• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Outline the workings of three electoral systems currently used in the UK.

Extracts from this document...


Outline the workings of three electoral systems currently used in the UK. The system used in general elections throughout the UK is the First Past the Post (FPTP) system. Candidates in a constituency are listed along with the name of their party with the candidate that wins a plurality of votes in a constituency winning a single seat in the House of Commons, regardless of whether the majority of his constituency supports him. Voting is open to everybody over 18, as long as they are registered in a constituency and are not disqualified. The UK is divided geographically into around 650 single-seat constituencies of roughly equal size. A general election must be called at some point within five years of the previous election and takes place about four weeks after the date is announced. After the polls close the votes are counted with the winning candidate from each constituency invited to take a seat in Parliament. ...read more.


The two countries are divided into single seat constituencies. Voters mark a cross against a named party candidate for that constituency with the candidate receiving the plurality of votes taking a seat. As well as this, there are top-up seats that are voted for using a closed list system, in Scotland these amount to 43% of the total seats and in Wales 33%. On the ballot papers, voters also choose a party from a list. These top up seats are allocated by dividing the number of list votes a party has received by the number of constituency seats won, + 1. The party with the highest score receives the first top-up seat. This calculation is repeated until all top up seats are allocated, with each top-up seat a party gains being added to their constituency seats in the formula to allow the top-up seats to partially counter disproportionality in the constituency voting. How have Proportional Voting Systems affected party representation in the UK elections? ...read more.


results. Using only the first past the post system Labour would have won 72.6% of seats despite only winning 38.8% of the vote. The SNP would have received only 9.6% of seats despite having only 10% less of the total vote than Labour. The Tories would have won no seats despite a 15% share of the vote. The Lib Dems would have gained 2%more seats than representative of their 14.2% share of the votes. However, Labour won only 3 top up seats giving them 43.4% share of the total seats (5% more than proportional). They increased SNP seats by 400% and gave the Tories 18 seats. Overall, all parties bar Labour won a share of seats roughly within 2% of being proportional. The same system was used o elect representatives for the Welsh assembly, except with a lower proportion of top-up seats. Labour's 67.5% of constituency was reduced to 46.7% of total seats, in comparison to 37.6% of constituency votes. Plaid Cymru and the Conservatives won almost a proportional number of seats compared to the number of votes they received after they gained 40% each of the top up seats. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level United Kingdom section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level United Kingdom essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Assess the Criticisms of the Various Electoral Systems Used In the UK

    3 star(s)

    Other small parties like the BNP and UKIP failed to win any at all. The under-representation of minority groups is also abundant with the ftpt system. This is because in multi-member constituencies, parties will be happier to put forward candidates of all backgrounds and races but within single member constituencies,

  2. Electoral Systems Assignment

    It can be argued that with more than one MP to each constituency enables choice for the people so that they can decide who they wish to turn to rather than only having one option. Proportional Representation also tends to produce results which reflect that social and political make up of an electorate as a whole.

  1. Distinguish between the effects of FPTP and other electoral systems in the UK

    The list system therefore reduces the number of parties in Parliament which may or may not be beneficial to the electorate. Also, with FPTP a strong relationship between MPs and constituents is in place, the electorate knows who to lobby if they want a specific issue raised in Parliament whether

  2. Should the UK reform the Electoral System used for General Elections

    The third alternative system is the hybrid system and this contains two main forms, the Additional Member system and the Alternative Vote Plus system. A mixture of systems is combined, with the Additional Member system mixing the plurality system with the proportional system.

  1. 'Britain is in desperate need of electoral reform. The FPTP system is undemocratic.' Discuss.

    This is, therefore, not their true opinion and means they are going unrepresented. There is definite discrimination against such third parties as shown by these figures of the composition of the House of Commons; in 1945 there was only 10 seats held by third party members, moving to 49 in 1974 and finally 80 in 2001.

  2. The Labour Party.

    * Cutting direct taxes while raising indirect taxes e.g. VAT to the benefit of the better off. There since many views of these two ideologies are different and against each other the two ideology groups come into conflict and the best way available to them to solve these problems is to come to a 'compromise'.

  1. Electoral Systems.

    * In 1997, Labour won 43.3% of the total vote, but got 65.2% of the seats in Parliament, giving them power to form a government. Although 11 out of 20 British electors voted against the Government, it has complete power.

  2. Assess the advantage of using proportional representation electoral systems

    One of the main arguments for a majoritarian system (FPTP) that PR was not able to avoid was its capacity to avoid hung parliaments, however it had not always done so. But, FPTP?s historical tendency was to ?self-correct? at the election that followed.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work