News Leak Centre

No Fear No Favour

Understanding the 2024 UK Election: Processes, Key Issues, and Potential Impacts

The United Kingdom is set to hold its first national election in about five years on July 4th, following Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s surprise snap general election announcement in a rain-soaked statement outside 10 Downing Street in late May. In the weeks leading up to the election, all major parties in the UK have launched their manifestos, outlining their plans for the next Parliament, participating in televised debates, and rallying voters across the country. This election, called earlier than many expected, raises questions about the timing, the main issues at stake, and the potential implications for the rule of law in the UK.

The UK operates a “first past the post” electoral system. There are 650 constituencies, each represented by a Member of Parliament (MP). On election day, voters go to their local polling station to vote for their preferred candidate in their constituency. The candidate with the most votes becomes the MP for that constituency and takes a seat in the House of Commons. The political party with the most MPs forms a majority and is invited by the King to form a government. If there is no clear majority, this creates a hung parliament, leading to options such as forming a minority or coalition government or holding another election.

General elections in the UK must be held at least every five years, but the specific timing is decided by the Prime Minister, who then asks the King to dissolve Parliament. The last general election was held in December 2019, when Boris Johnson’s Conservative party won a fourth term in office. While most commentators expected Sunak to call an election in October or November, he surprised many by scheduling it for July, despite the Conservative party trailing behind Labour in the polls. In his speech, Sunak cited “two major milestones” related to the economy: reducing inflation and faster economic growth compared to other G7 countries. Some speculate that he called the election early because the Conservatives’ standing was unlikely to improve, and their favorability with the public was likely to diminish.

Following the election announcement, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer stated that it was “time for change” away from “Tory chaos.” Labour has held a significant lead in the polls, with many predicting a landslide victory. Other parties include the Liberal Democrats, the Green Party, the Reform Party, and the Scottish National Party (SNP) and Plaid Cymru. With the cost of living and the economy being top concerns for the British public, these will be major topics of debate. Labour has proposed £7.4 billion in tax increases, including VAT on private school fees and a broader windfall tax on oil and gas companies. They plan to use this to fund £4.8 billion in new spending for more teachers, nurses, and green investments. The Conservatives have pledged to cut £17 billion in taxes by reducing national insurance rates while also aiming to reduce borrowing and debt. The Liberal Democrats plan to improve relations with the EU and raise £27 billion through taxes such as capital gains and windfall taxes on fossil fuels, while the Greens support a wealth tax and Plaid Cymru focuses on achieving a fairer allocation of central government funds for Wales.

The Conservatives have committed to recruiting 92,000 more nurses and 28,000 more doctors. Labour has promised to cut waiting times by adding 40,000 more appointments every week. The Liberal Democrats plan to increase the number of community doctors and ensure cancer patients begin treatment within 62 days of an urgent referral. The Greens want to increase the NHS budget by £8 billion in the first year. Sunak’s Rwanda plan has faced multiple legal challenges. He has now said that no flights to Rwanda would take off until after the election if he is re-elected. Labour has pledged to scrap the Rwanda plan and redirect £75 million from it to form a new Border and Security Command to tackle people smuggling. The Liberal Democrats would also scrap the Rwanda scheme and provide safe and legal routes for asylum seekers. The Reform Party, led by Nigel Farage, has proposed a tax on businesses employing overseas workers (excluding the health and social care sectors) and has focused on reducing immigration.

The upcoming UK election promises to be a defining moment in British politics. The timing of this election, amidst a turbulent socio-economic landscape, has intensified political discourse. With critical issues such as the economy, healthcare, and immigration at the forefront, voters face crucial choices that will shape the country’s future. The UK political landscape is set to change significantly after 14 years of continuous Conservative governance.

Also Read| Tragic Repeat: Five Family Members Found Hanging in MP, Echoing Delhi’s Burari Incident

Author:- Apoorva Arora

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *