2019 United Kingdom general election

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2019 United Kingdom general election
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg
  2017 12 December 2019 Next  

All 650 seats in the House of Commons
326 [n 1] seats needed for a majority
Opinion polls
Registered47,568,611
Turnout67.3% (Decrease2.svg 1.5 pp) [2]
 First partySecond party
  Boris Johnson election infobox.jpg Official portrait of Jeremy Corbyn crop 3, 2020.jpg
Leader Boris Johnson Jeremy Corbyn
Party Conservative Labour
Leader since 23 July 2019 12 September 2015
Leader's seat Uxbridge and
South Ruislip
Islington North
Last election317 seats, 42.4%262 seats, 40.0%
Seats won365202 [n 2]
Seat changeIncrease2.svg 48Decrease2.svg 60
Popular vote13,966,45410,269,051
Percentage43.6%32.1%
SwingIncrease2.svg 1.2 pp Decrease2.svg 7.9 pp

 Third partyFourth party
  Nicola Sturgeon election infobox 3.jpg Official portrait of Jo Swinson crop 2.jpg
Leader Nicola Sturgeon Jo Swinson
Party SNP Liberal Democrats
Leader since 14 November 2014 22 July 2019
Leader's seatDid not stand [n 3] East Dunbartonshire
(defeated)
Last election35 seats, 3.0%12 seats, 7.4%
Seats won48 [n 4] 11
Seat changeIncrease2.svg 13Decrease2.svg 1
Popular vote1,242,3803,696,419
Percentage3.9%11.6%
SwingIncrease2.svg 0.8 pp Increase2.svg 4.2 pp

2019UKElectionMap.svg
A map presenting the results of the election, by party of the MP elected from each constituency.

UK House of Commons 2019.svg
Composition of the House of Commons after the election

Prime Minister before election

Boris Johnson
Conservative

Prime Minister after election

Boris Johnson
Conservative

The 2019 United Kingdom general election was held on Thursday, 12 December 2019. It resulted in the Conservative Party receiving a landslide majority of 80 seats. [n 5] The Conservatives made a net gain of 48 seats and won 43.6% of the popular vote – the highest percentage for any party since 1979. [3]

Contents

Having failed to obtain a majority in the 2017 general election, the Conservative Party had faced prolonged parliamentary deadlock over Brexit while it governed in minority with the support of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). This situation led to the resignation of the Prime Minister, Theresa May, and the selection of Boris Johnson as Conservative leader and Prime Minister in July 2019. Johnson could not induce Parliament to approve a revised withdrawal agreement by the end of October, and chose to call for a snap election, which the House of Commons supported via the Early Parliamentary General Election Act 2019. [4] Opinion polls up to polling day showed a firm lead for the Conservatives against the Labour Party throughout the campaign. [5]

The Conservatives won 365 seats; many of their gains were made in long-held Labour seats, dubbed the 'red wall', which had registered a strong 'Leave' vote in the 2016 EU referendum. Labour won 202 seats, its lowest number and proportion of seats since 1935. [6] [7] [8] The Scottish National Party (SNP) made a net gain of 13 seats and won 3.9% of the UK vote (translating to 45% of the popular vote in Scotland), resulting in 48 out of 59 seats won in Scotland. [9] The Liberal Democrats improved their vote share to 11.6% but won only 11 seats, a net loss of one since the last election. [10] The DUP won a plurality of seats in Northern Ireland. There, the SDLP and Alliance regained parliamentary representation as the DUP lost seats.

The election result gave Johnson a mandate to formally implement the UK’s departure from the European Union on 31 January 2020 and to repeal the European Communities Act 1972, thereby ending hopes of the Remain movement of overturning the result of the 2016 referendum. Labour's defeat led to Jeremy Corbyn conceding defeat and announcing his intention to resign, triggering a leadership election won by Keir Starmer. [8] For Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson, the loss of her constituency's seat compelled her to resign as well, triggering a leadership election. [11] [10] The party's leader in Wales, Jane Dodds, was also unseated. [12] For the SNP leader, Nicola Sturgeon, her party's landslide victory in Scotland led to renewed calls for a second independence referendum. [9] In Northern Ireland, nationalist MPs outnumbered unionist ones for the first time, although the unionist popular vote remained higher (43.1%). Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow resigned the Speakership as a result of the election being called, [13] [14] and the current Speaker, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, was subsequently elected. [15]

Background

In July 2016, Theresa May became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, having taken over from David Cameron (who had resigned in the wake of the 2016 Brexit referendum). Her party  the Conservative and Unionist Party  had governed the UK since the 2010 general election, initially in coalition with the Liberal Democrats and after the 2015 general election, alone with a small majority. In the 2017 general election, May lost her majority but was able to resume office as a result of a confidence and supply agreement with Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party. In the face of opposition from the DUP and Conservative back-benchers, the second May ministry was unable to pass its Brexit withdrawal agreement by 29 March 2019, so some political commentators considered that an early United Kingdom general election was likely. [16] The opposition Labour Party called for a January 2019 vote of confidence in the May ministry, but the motion failed. [17] May resigned after her party's poor performance in the 2019 European Parliament election, during the first extension granted by the European Union for negotiations on the withdrawal agreement. Boris Johnson won the 2019 Conservative Party leadership election and became Prime Minister on 23 July 2019. Along with attempting to revise the withdrawal agreement arranged by his predecessor's negotiations, Johnson made three attempts to hold a snap election under the process defined in the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011, which requires a two-thirds supermajority in order for an election to take place. [18] [19] [20] [21]

All three attempts to call an election failed to gain support: Parliament insisted that Johnson "take a no-deal Brexit off the table first" and secure a negotiated Withdrawal Agreement, expressed in particular by its enactment against his will of the European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 2) Act 2019 (often called the "Benn Act", after Labour MP Hilary Benn, who introduced the bill). After failing to pass a revised deal before the first extension's deadline of 31 October 2019, Johnson agreed to a second extension on negotiations with the EU and finally secured a revised Withdrawal Agreement. Parliament agreed to an election through a motion proposed by the Liberal Democrats and Scottish National Party on 28 October. The Early Parliamentary General Election Act 2019 (EPGEA) was passed in the Commons by 438 votes to 20; an attempt to pass an amendment by opposition parties for the election to be held on 9 December failed by 315 votes to 295. [22] [23] The House of Lords followed suit on 30 October, [24] with Royal Assent made the day after for the ratification of the EPGEA. [25]

Date of the election

The deadline for candidate nominations was 14 November 2019, [26] with political campaigning for four weeks until polling day on 12 December. On the day of the election, polling stations across the country were open from 7 am, and closed at 10 pm. [27] The date chosen for the 2019 general election made it the first to be held in December since 1923. [28] [29]

Voting eligibility

Individuals eligible to vote had to be registered to vote by midnight on 26 November. [30] To be eligible to vote, individuals had to be [31] [32] aged 18 or over; residing as a Commonwealth citizen at an address in the United Kingdom, [n 6] or a British citizen overseas who registered to vote in the last 15 years; [n 7] [34] [35] and not legally excluded (on grounds of detainment in prison, a mental hospital, or on the run from law enforcement) [36] or disqualified from voting. [37] [38] Anyone who qualified as an anonymous elector had until midnight on 6 December to register. [n 8] Irish citizens living in the UK aged 18 and over were also allowed to vote.

Timetable

Key dates [40]
DateEvent
Tuesday 29 OctoberPassage of the Early Parliamentary General Election Act 2019 through the House of Commons
Wednesday 30 OctoberPassage of the Early Parliamentary General Election Act 2019 through the House of Lords
Thursday 31 OctoberEarly Parliamentary General Election Act 2019 receives Royal Assent and comes into force immediately. The Act sets 12 December as the date for the next parliamentary general election.
Wednesday 6 NovemberDissolution of Parliament and official start of the campaign. Beginning of purdah. Royal Proclamation issued, summoning a new Parliament and setting the date for its first meeting.
Thursday 7 NovemberReceipt of writ – legal documents declaring election issued
Friday 8 NovemberNotices of election begin to be given in constituencies
Thursday 14 NovemberNominations of candidates close
Saturday 16 NovemberLists of candidates are published for each constituency
Thursday 21 NovemberDeadline to register for a postal vote at 5pm (Northern Ireland) [41]
Tuesday 26 NovemberDeadline to register for a postal vote at 5pm (Great Britain) [41] and for registering to vote across the UK at 11:59pm [41]
Wednesday 4 DecemberDeadline to register for a proxy vote at 5pm. (Exemptions apply for emergencies.)
Thursday 12 DecemberPolling Day – polls open 7 am to 10 pm
Friday 13 DecemberResults announced for all the 650 constituencies. End of purdah
Tuesday 17 DecemberFirst meeting of the new 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. [42] [43] [44]
Thursday 19 DecemberState Opening of Parliament, Queen's Speech

Contesting political parties and candidates

Most candidates are representatives of a political party, which must be registered with the Electoral Commission's Register. Those who do not belong to one must use the label "Independent" or none. In the 2019 election 3,415 candidates stood: 206 being independents, the rest representing one of 68 political parties.

Great Britain

PartyParty leader(s)Leader sinceLeader's seat2017 electionSeats at
dissolution
Contested seats
 % of
votes
Seats
Conservative Party Boris Johnson July 2019 Uxbridge & South Ruislip 42.4%317298635 seats in the United Kingdom [45]
Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn September 2015 Islington North 40.0%262244631 seats in Great Britain
Scottish National Party Nicola Sturgeon November 2014 None [n 3] 3.0%353559 seats in Scotland
Liberal Democrats Jo Swinson July 2019 East Dunbartonshire 7.4%1221611 seats in Great Britain
Change UK Anna Soubry June 2019 Broxtowe New party53 seats in England
Plaid Cymru Adam Price September 2018 None [n 9] 0.5%4436 seats in Wales
Green Party of England and Wales Jonathan Bartley September 2016 None [n 10] 1.6%11474 seats in England and Wales
Siân Berry September 2018
Brexit Party Nigel Farage March 2019None [n 11] New party0276 seats in Great Britain

As outlined in text above, Conservatives had been governing in coalition or on their own since 2010 and led by Boris Johnson since July 2019. Jeremy Corbyn had been Labour Party leader since 2015 and was the first Labour leader since Tony Blair to contest consecutive general elections, and the first since Neil Kinnock to do so after losing the first. One other party, the Liberal Democrats, contested seats across Great Britain. They were led by Tim Farron at the 2017 election, before he was replaced by Vince Cable. Cable was succeeded by Jo Swinson in July 2019. [46] [47] The Brexit Party contested somewhat under half the seats. It was founded in early 2019 by Nigel Farage, former leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP), and won the most votes at the May 2019 European Parliament elections. The Brexit Party had largely replaced UKIP in British politics, with UKIP (which gained 12.6% of the vote but just one MP at the 2015 election) losing almost all its support. UKIP stood in 42 seats in Great Britain and two seats in Northern Ireland.

