Now that the polls have closed, we take a look at the candidates who stood in today’s election and what’s changed since 2015.

3,304 candidates stood for election to Parliament today, 667 (16.8%) fewer than in 2015.  There were candidates from 71 different political parties (not including the Labour and Co-operative Party as a standalone party). 31 parties fielded three or more candidates. 661 former MPs sought re-election, including 43 who weren’t MPs during the last Parliament.

The numbers by party

The Conservative Party fielded 638 candidates, the highest number of any party this election (although nine fewer than in 2015). Conservative candidates stood for all of Great Britain’s 632 constituencies except Buckingham, where the current Speaker is standing for re-election as an independent unopposed by the three main parties. In Northern Ireland the Conservative Party fielded candidates in seven out of 18 constituencies.

The Labour party put forward 631 candidates, one in every constituency in Great Britain except Buckingham – the same number as in 2015.

Candidates by party: Conservative 638, Labour 631, Liberal Democrat 629, Green 467, UKIP 378, SNP 59, PC 40, Other 462.

The Liberal Democrats fielded 629 candidates in Great Britain only, two fewer than in 2015. The Green Party put forward 467 candidates across the UK, 106 fewer than in 2015.

In the build-up to the election the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party formed a “progressive alliance”, deciding not to stand against each other in certain seats. In Brighton Pavilion the Liberal Democrats did not stand against the Green joint-leader (and only MP) Caroline Lucas, whereas in Brighton Kemptown the Green Party did not compete against the Liberal Democrat candidate. In Skipton and Ripon the Liberal Democrat candidate stood down in favour of the Green candidate and vice versa in Harrogate and Knaresborough.

UKIP had 378 candidates across Great Britain, 346 fewer than in 2015. They put forward 336 candidates in England, 10 in Scotland and 32 in Wales.

The SNP and Plaid Cymru fielded candidates in every constituency within their respective countries. 462 candidates stood as either independents or representing other parties across the UK (including the Speaker).

The choice of candidates

On average across the UK there were 5.1 candidates per constituency. Northern Ireland had the highest number of candidates per constituency (6.1) while Scotland had the least (4.5).

Average number of candidates per constituency: UK 5.1, England 5.1, Scotland 4.5, Wales 5.3, Northern Ireland 6.1. In 19 constituencies there were only 3 candidates and in 13 constituencies there were 8 or more.

Theresa May’s constituency, Maidenhead, had the highest number of candidates (13) followed by Islington North (Jeremy Corbyn) and Hackney South & Shoreditch (Meg Hillier), which both had 10 candidates. In Buckingham, where the Speaker is seeking re-election, there were four candidates: the Speaker, UKIP, the Green Party and an independent.

Highest-ever proportion of female candidates

We estimate that there were 973 female candidates, the second highest number on record – 2015 had the highest number of female candidates (1,033). Even though the number of female candidates decreased compared to 2015, the proportion of female candidates is the highest ever (29.4%) because the overall number of candidates has fallen.

Proportion of female candidates by party: Conservative 28.8%, Labour 40.6%, Liberal Democrat 29.3%, Green 35.2%, UKIP 13%, SNP 33.9%, PC 27.5%, Other 22.7%. The General Election 2017 had the highest proportion of female candidates ever, 29.4%.

Six parties put forward only female candidates. However, most of these parties only fielded one candidate, except the Women’s Equality Party which fielded seven.

Of the larger parties, Labour had the greatest proportion of female candidates, followed by the Greens and the SNP. With the exception of UKIP all the major parties increased their proportion of female candidates on 2015.

We haven’t asked candidates about their gender identity, but at least three candidates were non-binary or gender neutral: one candidate representing the Liberal Democrats and two representing the Greens.

Picture credit: Polling station sign (London) by DescrierCreative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC by 2.0)