Foreign Affairs

Guide to Voting in the UK 2024: What to Know About the United Kingdom General Election

July 2024
By Ambrogio Mantegazza

This Thursday, elections will be held in the United Kingdom to renew the Westminster Parliament. This is a straightforward electoral round because the “first-past-the-post” system is used. This means that the candidate who gets the most votes in a constituency is elected as a Member of Parliament (MP) for that constituency.

This process occurs in each of the 650 constituencies into which the country is divided, reflecting the number of MPs in London.

Focusing on today’s political debate, the central issues are the economy, with particular attention to inflation, rising living costs, and wage stagnation. Additionally, public health, especially the NHS crisis, more restrictive immigration policies, and the response to climate change with energy transition measures, are topics of significant discussion.

Finally, Brexit continues to influence the UK’s international relations and trade agreements. Many are beginning to think the decision may not have been wise, also influenced by subliminal messages from the Crown.

It appears to be a portrait of a country eager for change. And that seems to be the case according to the polls. We are indeed likely to witness the success of the Labour Party led by Keir Starmer. This liberal left has moved past the dark times of Jeremy Corbyn’s maximalism and has revived Tony Blair’s era.

On the other hand, we will see the downfall of the Conservative Party led by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. According to the polls, the Tories could drop from 43% in 2019 to about 20%. If we add that this sentiment is widespread throughout the country, even in historically right-wing constituencies, it suggests that the number of Conservative seats will be very few.

However, the main architect of this disaster is not Labour but Nigel Farage. The founding father of Brexit, with his Reform UK party polling at 17%, is set to further erode Conservative support (in 2019, Farage and Johnson had made a deal to withdraw Reform UK candidates in favor of the Tories).

“Things can only get better,” said the soundtrack of Blair’s 1994 campaign. After 30 years, the same concept of New Labour still manages to inspire (and govern) the center-left in the United Kingdom. But dreams aside, we are now ready and informed to follow the British electoral marathon on Thursday evening.