• Research Briefing

    The Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill [Bill 63 of 2010-11]

    This Paper has been prepared for the Second Reading debate in the House of Commons. The Bill seeks to enable the next general election to be fought under the Alternative Vote system, provided this change is endorsed in a referendum on 5 May 2011 and boundary changes have been made to reduce the size of the House of Commons to 600. New rules for the redistribution of seats are designed to give primacy to numerical equality in constituencies and regular redistributions would take place every five years.

  • Research Briefing

    Fixed-term Parliaments Bill [Bill 64 of 2010-11]

    The Fixed-term Parliaments Bill was introduced to the House of Commons on 22 July 2010. The proposals are part of the Coalition Agreement between the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties, agreed after the May 2010 General Election. The Bill fixes the date of the next General Election at 7 May 2015, and provides five year fixed-terms. There are provisions to allow the Prime Minister to alter the date by Order by up to two months. There are also two ways in which an election could be triggered before the five year term: if a motion of no confidence is passed and no alternative government is found within 14 days; or a motion for an early General Election is agreed either by at least two-thirds of the House or without division.

  • Research Briefing

    Local elections 2011

    Elections are due on Thursday 5 May 2011 in 279 English local authorities. Elections will also be held on the same day to the Scottish Parliament, National Assembly for Wales and Northern Ireland Assembly. Scottish Council elections due in 2011 have been deferred until 2012 (and next in 2017 before returning to a 4-year cycle). In Northern Ireland, elections to the existing 26 local councils are also due to be held on 5 May 2011

  • Research Briefing

    Reducing the size of the House of Commons

    The Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill was introduced on 22 July 2010 and introduces new Rules for Redistribution which make provision for the number of constituencies to be reduced to 600. This note looks briefly at the current Rules for Redistribution and at recent calls for the Rules to be changed; details of the length of time it has taken to carry out periodical reviews of Parliamentary constituencies are also given. A summary of the Bill's main provisions is also included.

  • Research Briefing

    Local elections 2010

    This paper summarises the results of the local and mayoral elections held on 6 May 2010. Elections were held in all 32 London boroughs, 36 metropolitan boroughs, 20 unitary authorities, and 76 shire districts. Labour had a net gain of 17 councils, the Conservatives a net loss of seven and the Liberal Democrats a net loss of one. Four incumbent mayors were re-elected: in the London Boroughs of Hackney, Lewisham and Newham (all Labour), and in Watford (Liberal Democrat). The UK General Election was held on the same day.

  • Research Briefing

    Timing of Parliamentary election counts

    There has been speculation in the press about the timing of counts at the general election. This note looks at the statutory requirements concerning the count and summarises recent reports suggesting that the count will be moved from Thursday night to Friday in certain areas.

  • Research Briefing

    2010 General Election: new constituencies; seats and swing

    The 2010 General Election will use new constituency boundaries in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. In Scotland the boundaries will be the same as 2005. After the election there will be 650 seats in the House of Commons, four more than the 646 now. In partisan terms, the new areas give a net benefit to the Conservatives. If the 2005 election had been fought on the new boundaries the Conservatives would have gained around 12 additional seats and Labour seven fewer.