Now that the polls have closed, we look at the candidates who stood in the 2024 election and what’s changed since 2019.

Number of candidates

A total of 4,515 candidates stood for election to Parliament in 2024, over a thousand more than in 2019 when 3,327 candidates stood.

There was an average of seven candidates per constituency across the UK, from almost 100 different political parties. Nine parties fielded over 50 candidates.

A total of 550 former MPs sought re-election, including 32 who had not been MPs during the 2019-24 Parliament. Based upon candidates’ web pages and social media profiles, we estimate that there were 3,121 male candidates and 1,385 female candidates. At least nine candidates were non-binary or gender neutral.

Candidates by party

Five parties fielded candidates in over 600 constituencies, as shown in the chart below.

Chart showing the number of parliamentary candidates per party in the UK. Conservatives: 635. Labour: 631. Lib Dem: 630. Green: 629. Reform: 609. Workers Party of Britain: 152. Social Democratic Party: 122. SNP: 57. Heritage Party: 41. Plaid Cymru: 32. Other parties: 518. Independents: 459.

The Conservative Party fielded 635 candidates, the highest number of any party in this election and the same as in 2019. This total includes candidates for all but two of Great Britain’s 632 constituencies: Chorley, where the current Speaker is standing for re-election unopposed by the three main parties and Rotherham where the Conservative candidate withdrew at short notice and a replacement was not available. In Northern Ireland the Conservative Party fielded candidates in five out of the 18 constituencies.

The Labour Party put forward 631 candidates, one in every constituency within Great Britain (excluding Chorley) – the same number as in 2019.

The Liberal Democrats fielded 630 candidates in Great Britain only, 19 more than in 2019. The Green Party put forward 629 candidates across the UK, 131 more than in 2019. Reform fielded candidates in 609 seats in Great Britain.

The SNP fielded candidates in each of the 57 constituencies in Scotland and Plaid Cymru candidates stood in all 32 constituencies in Wales. 459 candidates represented other parties across the UK and 518 stood as independents (including the Speaker).

Distribution of candidates

On average across the UK there were 6.9 candidates per constituency. Northern Ireland had the highest number of candidates per constituency (7.6) and England the least (6.9), as shown in the chart below.

Among the regions of England, London had the highest number of candidates per constituency (7.7) and the East Midlands had the least (6.4).

The constituency of Richmond and Northallerton had the highest number of candidates (13) followed by the three constituencies of Ealing Southall, Holborn and St Pancras and Oxford East which each had 12 candidates. In Chorley (where the Speaker is seeking re-election) there were five candidates; the Speaker, the Green Party, Democracy for Chorley and the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition.

The average number of candidates per consistency was 7.6 in Northern Ireland, 7.4 in Scotland, 7.3 in Wales and 6.9 in England. 88 constituencies had five candidates, 183 had six, 175 had seven, 125 had eight, 52 had nine, and 27 had 10 or more.

Gender of candidates

We estimate that there were 1,385 female candidates representing 31% of all candidates – a lower percentage than in 2019 (34%), as shown in the chart below. The Labour Party had the highest proportion of female candidates (47%), followed by the Green Party (44%) and the SNP (39%). Reform had the lowest proportion of female candidates (16%) among parties fielding more than 30 candidates.

The estimated percentages of female candidates per party are 47% for Labour, 44% for Green, 39% for SNP, 37% for the Heritage Party, 43% for Conservatives, 28% for Plaid Cymru and the Lib Dems, 23% for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition, 20% for the Social Democratic Party, 18% for the Workers Party of Britain and 16% for Reform. The total percentage of female candidates has increased from 14% in 1987 to 34% in 2019, and it is 31% in 2024.

Eight parties put forward only female candidates. Most of these parties only fielded one candidate, with the exception of Sovereignty (two candidates) the Women’s Equality Party (four candidates) and the Party of Women (16 candidates).

In 50 seats all the candidates were male, whereas there were no seats with all female candidates.

We haven’t asked candidates about their gender identity, but at least nine candidates explicitly identified themselves as non-binary or gender neutral on their candidate web pages or social media platforms; four candidates representing the Greens, three representing the Liberal Democrats, one representing Plaid Cymru and one independent candidate.

Further reading

A summary of successful candidates and defeated former MPs is included in our research briefing, General election 2024 results.

You can read more about election night, counts and how results are announced in our explainer on what happens when the polls close, which will also include a link to a list of successful candidates on July 5th.

About the author: Rachael Harker is a senior researcher in the Social and General Statistics section of the Commons Library.

Photo credit: Russss on Wikimedia Commons