From University tuition fees, to Brexit, to climate change; this may be a snap election but there is a lot riding on it. The outcome of this election will determine the makeup of the Government for the next 5 years and likely shape the future we move towards.

This is why it’s important you register to vote and have your say.

All you need is your National Insurance number, so if you have it - great! Start the ball rolling and REGISTER HERE - it only takes 5 minutes.

If you don't know your National Insurance number, you can find it in the following places:

  • Your Student Finance Log-in
  • Payslips
  • Tax returns
  • P60 or P45s
  • Letters about benefits or tax credits

Resources

Take one of the quizzes below to find out what party your political beliefs are most in line with and how political parties have voted on certain issues:

Here are some simple guides to politics to help you out:

You can keep up to date with politics on BBC - it should be noted that no corporation is inherently impartial, you should get your news from a variety of sources:

 

Question Time – Thursdays, 22:30, BBC1

A weekly political panel show hosting academics and politicians covering a range of political beliefs. Question Time is filmed in front of a live audience where panel members address questions from the audience. Hosted by David Dimbleby.

Catch up with past episodes here.

 

Prime Ministers Questions – Wednesdays, 12:00 noon, BBC1

The PMQs are filmed live from the Houses of Commons. Each week the Prime Minister will debate current issues with the opposition leader. Members of Parliament will then be allowed to address questions to the Prime Minister concerning the nation or their constituency.

You can watch live on BBC iplayer.

 

Please select a question below to find out the answer.

Why should I vote?
When are the next elections?
Can I vote in both my home and term-time constituencies?
What is a general election?
Why is a general election being held now?
What is a constituency/ who is my MP?
How is the Prime Minister elected?
Who can vote?
Who should I vote for?
What if there is no one I would like to vote for?
How do I spot ‘fake news’?
What are marginals and what is tactical voting?
 

Why should I vote?
Since the General Election in 2010, tuition fees have trebled and education maintenance allowance - along with a whole host of other vital services - have been cut. Less than half of all students voted in 2010, so politicians didn't have a reason to care about what matters to students. Help change that by making your vote count.

You can also register to vote at both your home AND your university address, then choose which one you want to vote in on the day.
 

When are the next elections?

The General Election will take place on Thursday 8 June.

For information about elections in the Leeds City Council area, click here. Your local Council webpage should tell you details for your area.
 

Can I vote in both my home and term-time constituencies?

No you can only vote in one constituency but you can register in both.
 

What is a general election?

A general election is a vote held to decide which MP will represent each constituency in Parliament. The political party that has the majority of MP’s elected becomes the Government.

A general election is usually held on the first Thursday in May every five years.

 

Why is a general election being held now?

Theresa May has called a snap election. Although the Fixed Term Parliament Act states that an election should happen every five years, this can be overturned with the support of 2/3rds of MPs, which Theresa May obtained. 

The Prime Minister said she has called a general election because: “Division in Westminster will risk our ability to make a success of Brexit, and it will cause damaging uncertainty and instability to the country.”

 

What is a constituency/ who is my MP?

A constituency is an area of the country represented by one MP. The UK is currently divided into 650 parliamentary constituencies.

Head to Parliament UK and type in your postcode to find your constituency and your current elected MP.

In the general election you will vote for the MP you want to represent your constituency in the House of Commons.

You can only vote in one constituency but if you have two addresses you can register to vote at both and decide on 8th June which one you want to vote at.

 

How is the Prime Minister elected?

The party that wins the majority of seats in the general election will form the Government. A majority is over half so one political party would have to win 326 seats or more to become the majority Government.

The Prime Minister is the elected leader of the winning party.

 

The leader(s) of each major party are:

Conservative: Theresa May

Green Party: Caroline Lucas and Jonathan Bartley

Labour: Jeremy Corbyn

Liberal Democrats: Tim Farron

Scottish National Party: Nicola Sturgeon

Plaid Cymru: Leanne Wood

Sinn Féin: Gerry Adams

Democratic Unionist Party: Arlene Foster

Social Democratic and Labour Party: Colum Eastwood

Ulster Unionist Party: Robin Swann

UKIP: Paul Nuttall


Who can vote?

To vote in the election you must be:

  • 18 years old or above on 8 June 2017
  • Those registered to vote by the deadline of 22 May
  • A British, Irish or Commonwealth citizen
  • Be a resident in the UK or a British citizen living abroad who has been registered to vote in the past 15 years.
  • Not be legally excluded from voting

 

To be able to vote on the 8th June you must be registered to vote before the deadline (22 May).

You’ll also need to make sure you’re registered to vote. If you’re not sure if you have or not or think you may have moved house since the last time you registered we recommend  re-registering just to make sure. All you just need your National Insurance number. 

Go to this page to make sure you’re registered.

 

Who should I vote for?

In a democracy you have the right to vote for whichever party you want. When voting you should consider the voting record of candidates and how well they will represent you and your constituency. You may also consider the party you would overall like to see in government, as your vote will directly affect this.

Here you can find out how your current MP has voted in Parliament on specific issues. Below in the resources you’ll also find a list of vote matching websites that can help you decide who to vote for.

 

What if there is no one I would like to vote for?

If there are no parties that you want to vote for, an alternative is spoiling your ballot. To spoil your ballot, you must make a clear, definable mark on your ballot that does not indicate any preference for any of the candidates. You must be careful to not allow this mark to go within the box of any of the candidates, as this may be confused as a vote for them. Spoiling is a genuine option at every election, and is much better than simply not voting. By spoiling, you are keeping your voice, and saying that none of the candidates match up with your political opinions. 

 

How do I spot ‘fake news’?

Fake news is any article containing lies or incorrect information with a design to mislead or misinform the public. Lots of fake news articles popped up on social media in the run up to both the Brexit Referendum and the U.S. Presidential election, and these undoubtedly had an undue influence on voters. Facebook have a tool that you can connect to their page called ‘This is Fake’, it helps flag up stories that do not contain the truth. 

For other social media, it is important that you look out for any inflammatory headlines. For instance, in the run up to President Trump’s election victory, an article appeared on social media with the headline ‘WikiLeaks CONFIRMS Hillary sold weapons to ISIS’. This was untrue. It is important that if you are reading an article such as this that you check its sources. Ask how it got the information it is conveying, and ask why it may be conveying it. 

In general though these top tips from Facebook are a great signpost of important things to consider.

 

What are marginals and what is tactical voting?

Marginals seats are essentially seats where the vote between two or more parties is close the the the outcome could go either way and affect the outcome of the election.

Whilst there’s no official definition of what a marginal seat actually is statistically it’s generally consider constituencies to be such when the gap between the first and second placed parties is under 10%.

This is where tactical voting comes in. If living in a marginal some people choose to not vote for the party that aligns most with their views but instead with the the party closest to their views with the best chance of winning.

As students many of you may have an interesting option here. As you can register to vote at both your home AND your university address, and choose which one you want to vote in on the day it may be worth investigating if one of these constituencies is a marginal. Voting in a marginal rather than a ‘safe’ seat basically gives more weight to your vote and your vote (as undemocratic as that sounds). The BBC currently have an article outlining the marginals is a search function which you can find here.
 

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