The Green Party of England and Wales had been led by Jonathan Bartley and Siân Berry since 2018, with its counterpart the Scottish Green Party standing in Scottish seats. The two parties stood in a total of 495 seats. The third-largest party in seats won at the 2017 election was the Scottish National Party, led by Nicola Sturgeon since 2014, which stands only in Scotland where it won 35 out of 59 seats at the 2017 election. Similarly, Plaid Cymru, led by Adam Price, stands only in Wales where it held 4 of 40 seats.

Northern Ireland

While a number of UK parties organise in Northern Ireland (including the Labour Party, which does not field candidates) and others field candidates for election (most notably the Conservatives), the main Northern Ireland parties are different from those in the rest of the UK.

Some parties in Northern Ireland operate on an all-Ireland basis, including Sinn Féin and Aontú, who are abstentionist parties and do not take up any Commons seats to which they are elected. The only independent elected to Parliament in 2017, Sylvia Hermon, represented North Down but did not stand in 2019.

In the 2019 election, there were a total of 102 candidates in Northern Ireland. [48] The election result was particularly notable in Northern Ireland as the first Westminster election in which the number of Nationalists elected exceeded the number of Unionists.

PartyLeaderLeader sinceLeader's
seat
2017 electionSeats at
dissolution
Contested
seats
(out of 18)
2019 election
 %
(in NI)
Seats %
(in NI)
Seats won
Democratic Unionist Party Arlene Foster December 2015None [n 12] 36.0%101017 seats30.6%Decrease2.svg8
Sinn Féin Mary Lou McDonald February 2018None [n 13] 29.4%7715 seats22.8%Steady2.svg7
Social Democratic and Labour Party Colum Eastwood November 2015 Foyle [n 14] 11.7%0015 seats14.9%Increase2.svg 2
Ulster Unionist Party Steve Aiken November 2019None [n 15] 10.3%0016 seats11.7%0
Alliance Party Naomi Long October 2016None [n 16] 7.9%0018 seats16.8%Increase2.svg 1
Independent Sylvia Hermon None [n 17] 5.6%000N/ADecrease2.svg 0

Electoral pacts and unilateral decisions

Constituencies where the Unite to Remain pact was active. Coloured by which party stood a candidate. British remain alliance.png
Constituencies where the Unite to Remain pact was active. Coloured by which party stood a candidate.

In England and Wales, the Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru, and the Green Party of England and Wales – parties sharing an anti-Brexit position – arranged a "Unite to Remain" pact. Labour declined to be involved. This agreement meant that in 60 constituencies only one of these parties, the one considered to have the best chance of winning, stood. This pact aimed to maximise the total number of anti-Brexit MPs returned under the first-past-the-post system by avoiding the spoiler effect. [49]

In addition, the Liberal Democrats did not run against Dominic Grieve (independent, formerly Conservative), [50] Gavin Shuker (independent, formerly Labour), [51] and Anna Soubry (The Independent Group for Change, formerly Conservative). [52] [53]

The Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage had suggested the Brexit and Conservative parties could form an electoral pact to maximise the seats taken by Brexit-supporting MPs, but this was rejected by Johnson. [54] On 11 November, Farage announced that his party would not stand in any of the 317 seats won by the Conservatives at the last election. This was welcomed by the Conservative Party chairman James Cleverly, and he insisted there had been no contact between them and the Brexit Party over the plan. [55] Newsnight reported that conversations between members of the Brexit Party and the Conservative, pro-Brexit research support group European Research Group (ERG) led to this decision. [56] The Brexit Party reportedly requested that Johnson publicly state he would not extend the Brexit transition period beyond the planned end of December 2020 date and that he wished for a Canada-style free trade agreement with the EU. Johnson did make a statement covering these two issues, something which Farage referenced as key when announcing he was standing down some candidates. Both the Brexit Party and the Conservatives denied any deal was done between the two. [56] [57] [58] Farage later claimed that he, and eight other prominent Brexit Party figures, were offered a peerage two days before making the announcement to stand down 317 seats. [59] The claim lead to complaints to the Electoral Commission, CPS, and Metropolitan Police.

Map showing electoral pacts in Northern Ireland Northern Ireland electoral pacts, 2019 GE.svg
Map showing electoral pacts in Northern Ireland

The Green Party also did not stand in two Conservative-held seats, Chingford and Woodford Green and Calder Valley, in favour of Labour. [60] [61] The Green Party had also unsuccessfully attempted to form a progressive alliance with the Labour Party prior to Unite to Remain. [62] The Women's Equality Party stood aside in two seats in favour of the Liberal Democrats, after the Lib Dems adopted some of its policies. [63]

The DUP did not contest Fermanagh and South Tyrone and the UUP did not contest Belfast North so as not to split the unionist vote. Other parties stood down in selected seats so as not to split the anti-Brexit vote. The nationalist and anti-Brexit parties the SDLP and Sinn Féin agreed a pact whereby the SDLP did not stand in Belfast North (in favour of Sinn Féin), while Sinn Féin did not stand in Belfast South (in favour of SDLP); neither party stood in Belfast East or North Down [64] and advised their supporters to vote Alliance in those two constituencies. The Green Party in Northern Ireland did not stand in any of the four Belfast constituencies, [65] backing the SDLP in Belfast South, Sinn Féin in Belfast North and West, and Alliance in Belfast East and North Down; [66] [67] [68] [69] the party only stood in the safe seats of East Antrim, Strangford and West Tyrone. Alliance did not stand down in any seats, [70] describing the plans as "sectarian". [71]

Marginal seats

At the 2017 election, more than one in eight seats was won by a margin of 5% or less of votes, [72] while almost one in four was won by 10% or less. [73] These seats were seen as crucial in deciding the election. [74]

2017–2019 MPs standing under a different political affiliation

The 2017–2019 Parliament was defined by a significant amount of political instability, and consequently; a large number of defections and switching between parties. This was due to issues such as disquiet over anti-semitism in the Labour Party, and divisions over Brexit in the Conservative Party. Eighteen MPs elected in 2017 contested the election for a different party or as an independent candidate; five stood for a different seat. All of these candidates failed to be re-elected.

Outgoing MP2017 party2017 constituency2019 party2019 constituency
Luciana Berger Labour Liverpool Wavertree Liberal Democrats Finchley and Golders Green
Frank Field Labour Birkenhead Birkenhead Social Justice Birkenhead
Mike Gapes Labour Ilford South Change UK Ilford South
David Gauke Conservative South West Hertfordshire Independent South West Hertfordshire
Roger Godsiff Labour Birmingham Hall Green Independent Birmingham Hall Green
Dominic Grieve Conservative Beaconsfield Independent Beaconsfield
Sam Gyimah Conservative East Surrey Liberal Democrats Kensington
Phillip Lee Conservative Bracknell Liberal Democrats Wokingham
Chris Leslie Labour Nottingham East Change UK Nottingham East
Ivan Lewis (withdrawn) [75] Labour Bury South Independent Bury South
Anne Milton Conservative Guildford Independent Guildford
Antoinette Sandbach Conservative Eddisbury Liberal Democrats Eddisbury
Gavin Shuker Labour Luton South Independent Luton South
Angela Smith Labour Penistone and Stocksbridge Liberal Democrats Altrincham and Sale West
Anna Soubry Conservative Broxtowe Change UK Broxtowe
Chuka Umunna Labour Streatham Liberal Democrats Cities of London and Westminster
Chris Williamson Labour Derby North Independent Derby North
Sarah Wollaston Conservative Totnes Liberal Democrats Totnes

Withdrawn or disowned candidates

The following candidates withdrew from campaigning or had support from their party withdrawn after the close of nominations, and so they remained on the ballot paper in their constituency. Hanvey was elected; [76] the others were not.

CandidatePartyConstituencyReason for withdrawalDate
Safia Ali Labour Falkirk Alleged prior antisemitic posts on Facebook [77] 28 November
Amjad Bashir Conservative Leeds North East Comments made in 2014 saying Jews were radicalised by visiting Israel [78] [79] 20 November [80] [81]
Sophie Cook Independent East Worthing and Shoreham Reported experience of abuse and harassment [82] 19 November
Victor Farrell Brexit Party Glenrothes Homophobic comments in 2017 [83] 18 November
Neale Hanvey SNP Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath Allegations of antisemitism (based on criticism of Israel and George Soros) in a 2016 Facebook post [84] 28 November
Ryan Houghton Conservative Aberdeen North Allegations of Antisemitic, Islamophobic and homophobic tweets in 2012 [85] 19 November
Ivan Lewis Independent [lower-alpha 1] Bury South Withdrew candidature and urged voters to vote Conservative [75] 4 December
Ben Mathis Liberal Democrats Hackney North and Stoke Newington Tweets that included references to "hot young boys", "whiny bitches", and conjuring images of Katie Hopkins losing "several kilos of unpleasant fat…[with] an axe or a guillotine", before 2019 [86] 24 November
Waheed Rafiq Liberal Democrats Birmingham, Hodge Hill Antisemitic comments before 2015 [87] 20 November
Flora Scarabello Conservative Glasgow Central Islamophobic comment — recorded private words [88] 27 November
  1. A Labour MP until 2018

Campaign

Campaign background

Donations to political parties in
last quarter of 2019 [89]
PartyDonations
(£ millions)
Conservative37.7
Liberal Democrats13.6
Labour10.7
Brexit7.2
SNP0.2

The Conservative Party and Labour Party have been the two biggest political parties, and have supplied every Prime Minister since 1922. The Conservative Party have governed since the 2010 election, in coalition with the Liberal Democrats from 2010 to 2015. At the 2015 general election the Conservative Party committed to offering a referendum on whether the UK should leave the European Union and won a majority in that election. A referendum was held in June 2016, and the Leave campaign won by 51.9% to 48.1%. The UK initiated the withdrawal process in March 2017, and Prime Minister Theresa May triggered a snap general election in 2017, in order to demonstrate support for her planned negotiation of Brexit. The Conservative Party lost seats – they won a plurality of MPs, but not a majority. As a result, they formed a minority government, with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) as their confidence and supply partner. Neither May nor her successor Boris Johnson (winner of the 2019 Conservative Party leadership election) [90] [91] was able to secure parliamentary support either for a deal on the terms of the UK's exit from the EU, or for exiting the EU without an agreed deal. Johnson later succeeded in bringing his Withdrawal Agreement to a second reading in Parliament, following another extension until January 2020.

