General Election - in The United Kingdom

In The United Kingdom

The term general election in the United Kingdom often refers to the election of Members of Parliament (MPs) to the House of Commons. These must be held every five years, but may be held more often at the discretion of the British Prime Minister.

The term may of course also be used to refer to an election to any democratically elected body in which all of the members are up for election. Section 2 of the Scotland Act 1998, for example, specifically refers to ordinary elections to the Scottish Parliament as general elections.

General elections in Britain traditionally take place on a Thursday; the last general election not on a Thursday was that of 1931.

The five year limit on the time of a Parliament can be varied by an Act of Parliament. This was done during both World Wars; the Parliament elected in December 1910 was prolonged to November 1918, and that elected in November 1935 lasted until June 1945. The House of Lords has an absolute vote on any Bill to extend the life of Parliament.

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