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UK General Election 2024: First Past The Post Voting System

Different countries use different voting systems and here in the UK it is First-Past-The-Post read on to find out more

Beds SU

By Beds SU

Wednesday, 3 July 2024

We are aware for students voting in the UK General Election for the first time both home and international students may have questions as to the system used. Below is a short definition of the system and a little history.


The system used in UK during in General Elections, where MPs are seeking to gain/keep a seat in the House of Commons, is known as First-Past-The-Post (FPTP) and in a literal sense means the candidate with the most votes in the constituency they are representing wins the seat and a position in Parliament.

Here in the UK there are 650 constituencies and over recent weeks you will have had pamphlets from different parties and individuals through your door as they seek to share their commitments locally and seek your support.

On Polling Day you will see the name of the local candidate and the party they are representing on your ballot paper.
Is the system fair?

The system is fair and democratic as in each candidate must have the more votes than any other candidate standing to gain a seat and the party elected ideally gains the majority of seats. On the whole parties who are elected to ‘run’ the country do gain a majority and govern solely however there have been cases where coalition governments need to be appointed as was the case in 2010 where the Conservative party governed with Liberal-Democrats.

There is an argument against the current system and you will see in manifestos by the Liberal Democrats, The Green Party and Reform UK a pledge to change the system if elected. The rationale being these parties feel that voters are not being represented in Parliament because the party they voted for has fewer seats, or voters use ‘tactical voting’, voting for either of the two main parties (at present Conservative or Labour) as they don’t have confidence in their candidate or their party winning the election.

You can find out more about the voting system here in the UK on the Government website or the BBC as two sources or in this video from the Electoral Commission.

There will also be full election coverage on the 4 July across the TV and radio channels and news websites.