During the lifespan of the 2017 parliament, twenty MPs resigned from their parties, most due to disputes with their party leaderships; some formed new parties and alliances. In February 2019, eight Labour and three Conservative MPs left their parties to sit together as The Independent Group. [92] Having undergone a split and two name changes, at dissolution this group numbered five MPs who sat as the registered party The Independent Group for Change under the leadership of Anna Soubry. [93] [94] Two MPs sat in a group called The Independents (which at its peak had five members), one MP created the Birkenhead Social Justice Party, while a further 20 MPs who began as Labour or Conservative ended the Parliament as unaffiliated independents. Seven MPs, from both the Conservatives and Labour, joined the Liberal Democrats during the parliament, in combination with a by-election gain. The Lib Dems ultimately raised their number from 12 at the election to 20 at dissolution. [95]

One reason for the defections from the Labour Party was the ongoing row over antisemitism in the Labour Party. Labour entered the election campaign while under investigation by the Equality and Human Rights Commission. [96] The Jewish Labour Movement declared it would not generally campaign for Labour. [97] The Conservative Party was also criticised for not doing enough to tackle the alleged Islamophobia in the party. [98]

The Conservatives ended the previous parliamentary period with fewer seats than they had started with because of defections and also the expulsion of a number of MPs for going against the party line by voting to prevent a no-deal Brexit. [99] Of the 21 expelled, 10 were subsequently reinstated, while others continued as independents. [100]

Policy positions

Brexit

The major parties had a wide variety of stances on Brexit. The Conservative Party supported leaving under the terms of the withdrawal agreement as negotiated by Johnson (amending Theresa May's previous agreement), and this agreement formed a central part of the Conservative campaign. [101] The Brexit Party was in favour of a no-deal Brexit, with its leader Nigel Farage calling for Johnson to drop the deal. [102]

The Labour Party proposed a renegotiation of the withdrawal agreement (towards a closer post-withdrawal relationship with the EU) and would then put this forward as an option in a referendum alongside the option of remaining in the EU. [103] The Labour Party's campaigning stance in that referendum would be decided at a special conference. [104] In a Question Time special featuring four party leaders, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said that he would stay neutral in the referendum campaign. [105]

The Liberal Democrats, Scottish National Party (SNP), Plaid Cymru, The Independent Group for Change, and the Green Party of England and Wales were all opposed to Brexit, and proposed that a further referendum be held with the option – for which they would campaign – to remain in the EU. [106] The Liberal Democrats originally pledged that if they formed a majority government (considered a highly unlikely outcome by observers), [107] they would revoke the Article 50 notification immediately and cancel Brexit. [106] [108] [109] [110] Part-way through the campaign, the Liberal Democrats dropped the policy of revoking Article 50 after the party realised it was not going to win a majority in the election. [111]

The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) was in favour of a withdrawal agreement in principle, but it opposed the deals negotiated by both May and Johnson, believing that they create too great a divide between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK. [112] [113] Sinn Féin, the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) [114] and Alliance all favoured remaining in the EU. The UUP did not see a second referendum as a necessary route to achieving this goal. [114]

The environment

The Labour Party promised what they described as a green industrial revolution. This included support for renewable energies and a promise to plant 2 billion trees by 2040. The party also promised to transition to electrify the UK's bus fleet by 2030. [115]

The Lib Dems also promised to put the environment at the heart of their agenda with a promise to plant 60 million trees a year. They also promised to significantly reduce carbon emissions by 2030 and hit zero carbon emissions by 2045. By 2030 they planned to generate 80% of the country's energy needs from renewable energies such as solar power and wind and retrofit 26 million homes with insulation by 2030. They also promised to build more environmentally friendly homes and to establish a new Department for the Climate Crisis.[ citation needed ]

The Conservatives pledged net zero emissions by 2050 with investment in clean energy solutions and green infrastructure to reduce carbon emissions and pollution. They also pledged to plant 30 million trees.[ citation needed ]

The Conservatives were judged the worst of the main parties on climate change by Friends of the Earth with a manifesto which mentioned it only ten times. [116]

Tax and spending commitments

In September 2019, the Conservative government performed a spending review, where they announced plans to increase public spending by £13.8 billion/year, and reaffirmed plans to spend another £33.9 billion/year on the National Health Service (NHS) by 2023. Chancellor Sajid Javid said the government had turned the page on 10 years of austerity. [117] During the election the parties produced manifestos that outlined spending in addition to those already planned.

The Conservative manifesto was described as having "little in the way of changes to tax" by the Institute for Fiscal Studies. The decision to keep the rate of corporation tax at 19%, and not reduce it to 17% as planned, is expected to raise £6 billion/year. The plan to increase the national insurance threshold for employees and self-employed to £9,500 will cost £2 billion/year. [118] They also committed to not raise rates of income tax, National Insurance or VAT. [119] There are increased spending commitments of £3 billion current spending and £8 billion investment spending. This would overall lead to the UK's debt as a percentage of GDP remaining stable (the IFS assesses that it would rise in the event of a no-deal Brexit). [120]

The Labour manifesto planned to raise an extra £78 billion/year from taxes over the course of the parliament, with sources including: [118]

  • £24bn – raising the headline rate of corporation tax to 26%
  • £6.3bn – tax multinationals' global profits according to UK share of global employment/assets/sales, not UK profits
  • £4.0bn – abolish patent box & R&D tax credit for large companies
  • £4.3bn – cutting unspecified corporation tax reliefs
  • £9bn – financial transactions tax
  • £14bn – dividends and capital gains
  • £6bn – anti-avoidance
  • £5bn – increases in income tax rates above £80,000/year
  • £5bn – other

In addition, Labour was to obtain income from the Inclusive Ownership Fund, windfall tax on oil companies, and some smaller tax changes. There were increased spending commitments of £98 billion current spending and £55 billion investment spending. This would, overall, have led to the UK's debt as a percentage of GDP rising. [120] Labour's John McDonnell said borrowing would only be for investment and one-offs (e.g. compensating WASPI women, not shown above), and not for day-to-day spending. [121]

The Liberal Democrat manifesto plans to raise an extra £36 billion/year from taxes over the course of the parliament, with sources including: [118]

  • £10bn – raising corporation tax to 20%
  • £7bn – 1% point rise in all rates of income tax
  • £5bn – abolish CGT allowance
  • £5bn – air passenger duty on frequent flyers
  • £6bn – anti-avoidance
  • £3bn – other

There are increased commitments of £37 billion current spending and £26 billion investment spending, which would overall lead to the UK's debt as a percentage of GDP falling, partly due to improved economic conditions which would result from staying in the EU. [120]

Institute for Fiscal Studies analysis

The Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS), an influential research body, released on 28 November its in-depth analysis of the manifestos of the three main national political parties. The analysis both provides a summary of the financial promises made by each party, and an inspection of the accuracy of claims around government income and expenditure. [122] [123] [124] [125] [118] The IFS reported that neither the Conservatives nor the Labour Party had published a "properly credible prospectus". [122]

Its analysis of the Conservative manifesto concluded there was "essentially nothing new in the manifesto", that there was "little in the way of changes to tax, spending, welfare or anything else", and that they had already promised increased spending for health and education whilst in government. The Labour manifesto was described as introducing "enormous economic and social change", and increasing the role of the state to be bigger than anything in the last 40 years. [126] The IFS highlighted a raft of changes in including free childcare, university, personal care and prescriptions, as well nationalisations, labour market regulations, increases in the minimum wage, and enforcing "effective ownership of 10% of large companies from current owners to a combination of employees and government". Labour's vision, the IFS said, "is of a state not so dissimilar to those seen in many other successful Western European economies" and presumed that the manifesto should be seen as "a long-term prospectus for change rather than a realistic deliverable plan for a five-year parliament". [126] They said the Liberal Democrat manifesto is not as radical as the Labour manifesto but was a "decisive move away from the policies of the past decade". [123] [124] [125] [118]

The Conservative manifesto was criticised for a commitment not to raise rates of income tax, NICs or VAT as this put a significant constraint on reactions to events that might affect government finances. One such event could be the "die in a ditch" promise to terminate the Brexit transition period by the end of 2020, which risked harming the economy. [126] The IFS also stated that it is "highly likely" spending under a Conservative government would be higher than in that party's manifesto, partly due to a number of uncosted commitments. [122] [123] [124] [125] [118] Outside of commitments to the NHS, the proposals would leave public service spending 14% lower in 2023–2024 than it was in 2010–2011, which the IFS described as "no more austerity perhaps, but an awful lot of it baked in". [127]

The IFS stated it had "serious doubt" that tax rises proposed would raise the amount Labour suggested, and said that they would need to introduce more broad based tax increases. They assess that the public sector does not have the capacity to increase investment spending as Labour would want. The IFS assesses the claim that tax rises will only hit the top 5% of earners, as "certainly progressive", but "clearly not true", with those under that threshold impacted by changes to the marriage allowance, taxes on dividends or capital gains, and lower wages/higher prices that might be passed on from corporation tax changes. Some of Labour's proposals are described as "huge and complex undertakings", where significant care is required in implementation. The IFS is particularly critical of the policy to compensate the so-called "WASPI women", announced after the manifesto, which is a £58bn promise to women who are "relatively well off on average" and will result in public finances going off target. They said that Labour's manifesto would not increase UK public spending as a share of national income above Germany. [122] [123] [124] [125] [118] They found that Labour's plan to spend and invest would boost economic growth, but the impact of tax rises, government regulation, nationalisations and the inclusive ownership fund could reduce growth, meaning the overall impact of Labour's plan on growth is uncertain. [126] [125]

The IFS described the Liberal Democrats' plans as a "radical" tax and spend package, and said that the proposals would require lower borrowing than Conservative or Labour plans. The report said they were the only party whose proposals would put debt "on a decisively downward path", praising their plan to put 1p on income tax to go to the NHS as "simple, progressive and would raise a secure level of revenue". The IFS also said plans to "virtually quintuple" current spending levels on universal free childcare amounted to "creating a whole new leg of the universal welfare state". [128] [125]

