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The Election Process

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The Election Process
2010 General Election
The last UK General Election was held on 6th May 2010. No single party won an overall majority of the 650 House of Commons seats. The conservatives won 305 seats, representing 10.7 million votes (36%). Labour won 258 seats, representing 8.6 million votes (29%). The Liberal Democrats won 57 seats, representing 6.8 million votes (23%).
The Liberal Democrats and The Conservatives joined together to make a coalition because no one had enough votes to win on their own.
The Process of a General Election
Fixed Term Parliament Act was passed on 15 September 2011, meaning that General Elections are now held on the first Thursday in May every five years.
The date of the next general election is set at 7 May 2015.
There are two situations in which a General Election will be called earlier than at five intervals. (i) A motion of no confidence has been passed by the House of Commons against the Government and 14 days has passed without the House of Commons passing a confidence motion in any newly formed Government; or (ii) A motion for a General Election is agreed by two thirds of the total number of MP’s in the House of Commons (currently 434 out of 650). You don’t do that unless you’re confident you can win that election.
Once the Government has decided to call a General Election (either because the five years is up or an early election is needed), the Prime Minister will ask the Monarch to dissolve Parliament by Royal Proclamation.
As well as dissolving Parliament, the Royal Proclamation also orders the issue of Writs of Elections (election campaign has started), which require an election to be held in each constituency in the UK. During this time, MP’s and their staff are not allowed to enter the House of Commons, although they will continue to get paid because they will continue to work from home, and then they try to win an election in their area.
The election is held 17 working days after the date of the Proclamation.

Election Candidates
Who can be a candidate?
Candidates in a UK General Election must meet the following criteria: * They must be aged 18 or above * They must be a British citizen, a citizen of a Commonwealth country or a citizen of the Republic of Ireland.
Who cannot be a candidate?
A person will not be eligible to be a candidate in a UK General Election if: * They have been declared bankrupt * County Court Judgement. A letter sent out to you for you to pay the phone bill. If you don’t pay it, you are issued with a County Court Judgement. You cannot get a mortgage for 6 years after this * They are a convicted prisoner who is serving a sentence of 12 months * They have been found guilty of certain election offences * They are already eligible to sit and vote in the House of Lords * They are already employed as a police officer, a member of the armed forces, or a judge.
Standing as an election candidate
To stand as a candidate for a General Election, you need to: * Obtain nomination papers from your local returning officer (a senior officer employed by the local authority) * Complete it along with the signatures of 10 electors in the constituency you are intending to stand * These should be returned about two weeks before polling day
Nominations will include a description of the candidate of up to six words, which will appear on the ballot paper. From this description electors should be able to identify the candidate, and it must not be confusing in any way.
Ten things you need to know about become an election candidate
Daily Mirror article ‘How to become an MP: Ten steps to joining the Commons people’.
URL: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/how-to-become-an-mp-ten-steps-395216
Election spending
The amount parties are allowed to spend during an election depends on the number of constituencies they are contesting and where these constituencies are located.
In England parties are allowed to spend £810,000 or £30,000 per constituency contested, whichever is greater. In Scotland they are allowed to spend greater of £120,000 or £30,000 per constituency, and in Wales they are allowed to spend the greater of £60,000 or £30,000 per constituency contested
Parties have three months from the end of the campaign period (or six months for those with experience over £250,000) to submit to the Electoral Commission details of their spending return. This need to list all payments made by the party and includes invoices or receipts for payments of over £200.
You can’t cheat the money. You can’t spend no more. You only have a certain amount of time after, to get your accounts in place. Financial Commissioner will tear through it to ensure you don’t spend more.
Party Election Broadcasts
Party election broadcasts are carried on television and radio by BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Five, Classic FM, talkSPORT and Virgin 1215 services.
Major parties will typically be offered a series of broadcasts before each election.
Other registered parties may qualify for a broadcast on the basis of contesting one sixth or more of the seats up for election (although all four nations are considered separately).
Broadcasts by the Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats must be carried in peak time (6 PM – 10:30 PM). All other parties’ broadcasts should be carried out in the period 5:30PM – 10:30PM.
Campaigning
The purpose of any election campaign is to convince registered voters to vote for the candidate the parties want them to.
Parties campaign by way of: * Canvassers * Leaflets * Local Press * Press Releases * Online Campaigning
Question time will be in the leading 17 days, and they will be arguing with each other on TV. Someone sharing their argument, people put their hands up, and then people will continue to argue throughout. They critique each other.…...

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