply deal was reached on 26 June, with the DUP backing the Conservatives in key votes in the House of Commons over the course of the parliament. The agreement included additional funding of £1 billion for Northern Ireland, highlighted mutual support for Brexit and national security, expressed commitment to the Good Friday Agreement, and indicated that policies such as the state pension triple lock and Winter Fuel Payments would be maintained. [437] Various commentators suggested that this raised problems for the UK government's role as a neutral arbiter in Northern Ireland, as is required under the Good Friday Agreement. [438] [439] [440]

In April 2020, Sky News's Tom Rayner and The Independent 's Jon Stone reported on an 860-page dossier into the handing of allegations of antisemitism by Labour members and officials. [441] Stone stated that the right-wing of the party weaponised claims of antisemitism—amongst other things—in an active attempt to undermine Corbyn and prevent Labour from winning the 2017 election in the hope that a poor result would trigger a leadership contest to remove Corbyn as leader. [442]

Party leadership changes

After achieving just 1.8% of the popular vote, down from 12.7% in 2015, and failing to win any seats, Paul Nuttall resigned as UKIP leader on 9 June. [443] A leadership election followed.

Ian Blackford became the new SNP leader in Westminster on 14 June, following Angus Robertson's defeat. [444]

Also on 14 June, Brian Paddick resigned as home affairs spokesperson for the Liberal Democrats over concerns about Farron's "views on various issues" during the campaign. [445] Later that day Farron announced his resignation as leader of the Liberal Democrats, citing conflict between his Christian faith and serving as leader. [446] He remained as leader until Sir Vince Cable was elected unopposed on 20 July. [447]

Campaign post-mortems

Figures inside and outside the Conservative Party criticised its campaign widely. Points of criticism included the initial decision to call the election (which Lynton Crosby had advised against); the control of the campaign by a small team of May's joint chiefs of staff Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill, who were more experienced with policy work than campaigning; the presidential style of the campaign focusing on the figure of Theresa May, while most of the Cabinet were sidelined (particularly the exclusion of Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond, with reports that May would sack him after the election); [448] and a poorly designed manifesto that offered little hope and the contents of which were not shared with Cabinet members until shortly before its release. [449] In July, Prime Minister Theresa May admitted she had "shed a tear" upon seeing the election exit poll, and suggested the manifesto's lack of appeal to younger voters had played a part in Conservative shortcomings. [450]

Allegations of Russian interference

In 2018, an investigation by Swansea University and The Sunday Times revealed that 6,500 Russian Twitter accounts, at least many of which were bots, supported Labour, denigrated Conservatives, and reached millions of voters. Their intention was to swing the elections for Labour. [451] Labour's Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell dismissed the claims as "ludicrous", "farcical" and a "classic Sunday Times smear campaign" and further said: "If there's an issue here about anything with Russian influence in our society, it's about Russian oligarchs funding the Tory party – let's have an inquiry into that." [452] [453]

Election turnout figures

A January 2018 report in The Times reported that researchers at Oxford University and the University of Manchester have found that election turnout in June 2017 was actually in the high 70s per cent and could have been as high as 80.3 per cent, partly because those with second homes and students are registered twice, and partly also because of entries there by mistake or because of voter fraud. By overestimating the number of registered voters, official sources underestimated the proportion of the electorate that voted. Turnout in the 2017 election is likely to have been roughly 78 per cent. A spokesman for the Election Commission said officials would "consider this report's findings on the calculation of election turnout figures". The commission "continues to work to improve the accuracy and completeness" of the electoral register, he added. [454]


Electoral commission data [455] shows that in 2017 Q2, total donations for each major political party, over £7,500, are as follows:

PartyDonations (£)
Conservatives 25,346,680
Labour Party 9,745,745
SNP 971,342
Liberal Democrats 5,058,175

See also


  1. Given that Sinn Féin MPs do not take their seats and the Speaker and deputies do not vote, the number of MPs needed for a majority is, in practice, slightly lower. Sinn Féin won 7 seats, meaning a practical majority requires at least 320 MPs.
  2. Nicola Sturgeon sits as an MSP in the Scottish Parliament for Glasgow Southside. Before the election, the SNP delegation to the House of Commons was led by Angus Robertson, MP for Moray, who lost his seat. Ian Blackford, MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber, succeeded him.
  3. Arlene Foster sat as an MLA in the Northern Ireland Assembly for Fermanagh and South Tyrone prior to the collapse of the Assembly. The party's leader in the Commons was Nigel Dodds, the MP for Belfast North.
  4. Gerry Adams sat as a TD in Dáil Éireann (lower house of the Irish Parliament) for Louth.
  5. Sinn Féin MPs abstain from taking their seats in the British House of Commons.
  6. Or, in the case of a British citizen who moved abroad before the age of 18, if his/her parent/guardian was on the Electoral Register in the UK in the last 15 years
  7. 1 2 The deadline for the receipt and determination of anonymous electoral registration applications is one working day before the publication date of the notice of alteration to the Electoral Register (that is, the sixth working day before polling day). [16]
  8. I.e. the period following the 1988 merger of the Liberal Party and the Social Democratic Party.
  9. 1 2 3 GB forecast only
  10. 1 2 3 Electoral Calculus counts Speaker John Bercow in the Conservative total
  11. Carswell was elected as a UKIP MP in 2015 after defecting from the Conservatives in 2014. He left UKIP in 2017 to sit as an independent, and chose not to stand again.
  12. Thomson was elected as an SNP MP in 2015, but resigned from the party whip and gave up her SNP membership later that year, following the announcement of a police inquiry into allegations made against her.
  13. The seat had already been gained at a by-election in February. Gains at a general election are normally contrasted to the previous general election, ignoring by-elections in between.

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2010s political history refers to significant political and societal historical events in the United Kingdom in the 2010s, presented as a historical overview in narrative format.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Red wall (British politics)</span> Set of British constituencies which have historically been strongholds of the Labour Party

The red wall is a term used in British politics to describe constituencies in the Midlands and Northern England which historically supported the Labour Party.


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