The IFS said that the SNP's manifesto was not costed. Their proposals on spending increases and tax cuts would mean the UK government would have to borrow to cover day-to-day spending. They conclude that the SNP's plans for Scottish independence would likely require increased austerity. [129]

Other issues

The Conservative Party proposed increasing spending on the NHS, although not as much of an increase as Labour and Liberal Democrat proposals. [130] They also proposed increased funding for childcare and on the environment. They proposed more funding for care services and to work with other parties on reforming how care is delivered. They wish to maintain the "triple lock" on pensions. They proposed investing in local infrastructure, including building a new rail line between Leeds and Manchester. [119]

Labour proposed significantly increasing government spending to 45% of national output, which would be high compared to most of UK history, but is comparable with other European countries. [131] This was to pay for an increased NHS budget; stopping state pension age rises; introducing a National Care Service providing free personal care; move to a net-zero carbon economy by the 2030s; nationalising key industries; scrapping universal credit; free bus travel for under-25s; building 100,000 council houses per year; and other proposals. [132] Within this, the Labour Party proposed to take rail-operating companies, energy supply networks, Royal Mail, sewerage infrastructure, and England's private water companies back into public ownership. Labour proposed nationalising part of BT and to provide free broadband to everyone, [133] along with free education for six years during each person's adult life. [134] [135] Over a decade, Labour planned to reduce the average full-time weekly working hours to 32, with resulting productivity increases facilitating no loss of pay. [136]

The Liberal Democrats' main priority was opposing Brexit. Other policies included increased spending on the NHS; free childcare for two-to-four-year-olds; recruiting 20,000 more teachers; generating 80% of electricity from renewable sources by 2030; freezing train fares; and legalising cannabis. [137]

The Brexit Party was also focused on Brexit. It opposed privatising the NHS. It sought to reduce immigration, cutting net migration to 50,000 per year; cutting VAT on domestic fuel; banning the exporting of waste; free broadband in deprived regions; scrapping the BBC licence fee; and abolishing inheritance tax, interest on student loans, and HS2. It also wanted to move to a US-style supreme court. [138]

The policies of the SNP included a second referendum on Scottish independence next year as well as one on Brexit, removing Trident, and devolution across issues such as employment law, drug policy, and migration. [139]

The Liberal Democrats, the Greens, the SNP and Labour all support a ban on fracking, whilst the Conservatives propose approving fracking on a case-by-case basis. [140] [141]

Party positions in the event of a hung Parliament

The Conservatives and Labour both insisted they were on course for outright majorities, but smaller parties were quizzed about what they would do in the event of a hung Parliament. The Liberal Democrats said they would not actively support Johnson or Corbyn becoming Prime Minister, but that they could, if an alternative could not be achieved, abstain on votes allowing a minority government to form if there was support for a second referendum on Brexit. [142] The SNP ruled out either supporting the Conservatives or a coalition with Labour, but spoke about a looser form of support, such as a confidence and supply arrangement with the latter, if they supported a second referendum on Scottish independence. [143]

The DUP previously supported the Conservative government, but withdrew that support given their opposition to Johnson's proposed Brexit deal. It said it would never support Corbyn as prime minister, but could work with Labour if that party were led by someone else. Labour's position on a hung parliament was that it would do no deals with any other party, citing Corbyn to say "We are out here to win it"—although sources say it was prepared to adopt key policies proposed by the SNP and Lib Dems to woo them into supporting a minority government. [144] [145] The UUP has also said they would never support Corbyn as Prime Minister, with their leader Steve Aiken saying he "can't really see" any situation in which they would support a Conservative government either. Their focus would be on remaining in the EU. [114]

Tactical voting

Under the first-past-the-post electoral system, voter turn-out (especially in marginal seats) has a crucial impact on the final election outcome[ citation needed ], so major political parties disproportionately focus on opinion poll trends and these constituencies. In the early stages of the campaign, there was considerable discussion of tactical voting (generally in the context of support or opposition to Brexit) and whether parties would stand in all seats or not. [146] There were various electoral pacts and unilateral decisions. The Brexit Party chose not to stand against sitting Conservative candidates, but stood in most other constituencies. The Brexit Party alleged that pressure was put on its candidates by the Conservatives to withdraw, including the offer of peerages, which would be illegal. This was denied by the Conservative Party. [147] Under the banner of Unite to Remain, the Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru and the Green Party of England and Wales agreed an electoral pact in some seats, but some commentators criticised the Liberal Democrats for not standing down in some Labour seats. [148]

A sticker in Bournemouth calling for tactical voting with an anti-Conservative billboard in the background 2019 election in Bournemouth.jpg
A sticker in Bournemouth calling for tactical voting with an anti-Conservative billboard in the background

A number of tactical voting websites were set up in an attempt to help voters choose the candidate in their constituency who would be best placed to beat the Conservative one. [149] [150] The websites did not always give the same advice, which Michael Savage, political editor of centre-left The Guardian newspaper, said had the potential to confuse voters. [149] One of the websites - "GetVoting.org" - set up by Best for Britain – was accused of giving bogus advice in Labour/Conservative marginal seats. [151] [152] The website, which had links to the Liberal Democrat party, [152] was criticised for advising pro-remain voters to back the Liberal Democrats when doing so risked pulling voters away from Labour candidates and enabling the Conservative candidate to gain most votes. [151] [152] However, they changed their controversial recommendation in Kensington to Labour[ citation needed ], lining up with Tactical Vote (TacticalVote.co.uk) in this seat, who were the only anti-Brexit tactical voting site with no party affiliations[ citation needed ], while Gina Miller's Remain United and People's Vote kept their recommendation for the Liberal Democrats[ citation needed ]. This caused a lot of confusion around tactical voting, [149] [153] as it was reported that the sites did not match one another's advice. Further into the election period, tactical voting websites that relied on MRP changed their recommendations on other seats because of new data. [154]

In the final weekend before voting, The Guardian cited a poll suggesting that the Conservative party held a 15% lead over Labour, [155] while on the same day, the Conservative-backing Daily Telegraph emphasised a poll indicating only an 8% lead. [156] Senior opposition politicians from Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the SNP launched a late-stage appeal to anti-Conservative voters to consider switching allegiance in the general election, amid signs that tactical voting in a relatively small number of marginal seats could deprive Johnson of a majority in parliament. [157]

Shortly before the election The Observer newspaper recommended remainers tactically vote for 50 Labour, Liberal Democrat, Scottish National and independent candidates across Great Britain; [158] of these, 13 triumphed, 9 of which were SNP gains in Scotland (in line with a broader trend of relative success for the party), along with four in England divided equally between Labour and the Liberal Democrats. The pollster responsible argued in the aftermath that the unpopularity of the Labour leadership limited the effectiveness of tactical voting. [159] Other research suggested it would have taken 78% of people voting tactically to prevent a Conservative majority completely, and would not have been possible to deliver a Labour majority. [160]

Canvassing and leafleting

Predictions of an overall Conservative majority were based on their targeting of primarily Labour-held, Brexit-backing seats in the Midlands and the north of England. [161] At the start of the election period, Labour-supporting organisation Momentum held what was described as "the largest mobilising call in UK history", involving more than 2,000 canvassers. [162] The organisation challenged Labour supporters to devote a week or more to campaigning full-time (by 4 December, 1,400 people had signed up). Momentum also developed an app called My Campaign Map that updated members about where they could be more effective, particularly in canvassing in marginal constituencies. Over one weekend during the campaign period, 700 Labour supporters campaigned in Iain Duncan Smith's constituency, Chingford and Woodford Green, which was regarded as a marginal, with a majority of 2,438 votes at the 2017 general election. [162]

The Liberal Democrats, likewise, were considered possible winners of a number of Conservative-held southern English constituencies, with a large swing that could even topple Dominic Raab in Esher and Walton. [163] At the beginning of the 2019 campaign, they had been accused of attempting to mislead voters by using selective polling data [164] and use of a quotation attributed to The Guardian newspaper rather than to their leader, Jo Swinson. [165] They were also accused of making campaign leaflets look like newspapers, although this practice had been used by all major British political parties for many years, including by Labour and the Conservatives during this election. [166]

The Liberal Democrats won a court case stopping the SNP from distributing a "potentially defamatory" leaflet in Swinson's constituency over false claims about funding she had received. [167]

Online campaigning

The use of social media advertising is seen as particularly useful to political parties as they can target people by gender, age, and location. [168] Labour is reported to have the most interactions, with The Times describing Labour's "aggressive, anti-establishment messages" as "beating clever Tory memes". In the first week of November, Labour is reported to have four of the five most "liked" tweets by political parties, many of the top interactions of Facebook posts, as well as being "dominant" on Instagram, where younger voters are particularly active. [169] Bloomberg reported that between 6 and 21 November, the views on Twitter/Facebook were 18.7m/31.0m for Labour, 10m/15.5m for the Conservatives, 2.9m/2.0m for the Brexit Party, and 0.4m/1.4m for the Liberal Democrats. [170]

Brexit was the most tweeted topic for the Conservative Party (~45% of tweets), the Liberal Democrats and the Brexit Party (~40% each). Labour focused on health (24.1%), the environment, and business, mentioning Brexit in less than 5 percent of its tweets. [171] Devolution was the topic most tweeted about by the SNP (29.8%) and Plaid Cymru (21.4%), and the environment was the top issue for the Green Party (45.9%) on Twitter. The Conservatives were unique in their focus on taxation (16.2%), and the Brexit Party on defence (14%). [171]

Prior to the campaign, the Conservatives contracted New Zealand marketing agency Topham Guerin, which has been credited with helping Australia's Liberal–National Coalition unexpectedly win the 2019 Australian federal election. The agency's social media approach is described as purposefully posting badly-designed social media material, which becomes viral and so is seen by a wider audience. [172] [173] Some of the Conservative social media activity created headlines challenging whether it was deceptive. [174] [175] [176] [177] [178] This included editing a clip of Keir Starmer to appear he was unable to answer a question about Labour's Brexit policy. [175] In response to criticism over the doctored Starmer footage, Conservative Party chairman James Cleverly said the clip of Starmer was satire and "obviously edited". [175]

