Students' Guide to the May 2015 Elections (General Elections)

On 7th May 2015, General Elections are taking place in the UK. If you don’t register to vote by the April deadline, you will be unable to vote.

Houses of Parliament and Union Flag

Registering to vote / the electoral roll

You must be registered to be able to vote. The registration deadline for these elections is 20th April 2015. As a student, you may be able to register both at home and at your term-time address. You can register if you are a British, Irish, Commonwealth or EU citizen who is residing in the UK, but you can only vote in the General Election if you are eligible to vote in General Elections.

Being registered on the electoral register (also known as electoral roll) can also be good for your credit rating.

See the About my vote – information for students page for more information.

What are the elections for?

At the General Election, the public votes for Members of Parliament (MPs) who will represent the people of the UK in the House of Commons. This is one of the two houses of Parliament. (The House of Lords is not elected).

After the General Election, the leader of the party with the most MPs is asked by the Queen to become Prime Minister and to form a government that will run the country.

The About my vote – UK Parliament page gives you a quick overview.

What candidates and parties are there?

faceless figure in a suit

The nomination period for candidates is still open at time of writing. However, you can look up the list of candidates who have confirmed they will be standing for election in your consistency on the Your Next MP website.

Who is representing you at the moment?

Parliament will be dissolved on 30th March. Until then, you can find our who your MP is on TheyWorkForYou.com. (Once parliament has been dissolved, you are not represented by an MP until new ones have been elected, so it’s possible no MP might be listed at that point)

Which party stands for the things I believe in?

There are some tools which can help you figure out which political parties promise policies most similar to your own views. Vote for Policies (which is quite in-depth and includes all main parties) and Vote Match (quick & easy, but does not include every party) show you different statements & promises so you can choose which ones you find agreeable. The sites then show you which parties you are most closely aligned with.

There are, of course, other considerations when voting: you might find that a party which broadly agrees with you has better chances of getting their MP elected than a party which matches your views more closely, so you might vote strategically. However, as a first step, it’s worth using the online tools to see what sort of things the parties stand for.

Who’s likely to win this election?

Until the election, no one knows. At time of writing, the forecasts vary significantly.