Our Privacy Statement & Cookie Policy

By continuing to browse our site you agree to our use of cookies, revised Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can change your cookie settings through your browser.

I agree

How Britain's First Past the Post system influenced the election result

Micahel Voss in London


Britain has what is called a First Past the Post electoral system, aimed at producing strong governments and limiting the influence of minority parties.

When voters go to the polls, they put a cross by just one candidate from each local area and whoever gets the most votes becomes that region's Member of Parliament.

There is no reward for coming second in this "Winner Takes All" system which can produce disproportional results in either direction for the smaller parties.

In the latest general election, for example, the newly formed right wing populist party, Reform, came third in terms of the percentage of the national vote, with just over 14 per cent.  But it only won four of 650 seats in parliament.

The Liberal Democrats, on the other hand, won 12 per cent of the vote which gave them a record 71 seats.

Another winner from this system are regional parties whose votes are concentrated in particular areas.

For years the Liberal Democrats, who had just eight seats at the last election, have been calling for some form of Proportional Representation.

This is where the distribution of seats more closely represents the proportion of votes cast for each party across the whole country.

Now they are joined by the Reform Party in calling for a change.

How Britain's First Past the Post system influenced the election result

Subscribe to Storyboard: A weekly newsletter bringing you the best of CGTN every Friday

Search Trends