Veracity of statements by political parties

During the 19 November debate between Johnson and Corbyn hosted by ITV, the press office of the Conservative Campaign Headquarters (CCHQ) re-branded their Twitter account (@CCHQPress) as 'factcheckUK' (with "from CCHQ" in small text appearing underneath the logo in the account's banner image), which critics suggest could be mistaken for that of an independent fact-checking body, and published posts supporting the Conservative's position. [179] [180] [181] [182] [174] [183] In defence, Conservative chairman Cleverly stated that "The Twitter handle of the CCHQ press office remained CCHQPress, so it's clear the nature of the site", and as "calling out when the Labour Party put what they know to be complete fabrications in the public domain". [174] In response to the re-branding on Twitter, the Electoral Commission, which does not have a role in regulating election campaign content, called on all campaigners to act "responsibly", [183] [182] [184] fact-checking body Full Fact criticised this behaviour as "inappropriate and misleading", and Twitter stated that it would take "decisive corrective action" if there were "further attempts to mislead people". [181] [182] [174] [183] [185] [186]

First Draft News released an analysis of Facebook ads posted by political parties between 1 and 4 December. The analysis reports 88% of the 6,749 posts the Conservatives made had been "challenged" by fact checker Full Fact. 5,000 of these ads related to a "40 new hospitals" claim, of which Full Fact concluded only six had been costed, with the others only currently receiving money for planning (with building uncosted and due to occur after 2025). 4,000 featured inaccurate claims about the cost of Labour's spending plans to the tax payer. 500 related to a "50,000 more nurses" pledge, consisting of 31,500 new nurses, and convincing 18,500 nurses already in post to remain. [187] [188] [189] 16.5% of Liberal Democrats posts were highlighted, which related to claims they are the only party to beat Labour, the Conservatives or the SNP ‘in seats like yours’. [189] [188] None of the posts made by Labour in the period were challenged, although posts made on 10 December claiming a "Labour government would save households thousands in bills" and the Conservative Party had "cut £8bn from social care" since 2010, were flagged as misleading. [188] [189] According to the BBC, Labour supporters had been more likely to share unpaid-for electioneering posts, some of which included misleading claims. [190]

Television debates

← 2017 debates 2019

ITV aired a head-to-head election debate between Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn on 19 November, hosted by Julie Etchingham. [191] ITV Cymru Wales aired a debate featuring representatives from the Conservatives, Labour, the Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru and the Brexit Party on 17 November, hosted by Adrian Masters. [192] Johnson cancelled his ITV interview with Etchingham, scheduled for 6 December, whilst the other major party leaders agreed to be interviewed. [193]

On the BBC, broadcaster Andrew Neil was due to separately interview party leaders in The Andrew Neil Interviews, and BBC Northern Ireland journalist Mark Carruthers to separately interview the five main Northern Irish political leaders. [194] The leaders of the SNP, Labour, Plaid Cymru, the Liberal Democrats and the Brexit Party were all interviewed by Neil and the leader of the Conservative Party was not, [195] leading Neil to release a challenge to Johnson to be interviewed. [196] The Conservatives dismissed Neil's challenge. [197] BBC Scotland, BBC Cymru Wales and BBC Northern Ireland also hosted a variety of regional debates. [198]

Channel 4 cancelled a debate scheduled for 24 November after Johnson would not agree to a head-to-head with Corbyn. [199] A few days later, the network hosted a leaders' debate focused on the climate. Johnson and Farage did not attend and were replaced on stage by ice sculptures with their party names written on them. [200] The Conservatives alleged this was part of a pattern of bias at the channel, complained to Ofcom that Channel 4 had breached due impartiality rules as a result of their refusal to allow Michael Gove to appear as a substitute, [201] and suggested that they might review the channel's broadcasting licence. [202] In response, the Conservatives, as well as the Brexit Party, did not send a representative to Channel 4's "Everything but Brexit" on 8 December, [203] and Conservative ministers were briefed not to appear on Channel 4 News . [204] Ofcom rejected the Conservatives' complaint on 3 December. [205]

Sky News was due to hold a three-way election debate on 28 November, inviting Johnson, Corbyn and Swinson. [206] Swinson confirmed she would attend the debate, [207] but it was later cancelled after agreements could not be made with Corbyn or Johnson. [208]

2019 United Kingdom general election debates in Great Britain
DateOrganisersVenueRegionViewing figures
(millions)
 P Present   S Surrogate   NI Not invited   A Absent   I Invited   N No debate  
Con Lab SNP LD Plaid GPEW Brexit
17 November [209] ITV Cymru Wales ITV Wales Studios, Cardiff [192] Wales0.28S
Davies
S
Thomas-Symonds
NIP
Dodds
S
Saville Roberts
NIS
Gill
19 November [210] ITV dock10 studios, Salford [211] UK7.34P
Johnson
P
Corbyn
NININININI
22 November [212] BBC
( Question Time )
Octagon Centre, Sheffield [213] [212] UK4.62P
Johnson
P
Corbyn
P
Sturgeon
P
Swinson
NININI
24 November
(cancelled) [214] [215]
Channel 4 N/AUKN/AN
Johnson
N
Corbyn
NININININI
26 November BBC Wales
(Wales Live)
Pembrokeshire County
Showground, Haverfordwest [216]
WalesTBAS
Davies
S
Griffith
NIP
Dodds
S
Saville Roberts
NIS
Wells
28 November
(cancelled) [208]
Sky News N/AUKN/AN
Johnson
N
Corbyn
NIN
Swinson
NININI
28 November [217] Channel 4
(climate and nature)
ITN Headquarters, London [218] UKTBAA [n 18]
Johnson
P
Corbyn
P
Sturgeon
P
Swinson
P
Price
P
Berry
A
Farage
29 November [220] BBC Senedd, Cardiff [221] UKTBAS
Sunak
S
Long-Bailey
P
Sturgeon
P
Swinson
P
Price
S
Lucas
S
Tice
1 December [222] ITV Dock10, Salford [223] UKTBAS
Sunak
S
Burgon
P
Sturgeon
P
Swinson
P
Price
P
Berry
P
Farage
3 December [224] BBC Wales Wrexham Glyndŵr University, Wrexham WalesTBAS
Jones
S
Hanson
NIS
John
S
ap Iorwerth
NIP
Gill
3 December [225] STV STV Pacific Quay, Glasgow ScotlandTBAP
Carlaw
P
Leonard
P
Sturgeon
P
Rennie
NININI
6 December BBC Maidstone Studios, Maidstone [226] [227] [228] UK4.42P
Johnson
P
Corbyn
NININININI
8 December [229] [230] Channel 4
(everything but Brexit)
Leeds Beckett University, Leeds [231] UKTBAA
S
Rayner
S
Whitford
P
Swinson
P
Price
P
Bartley
A
9 December [232] BBC
(Question Time Under 30)
University of York, York [233] UKTBAS
Jenrick
S
Rayner
S
Yousaf
P
Swinson
P
Price
P
Bartley
P
Farage
10 December [234] BBC Scotland BBC Pacific Quay, Glasgow ScotlandTBAP
Carlaw
P
Leonard
P
Sturgeon
P
Rennie
NININI
2019 United Kingdom general election debates in Northern Ireland
DateOrganisersVenueViewing figures
(millions)
 P Present   S Surrogate   NI Not invited   A Absent   I Invited   N No debate  
DUP SF SDLP UUP APNI
8 December UTV Queen's Film Theatre, Belfast [235] TBAS
Little-Pengelly
P
O'Neill
P
Eastwood
P
Aiken
P
Long
10 December [236] BBC Northern Ireland Broadcasting House, Belfast TBAS
Donaldson
P
O'Neill
P
Eastwood
P
Aiken
P
Long

Campaign events

Before candidate nominations closed, several planned candidates for Labour and for the Conservatives withdrew, principally because of past social media activity. At least three Labour candidates and one Conservative candidate stood down, with two of the Labour candidates doing so following allegedly antisemitic remarks. [237] Two other Conservative candidates were suspended from the Conservative Party over antisemitic social media posts, but retained their candidacy for the party. [238] [239] [240] [241] The Liberal Democrats removed one of its candidates over antisemitic social media posts, and defended two others. [242]

Several former Labour MPs critical of Corbyn endorsed the Conservatives. [243] Meanwhile, several former Conservative MPs, including former deputy prime minister Michael Heseltine, endorsed the Liberal Democrats and/or independent candidates. [244] A week before election day, former Conservative prime minister John Major warned the public against enabling a majority Conservative government, to avoid what he saw as the damage a Johnson-led government could do to the country through Brexit. Major encouraged voters to vote tactically and to back former Conservative candidates instead of those put forward by the Conservative Party. [245]

Floods hit parts of England from 7 to 18 November. Johnson was criticised for what some saw as his late response to the flooding [246] [247] after he said they were not a national emergency. [248]

The Conservatives banned Daily Mirror reporters from Johnson's campaign bus. [249] [250]

On 27 November, Labour announced it had obtained leaked government documents; they said these showed that the Conservatives were in trade negotiations with the US over the NHS. The Conservatives said Labour was peddling "conspiracy theories", [251] with Raab later suggesting this was evidence of Russian interference in the election. [252]

A terrorist stabbing attack occurred in London on 29 November; owing to this, the political parties suspended campaigning in London for a time. [253]

The 2019 NATO summit was held in Watford on 3–4 December 2019. It was attended by 29 heads of state and heads of government, including Donald Trump. [254]

On 6 December, Labour announced it had obtained leaked government documents which they said showed that Johnson had misled the public about the Conservatives' Brexit deal with the EU, specifically regarding customs checks between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, which Johnson had said would not exist. [255]

Third-party campaigns

In February 2021, an investigation by openDemocracy found that third-party campaign groups "pushed anti-Labour attack ads to millions of voters ahead of the 2019 general election spent more than £700,000 without declaring any individual donation". [256] These included Capitalist Worker and Campaign Against Corbynism, both of which were set up less than three months before the election and quickly disappeared thereafter. [256] A further investigation, also reported by the Daily Mirror, found that a group run by Conservative activist Jennifer Powers had spent around £65,000 on dozens of advertisements attacking Corbyn and Labour on housing policy without declaring any donations. [257]

During the campaign, the i had reported that Powers was "a corporate lobbyist who is a former employee of the Conservative Party" and that her group had been one of "16 registrations completed since 5 November". [258] openDemocracy, meanwhile, reported on the new phenomenon of U.S.-style, Super PAC-esque groups in British elections in an article called "American dirty tricks are corroding British democracy". [259] Adam Ramsay, who wrote the article, contacted Powers and got her to admit to being an associate at the trade consultancy firm Competere, which was set up by lobbyist Shanker Singham, who works for the neoliberal think tank, the Institute for Economic Affairs. [259] Powers' group, "Right to Rent, Right to Buy, Right to Own", made claims that Labour wanted to "attack property rights in the UK" and "your mortgage will be harder to pay under Labour". [257] [260]

openDemocracy also reported that, during the election campaign, the pro-Labour group Momentum spent more than £500,000, the European Movement for the United Kingdom spent almost £300,000 and the anti-Brexit groups Led By Donkeys and Best for Britain spent £458,237 and more than one million pounds respectively. [256]

