Plus: When will the next general election be?by Prospect Team / December 13, 2019 / Leave a comment
You asked, and we answered: five statistics to know about the General Election results and what happens next, with Prospect’s snap analysis.
The turnout of the 2019 General Election was 67.3 per cent—slightly lower than the June 2017 general election but higher than 2001 or 2005.
Snap analysis: There had been some discussion of a far lower turnout: both because of the weather, which is often (probably wrongly) assumed to lower voters’ enthusiasm, and because enthusiasm for the main parties seemed to be low. It seems, however, that the electorate was roughly as determined to have their say as they were last time.
Love, Labour’s lost
The pattern of Conservative results shows that the party did relatively well in strong leave areas, but less well in strong remain ones.
Labour, however, lost votes in both. BBC analysis of its vote share showed that while it suffered a 10.4 per cent loss in leave areas, it also lost 6.4 per cent of the vote share in strong remain constituencies.
Snap analysis: The constructive ambiguity on Brexit which allowed the party to succeed against a weak Conservative campaign in 2017 faltered this time.
Labour gained exactly one seat from the Conservatives in the election: Putney, from the Conservatives.
Snap analysis: Aside from changing voter demographics, the seat had been heavily targeted by London Labour activists with a strong doorknocking campaign.
Refuge of Sinners?
Both the DUP and Sinn Féin have lost votes since 2017, with the DUP losing 6 per cent of the vote share and Sinn Féin losing 19 per cent. The biggest increase in vote share went to the SDLP, who saw a 17.7 per cent increase, taking them to an overall vote share of 57 per cent.
Snap analysis: With Northern Ireland now without an assembly for almost two years, the results could finally force the DUP and Sinn Féin to agree a deal to restore Stormont, with the Irish Language Act—which has previously been a sticking point—potentially set to be introduced.
For the longest time
With a Conservative majority of over 75, the next election is likely to be determined by the terms of the fixed-term parliament act (rather than the government disintegrating before its term is up, as happened in 2015 and 2017.) That means the next election would be in 2024.
Snap analysis: A lot can change over five years—and Brexit is still a destabilising force in politics. One question is what Boris Johnson can do to unite the Conservative party and whether its various factions will hold together as the UK leaves the EU. With such a hefty majority, though, the chances of a full five years is high.