Following these reports, former Liberal Democrat MP Tom Brake, who lost his seat in the election and is now director of the pressure group Unlock Democracy, wrote to the Electoral Commission, urging them to investigate. [257] These calls were echoed by Labour MP and former Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell, who insisted that "a serious and in-depth inquiry into third-party campaigning" was needed. [261]

Religious groups' opinions on the parties

Ethnic minority and religious leaders and organisations made statements about the general election, with some people within the religious groups being keen to express that no one person or organisation represents the views of all the members of the faith. [262] [263] [264] [265] Leaders of the Church of England stated people had a "democratic duty to vote", that they should "leave their echo chambers", and "issues need to be debated respectfully, and without resorting to personal abuse". [266]

Antisemitism in the Labour Party was persistently covered in the media in the lead up to the election. In his leader's interview with Jeremy Corbyn, Andrew Neil dedicated the first third of the 30-minute programme entirely for discussion of Labour's relationship with the Jewish community. [267] This interview drew attention as Corbyn refused to apologise for antisemitism in the Labour Party, despite having done so on previous occasions. [268] The UK's Chief Rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, made an unprecedented intervention in politics, warning that antisemitism was a "poison sanctioned from the top" of the Labour Party, and saying that British Jews were gripped by anxiety about the prospect of a Corbyn-led government. [269] Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Muslim Council of Britain and the Hindu Council UK supported Rabbi Mirvis's intervention, if not entirely endorsing it. [270] [271] Labour's only Jewish affiliate, the Jewish Labour Movement, said they would not be actively campaigning for Labour except for exceptional candidates. [272]

The Muslim Council of Britain spokesman stated Islamophobia "is particularly acute in the Conservative Party" and that Conservatives treat it "with denial, dismissal and deceit". [273] In addition they released a 72-page document, outlining what they assess are the key issues from a British Muslim perspective. The MCB specifically criticises those who "seek to stigmatise and undermine Muslims"; for example, by implying that Pakistanis ("often used as a proxy for Muslims") "vote en bloc as directed by Imams". [274] The Sunday Mirror had also claimed that many of the candidates campaigning for the Brexit Party were Islamophobic. [275]

The Times of India reported that supporters of Narendra Modi's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) were actively campaigning for the Tories in 48 marginal seats, [276] and the Today programme reported that it had seen WhatsApp messages sent to Hindus across the country urging them to vote Conservative. [277] [278] Some British Indians spoke out against what they saw as the BJP's meddling in the UK election. [265] The Hindu Council UK has been strongly critical of Labour, going as far as to say that Labour is "anti-Hindu" [279] and objected to the party's condemnation of the Indian government's actions in the disputed territory of Kashmir. [278] The perceived "parachuting" of the Labour candidate for Leicester East, a constituency with many British Indians disappointed many with Indian heritage; [280] specifically, no candidates of Indian descent were interviewed. The party selected (or re-selected) one candidate of Indian descent among its 39 safest seats. [281]

Endorsements

Newspapers, organisations and individuals had endorsed parties or individual candidates for the election.

Media coverage

Party representation

Overall evaluations in newspapers (weighted by circulation), 7-13 November 2019.
The Conservatives were the only party with an overall positive coverage, while Labour had the most negative coverage. Ukelection2019pressdiagram.png
Overall evaluations in newspapers (weighted by circulation), 7–13 November 2019.
The Conservatives were the only party with an overall positive coverage, while Labour had the most negative coverage.

According to Loughborough University's Centre for Research in Communication and Culture (CRCC), media coverage of the first week of the campaign was dominated by the Conservatives and Labour, with the leaders of both parties being the most represented campaigners (Johnson with 20.8%; Corbyn with 18.8%). [282] [283] Due to this, the election coverage has been characterised as increasingly 'presidential' as smaller parties have been marginalised. [283]

In television coverage, Boris Johnson had a particularly high-profile (30.4% against Corbyn's 22.6%). Labour (32%) and the Conservative Party (33%) received about a third of TV coverage each.

In newspapers, Labour received two-fifths (40%) of the coverage and the Conservatives 35%. Spokespeople from both parties were quoted near equally, with Conservative sources being the most prominent in both press and TV coverage in terms of frequency of appearance. Sajid Javid and John McDonnell featured prominently during the first week because the economy was a top story for the media. McDonnell had more coverage than Javid on both TV and in print. [282]

A large proportion of the newspaper coverage of Labour was negative. [284] James Hanning, writing in the British Journalism Review, said that, when reporting and commenting on Boris Johnson, Conservative supporting newspapers made little mention of "a track record that would have sunk any other politician". [204] In the Loughborough analysis, during the first week of the campaign, for example, the Conservatives had a positive press coverage score of +29.7, making them the only party to receive a positive overall presentation in the press. Labour, meanwhile, had a negative score of -70, followed by the Brexit Party on -19.7 and the Liberal Democrats on -10. [282] [285] Over the whole campaign, press hostility towards Labour had doubled compared with during the 2017 election, and negative coverage of the Conservatives halved. [171]

The Liberal Democrats were the party with the most TV coverage in the first week after Labour and the Conservatives, with an eighth of all reporting (13%). In newspapers they received less coverage than the Brexit Party, whose leader Nigel Farage received nearly as much coverage (12.3%) as Johnson and Corbyn (17.4% each). Most of this coverage regarded the Brexit Party's proposed electoral pact with the Conservatives. [282] The Brexit Party (7%) and the SNP (5%) were fourth and fifth in terms of TV coverage, respectively. [282]

Dominant issues

As during the 2017 election, the electoral process was the most covered media topic for this election (31% of all coverage). [171] Brexit was the most prominent policy issue on both TV (18%) and in the press (11%), followed by the economy and health (8% and 7% of all coverage respectively). [171] However, there was little focused analysis on what the implementation of Brexit policies might mean, in contrast the analysis of other manifesto commitments on the economy, for example. [171] How Brexit might affect the union between England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland received some prominence on TV but little coverage in the press. [171] According to the Centre for Research in Communication and Culture, "Standards/scandals" received as much coverage overall as health. [171]

Gender balance

Of the 20 most prominent spokespeople in media coverage of the first week of the election period, five were women, with SNP leader and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, in seventh place, the most featured. [282] Women (including, e.g., citizens, experts, pollsters, businesspeople, trade union representatives, etc.) featured in 23.9% of coverage and men in 76.1%. Men spoke three times as much as women in TV coverage, and five times as much in newspaper coverage. [282] [286]

Members of Parliament not standing for re-election

74 MPs who held seats at the end of the Parliament did not stand for re-election. [287] [288]

Opinion polling

The chart below depicts the results of opinion polls, mostly only of voters in Great Britain, conducted from the 2017 United Kingdom general election until the election. The line plotted is the average of the last 15 polls and the larger circles at the end represent the actual results of the election. The graph shows that the Conservatives and Labour polled to similar levels from mid 2017 to mid 2019. Following Johnson's election in July, the Conservatives established a clear lead over Labour and simultaneously, support for the Brexit Party declined from its peak in summer 2019. 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; moving average is calculated from the last 15 polls.
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Conservatives
Labour
Liberal Democrats
Brexit Party
SNP & Plaid Cymru
Greens
Independent Group for Change
UKIP Uk2022polling15average.png
Great Britain opinion polling; moving average is calculated from the last 15 polls.
  Conservatives
  Labour
  Liberal Democrats
  Brexit Party
  SNP & Plaid Cymru
  Greens
  Independent Group for Change
  UKIP

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.

PartiesElectoral Calculus [289]
as of 20 November 2019
Election Maps UK [290]
as of 17 November 2019
Elections Etc. [291]
as of 20 November 2019
BritainElects [292]
as of 20 November 2019
Conservatives
365
346
354
346
Labour Party 201211206211
SNP 46514551
Liberal Democrats 15182524
Plaid Cymru 4444
Green Party 1111
Brexit Party 0000
Others18 [293] 19 [294] 1818
Overall result (probability)Conservative
80 seat majority
Conservative
42 seat majority
Conservative
58 seat majority
Conservative
42 seat majority

Predictions two weeks before the vote

PartiesElectoral Calculus [289] [295]
as of 27 November 2019
Election Maps UK [296]
as of 28 November 2019
Elections Etc. [297]
as of 27 November 2019
YouGov [298] [299]
as of 27 November 2019
Conservatives
342
338
353
359
Labour Party 224226208211
SNP 41454443
Liberal Democrats 19142313
Plaid Cymru 4544
Green Party 1111
Brexit Party 0000
Others19 [300] 19 [301] 1919
Overall resultConservative
34 seat majority
Conservative
26 seat majority
Conservative
56 seat majority
Conservative
68 seat majority

Note: Elections etc does not add up to 650 seats due to rounding; the Speaker is shown under "Others" and not "Labour"; majority figures assume all elected members take up their seats.

Predictions one week before the vote

Prediction based upon polls:

PartiesElectoral Calculus [289]
as of 8 December 2019
Election Maps UK [302]
as of 6 December 2019
Elections Etc. [303]
as of 5 December 2019
UK-Elect [304]
as of 8 December 2019
Graphnile [305]
as of 11 December 2019
Spreadex [306]

as of 5 December 2019

Conservatives
348
345
346
354
352
341
Labour Party 225224218212221220
SNP 414345435244.5
Liberal Democrats 13141917N/A21
Plaid Cymru 4444N/A4
Green Party 1111N/A1.5
Brexit Party 0000N/A1.75
Others19 [307] 19 [308] 19 [309] 19 [310] 25N/A
Overall resultConservative
46 seat majority
Conservative
40 seat majority
Conservative
42 seat majority
Conservative
58 seat majority
Conservative
56 seat majority
Conservative
32 seat majority

Note: Elections etc does not add up to 650 seats due to rounding; the Speaker is shown under "Others" and not "Labour"; majority figures assume all elected members take up their seats.

Prediction based upon betting odds (assuming the favourite wins in each constituency):

PartiesOddschecker [311]
Conservatives
351
Labour Party 210
SNP 44
Liberal Democrats 18
Plaid Cymru 4
Green Party 1
Brexit Party 0
Others19 [312]
Too close to call3
Overall resultConservative
52 seat majority

Note: The Speaker is shown under "Others" and not "Labour"; majority figures assume all elected members take up their seats.

Final predictions

PartiesYouGov [313]
as of 10 December 2019
Electoral Calculus [314]
as of 12 December 2019
Election Maps UK [315]
as of 12 December 2019
Elections Etc. [316]
as of 12 December 2019
UK-Elect [317]
as of 11 December 2019
Spreadex [318]

as of 11 December 2019

Conservatives
339
351
344
341
348
340
Labour Party 231224223224217222
SNP 414145434443
Liberal Democrats 151314191721
Plaid Cymru 424444
Green Party 111111.5
Brexit Party 000101
Others1918 [319] 18 [320] 1919 [321] N/A
Overall resultConservative
28 seat majority
Conservative
52 seat majority
Conservative
38 seat majority
Conservative
32 seat majority
Conservative
46 seat majority
Conservative
30 seat majority

Exit poll

An exit poll conducted by Ipsos MORI for the BBC, ITV and Sky News, was published at the end of voting at 10 pm, predicting the number of seats for each party. [322] [323]

PartiesSeatsChange
Conservative Party 368Increase2.svg 51
Labour Party 191Decrease2.svg 71
Scottish National Party 55Increase2.svg 20
Liberal Democrats 13Increase2.svg 1
Plaid Cymru 3Decrease2.svg 1
Green Party 1Steady2.svg
Brexit Party 0New party
Others19Steady2.svg
Conservative 86 seat majority

Results

Equal-area projection of constituencies 2019 UK general election constituency map.svg
Equal-area projection of constituencies
Seats won in the election (outer ring) against number of votes (inner ring). Results of the UK General Election, 2019.svg
Seats won in the election (outer ring) against number of votes (inner ring).

The Conservative Party won, securing 365 seats out of 650, giving them an overall majority of 80 seats in the House of Commons. They gained seats in several Labour Party strongholds in Northern England that were held by the party for decades, which had formed the so-called 'red wall', such as the constituency of Bishop Auckland, which elected a Conservative MP for the first time in its 134-year history. In the worst result for the party in 84 years, [324] Labour won 202 seats, a loss of 60 compared to the previous election. [325] [326] This marked a fourth consecutive general election defeat. The Liberal Democrats won 11 seats, down 1, despite significantly increasing their share of the popular vote. Leader Jo Swinson lost her seat to Amy Callaghan of the SNP by 150 votes, and was thus disqualified from continuing as leader of the party. Former coalition cabinet minister and MP for Kingston and Surbiton Ed Davey was the winner of the leadership election which then took place in August 2020.

While the Conservatives gained support in England and Wales, they lost support in Scotland in the face of a major SNP advance. The Conservatives won in England, advancing by 1.7% and gaining 48 seats to win 345 out of 533, while Labour fell back by 8% and lost 47 seats to win just 180. [327] Labour won in Wales, though it lost 8% of its 2017 vote share and six seats, retaining 22 out of 40, while the Conservatives advanced by 2.5% and gained six seats, winning 14 in total. [328] The SNP won by a landslide in Scotland, advancing by 8.1% and gaining 13 seats to win 48 out of 59, gaining several seats from the Conservatives and Labour. The Conservatives lost 3.5% of their 2017 vote share and half their seats, while Labour was reduced to one Scottish seat (Edinburgh South). This was the same Scottish seat from the 2015-17 Parliament that returned the country's sole Labour MP, Ian Murray. [329] Among the Labour MPs who lost their seats in Scotland was: Lesley Laird, deputy leader of Scottish Labour and Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland. [330]

The SNP's leader Nicola Sturgeon described the result as a clear mandate to hold a new referendum for Scottish independence. [9]

In Northern Ireland, nationalist political parties won more seats than unionist ones for the first time. The DUP's leader in Westminster, Nigel Dodds, lost his seat in Belfast North. [331]

Analysis

Results of the 2019 general election by party vote share
Conservative >70%
Conservative 60%-70%
Conservative 50%-60%
Conservative <50%
Labour >70%
Labour 60%-70%
Labour 50%-60%
Labour <50%
Nationalist >50%
Nationalist 45%-50%
Nationalist 40%-45%
Nationalist <40%
Republican >50%
Republican 45%-50%
Republican 40%-45%
Republican <40%
Unionist 45%-50%
Unionist 40%-45%
Unionist <40%
Liberal Democrats >50%
Liberal Democrats <50%
Others 2019 General Election Results.png
Results of the 2019 general election by party vote share
  Conservative >70%
  Conservative 60%–70%
  Conservative 50%–60%
  Conservative <50%
  Labour >70%
  Labour 60%–70%
  Labour 50%–60%
  Labour <50%
  Nationalist >50%
  Nationalist 45%–50%
  Nationalist 40%–45%
  Nationalist <40%
  Republican >50%
  Republican 45%–50%
  Republican 40%–45%
  Republican <40%
  Unionist 45%–50%
  Unionist 40%–45%
  Unionist <40%
  Liberal Democrats >50%
  Liberal Democrats <50%
  Others
Constituencies gained in the 2019 general election (animated version) UK Election 2019 constituency gains (v2).svg
Constituencies gained in the 2019 general election (animated version)
Map detailing constituencies in which the Labour Party gained in vote percentage in the 2019 general election. Labour gains 2019.png
Map detailing constituencies in which the Labour Party gained in vote percentage in the 2019 general election.

The results have been attributed to leave-supporting areas backing the Conservatives, the Conservatives broadening their appeal to working-class voters, and the Conservatives making gains in the Midlands and the North of England. [332] Most notable was the 'red wall' turning blue in the election, which secured the Conservative majority. Voters cited Corbyn's leadership and Brexit as to why they either switched to the Conservatives or stayed at home. [333]

A YouGov post-election survey determined that the age over which a plurality of voters opted for the Conservatives was 39, down from 47 in the 2017 election. In contrast to previous elections, the YouGov survey additionally found that a plurality of voters in the DE social grade – comprising the unemployed, state pensioners, and semi-skilled and unskilled workers – had opted for the Conservatives over Labour. [334]

Between 26% and 33% of voters said they were trying to prevent a victory by the party they liked least, i.e. voting tactically. [335] [336] Recommendation by tactical voting websites had some benefit for Liberal Democrat candidates. [337]

The new Parliament reportedly had the highest number of openly LGBT MPs in the world, with 20 Conservative MPs, 15 Labour MPs and 10 SNP MPs who identify as LGBT. For the first time in both cases, the majority of elected Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs were female. [338] [339]

Summary

365202481124
ConservativeLabourSNPLDO
2019 UK parliament.svg

A summarised results of the parties that won seats at the election is as follows:

2019 UK General Election Winner%25.svg
PartyLeaderMPsVotes
Of totalOf total
Conservative Party Boris Johnson 365
365 / 650
13,966,56543.6%
Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn 202
202 / 650
10,269,07632.2%
Scottish National Party Nicola Sturgeon 48 [n 4]
48 / 650
1,242,3803.9%
Liberal Democrats Jo Swinson 11
11 / 650
3,696,42311.6%
Democratic Unionist Party Arlene Foster 8
8 / 650
244,1280.8%
Sinn Féin Mary Lou McDonald 7
7 / 650
181,8530.6%
Plaid Cymru Adam Price 4
4 / 650
153,2650.5%
Social Democratic and Labour Party Colum Eastwood 2
2 / 650
118,7370.4%
Green Party of England and Wales Jonathan Bartley
Siân Berry
1
1 / 650
865,7152.7%
Alliance Party of Northern Ireland Naomi Long 1
1 / 650
134,1150.4%
Speaker Lindsay Hoyle 1
1 / 650
26,8310.1%

Full results

e    d  Results of the December 2019 general election to the House of Commons of the United Kingdom [340] [341]
UK House of Commons 2019.svg
Political partyLeaderCandidatesMPs [342] Votes
TotalGainedLostNetOf total
(%)
TotalOf total
(%)
Change
(%)
Conservative Boris Johnson 6353655810Increase2.svg4856.213,966,45443.63+1.2
Labour Jeremy Corbyn 631202 1 61Decrease2.svg6031.110,269,05132.08−7.9
Liberal Democrats Jo Swinson 6111134Decrease2.svg11.73,696,41911.55+4.2
SNP Nicola Sturgeon 594814 1 Increase2.svg137.41,242,3803.88+0.8
Green Siân Berry and Jonathan Bartley 472 1 0000.2865,7152.70+1.1
Brexit Party Nigel Farage 275644,2572.01
DUP Arlene Foster 17802Decrease2.svg21.2244,1280.76−0.1
Sinn Féin Mary Lou McDonald 157 1 1 01.1181,8530.57−0.2
Plaid Cymru Adam Price 3640000.6153,2650.480.0
Alliance Naomi Long 18 1 1 0Increase2.svg10.2134,1150.42+0.2
SDLP Colum Eastwood 15220Increase2.svg20.3118,7370.37+0.1
UUP Steve Aiken 1693,1230.290.0
Yorkshire Christopher Whitwood2829,2010.090.0
Green (Scottish) Patrick Harvie & Lorna Slater 2228,1220.09
Speaker Lindsay Hoyle 1 1 1 1 00.226,8310.080.0
UKIP Patricia Mountain (interim)4422,8170.07−1.8
Ashfield Independents Jason Zadrozny 1 13,4980.040.0
Liberal Steve Radford1910,8760.030.0
The Independent Group for Change Anna Soubry 310,0060.03
Aontú Peadar Tóibín 79,8140.03
Monster Raving Loony Howling Laud Hope 249,7390.030.0
People Before Profit Collective27,5260.02
Birkenhead Social Justice Frank Field 1 7,2850.02
CPA Sidney Cordle276,4860.020.0
Heavy Woollen Independents Aleksandar Lukic 1 6,4230.02
SDP William Clouston203,2950.010.0
Animal Welfare Vanessa Hudson63,0860.010.0
North East Mark Burdon22,6370.01
Lincolnshire Independent Marianne Overton 1 1,9990.01
Green (NI) Clare Bailey 31,9960.01
English Democrat Robin Tilbrook 41,9870.010.0
Libertarian Adam Brown51,7800.010.0
Mebyon Kernow Dick Cole 1 1,6600.010.0
Proud of Oldham and SaddleworthPaul Errock21,6060.01
Independent NetworkIan Stephens 1 1,5420.0
Gwlad Gwyn Wigley Evans31,5150.00
Cynon Valley Andrew Chainey 1 1,3220.00
Veterans and People's Robin Horsfall21,2190.00
Burnley and Padiham PartyMark Payne 1 1,1620.00
Shropshire PartyRobert Jones 1 1,1410.00
Putting Cumbria First Jonathan Davies 1 1,0700.00
Peace John Morris29600.00
Wycombe IndependentsMatt Knight 1 9260.00
Justice & Anti-Corruption Donald Jerrard37280.00
Christian Jeff Green27050.000.0
Renew Julie Girling 45450.000.0
Workers Revolutionary Joshua Ogunleye55240.000.0
BNP Adam Walker 1 5100.000.0
Parties with less than 500 votes each 1 Decrease2.svg15,6970.02
Blank and invalid votes117,919
Total3429650010032,131,661 [343] 1000.0
Registered voters, and turnout47,587,25467.52−1.3
National vote share as a percentage between 1997-2019 National vote share.png
National vote share as a percentage between 1997-2019
Vote share
Conservative
43.6%
Labour
32.2%
Liberal Democrat
11.6%
Scottish National
3.9%
Green
2.7%
Brexit Party
2.0%
Democratic Unionist
0.8%
Sinn Féin
0.6%
Plaid Cymru
0.5%
SDLP
0.4%
Others
1.4%
Vote share of seats contested
Scottish National
45.5%
Conservative
44.9%
Labour
33%
Democratic Unionist
32.6%
Sinn Féin
27.2%
SDLP
17.8%
Liberal Democrat
12.3%
Plaid Cymru
11.2%
Brexit Party
5.1%
Green
3.4%
Parliamentary seats
Conservative
56.2%
Labour
31.1%
Scottish National
7.4%
Liberal Democrat
1.7%
Democratic Unionist
1.2%
Sinn Féin
1.1%
Plaid Cymru
0.6%
SDLP
0.3%
Green
0.2%
Alliance
0.2%
Speaker
0.2%
Parliamentary seats out of total contested
Scottish National
81.4%
Conservative
57.5%
Democratic Unionist
47.1%
Sinn Féin
46.7%
Labour
32%
SDLP
13.3%
Plaid Cymru
11.1%
Alliance
5.6%
Liberal Democrat
1.8%
Green
0.2%

Voter demographics

Ipsos MORI

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

The 2019 UK general election vote in Great Britain [344]
Social group % Con  % Lab  % Lib Dem  % Others % Lead
Total vote4533121012
Gender
Male4631121115
Female433412119
Age
18–24196291043
25–342751111124
35–44363913123
45–544628141218
55–644927111322
65+641711847
Men by age
18–24225910937
25–343148101117
35–544530141115
55+5821111037
Women by age
18–24176491047
25–342354121131
35–54373614131
55+592112838
Social class
AB453016915
C14532121113
C2473291215
DE41399112
Men by social class
AB472915918
C14731121016
C2483081418
DE43378126
Women by social class
AB4331171011
C14433131011
C2463391213
DE39409121
Housing tenure
Owned572212935
Mortgage4333141010
Social renter334571512
Private renter3146111215
Ethnic group
White4829121119
BME206412444
Qualifications
No qualifications592371136
Other qualifications4733101014
Degree or higher343917105
EU referendum vote
Remain2048211128
Leave73153958
Did not vote2652101226
2017 general election vote
Conservative8836385
Labour8808472
Lib Dem111963744
Did not vote334691213
Aged 18–34 by social class
AB265213926
C12455101131
C2275191324
DE186381145
Aged 35–54 by social class
AB422920913
C14432131112
C24431101513
DE35429147
Aged 55+ by social class
AB601714943
C1592013839
C2612181040
DE532691227

YouGov

YouGov polling after the election suggested the following demographic breakdown:

2019 UK general election vote in Great Britain (demographic breakdown) [345]
Social group Con  % Lab  % Lib Dem  % SNP  % Green  % Brexit  %Others %
Total vote4432124323
Gender
Male4631124322
Female4435114321
Age
18–242156116411
25–292354124411
30–393046145312
40–494135135322
50–594928124332
60–695722113232
70+6714112222
Men by age
18–242846127422
25–493540145322
50–645128123343
65+6415113142
Women by age
18–24156510541
25–493245125311
50–645028124321
65+6418102222
Social class
AB4232164311
C14334124322
C2493194331
DE473484231
Highest educational level
GCSE or lower5825114231
Medium4831114322
High (degree or above)2943174412
Household earnings
Less than £20,000453495334
£20,00039,9994731114223
£40,00069,9994335134311
Greater than £70,0004031204311

Seats changing hands

Seats which changed allegiance

Table of which were open seats

PartyCandidateIncumbent retiring from the HouseConstituencyConstituent nationDefeated byParty
Conservative Douglas Lumsden Ross Thomson Aberdeen South Scotland Stephen Flynn SNP
Labour Natalie Fleet Gloria De Piero Ashfield England Lee Anderson Conservative
Conservative Martin Dowey Bill Grant Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock Scotland Allan Dorans SNP
Independent Chris Altree (Labour) John Woodcock [lower-alpha 1] Barrow and Furness England Simon Fell Conservative
Labour Keir Morrison John Mann Bassetlaw England Brendan Clarke-Smith Conservative
Labour Susan Dungworth Ronnie Campbell Blyth Valley England Ian Levy Conservative
Independent Melanie Dudley (Labour) Ian Austin [lower-alpha 1] Dudley North England Marco Longhi Conservative
Independent N/A [lower-alpha 2] Sylvia Hermon North Down Northern Ireland Stephen Farry Alliance
Labour Carl Greatbatch Paul Farrelly Newcastle-under-Lyme England Aaron Bell Conservative
Liberal Democrats Karen Ward Norman Lamb North Norfolk England Duncan Baker Conservative
Labour Francyne Johnson Angela Smith Penistone and Stocksbridge England Miriam Cates Conservative
Independent Will Sweet (Conservative) Justine Greening [lower-alpha 3] Putney England Fleur Anderson Labour
Labour Sophie Wilson Kevin Barron Rother Valley England Alexander Stafford Conservative
Labour Ibrahim Dogus Tom Watson West Bromwich East England Nicola Richards Conservative
Labour James Cunningham Adrian Bailey West Bromwich West England Shaun Bailey Conservative
Labour Mary Wimbury Ian Lucas Wrexham Wales Sarah Atherton Conservative
Labour Mary Roberts Albert Owen Ynys Môn Wales Virginia Crosbie Conservative

Reactions in political parties

The election led to both Labour and the Liberal Democrats having leadership contests: the former as Corbyn resigned, the latter as Swinson failed to be elected as an MP.

The Labour leadership campaign was marked by conflicting analyses of what had gone wrong for the party in the general election. [346] There was debate as to whether Corbyn's unpopularity or their position on Brexit was more significant. [347] The 2020 Labour Together report, published by internal Labour party figures after Keir Starmer was elected as leader, highlighted issues such as Corbyn's unpopularity, the party's Brexit policy and poor seat targeting, as well as long-term changes in Labour's electoral coalition. [348] In openDemocracy , Jo Michell and Rob Calvert Jump argued that the report underplayed the fact the geographical redistributions, stating: "Labour’s decline in the North, Midlands and Wales is not the result of a dramatic collapse in its vote share, but changes in the distribution of votes between parties and constituencies." [349]

Successful Liberal Democrat MPs were critical in private of how the party had decided to advocate revoking the exercise of Article 50, and the communication of that policy. Some criticised the election campaign for being "hubristic" with its initial defining message that Swinson could be the country's next Prime Minister. [350] Ed Davey, the party's co-acting leader after the election, argued that the unpopularity of Corbyn lost the Liberal Democrats votes to the Conservatives. [351] On the other hand, Wera Hobhouse, who was re-elected by a majority of 12,322, [352] argued that the party had been wrong to pursue a policy of equidistance between Labour and the Conservatives in the general election campaign. Instead, she argued that the party should have concentrated more on campaigning against the Conservatives. [353]

See also

Footnotes

  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. [1] Sinn Féin won 7 seats, meaning a practical majority requires 322 MPs.
  2. Figure does not include the Speaker of the House of Commons Sir Lindsay Hoyle, who was included in the Labour seat total by some media outlets. By longstanding convention, the Speaker severs all ties to their affiliated party upon being elected as Speaker.
  3. 1 2 Nicola Sturgeon sits as an MSP in the Scottish Parliament for Glasgow Southside. Ian Blackford, MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber, is the SNP leader at Westminster.
  4. 1 2 Includes Neale Hanvey, who was suspended from the party at the time of his election and thus took his seat as an independent.
  5. Given that the 7 Sinn Féin MPs do not take their seats and the Speaker and deputies do not vote, they effectively have an 87-seat "working majority". [1]
  6. Persons without a permanent or fixed address can make a "Declaration of local connection" to a particular location in order to register [33]
  7. 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
  8. 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). [39]
  9. Adam Price sits as an AM in the Welsh Assembly for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr. The party's leader in the Commons is Liz Saville Roberts, the MP for Dwyfor Meirionnydd.
  10. Bartley sits as a councillor on Lambeth Council while Berry sits on the London Assembly. Bartley stood in the Dulwich and West Norwood constituency as the Green Party and Unite to Remain candidate. The party's sole member in the Commons is Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion and two-time former party leader.
  11. Farage was sitting as an MEP in the European Parliament for South East England. The party has no MPs in the House of Commons. All British MEPs resigned their seats on 31 January 2020.
  12. Arlene Foster is MLA in the Northern Ireland Assembly for Fermanagh and South Tyrone. The party's leader in the Commons is Jeffrey Donaldson, the MP for Lagan Valley.
  13. Mary Lou McDonald sits as a TD in Dáil Éireann for Dublin Central. Sinn Féin adopts an abstentionist policy at Westminster, and none of its seven MPs has taken their seat.
  14. As well as being a Westminster MP, Colum Eastwood also an MLA in the Northern Ireland Assembly for Foyle.
  15. Steve Aiken is an MLA in the Northern Ireland Assembly for South Antrim.
  16. Naomi Long is MLA in the Northern Ireland Assembly for Belfast East, and was previously one of the three MEPs for Northern Ireland. The party's sole representative at Westminster is Stephen Farry, who is MP for North Down.
  17. Sylvia Hermon was originally elected as the Ulster Unionist Party MP for North Down in 2001, before becoming an independent in 2010 due to her opposition to the UUP's link-up with the Conservative Party. She stood down at the 2019 election.
  18. Channel 4 described this as a leaders-only debate, and refused to accept Michael Gove as substitute. [219]

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