Brown to call UK election


Reports in the British media today are suggesting that British Prime Minister Gordon Brown will visit the Queen today to dissolve the Parliament and trigger a UK general election for Thursday, 6 May.

After a long period of Conservative dominance in the polls, the Labour Party has been clawing back ground over the last few weeks and months, bringing the Conservative lead in most polls below 10 points, raising the prospect of a hung parliament, even possibly with Labour as the largest party, due to the pro-Labour bias in the electoral system. The Conservative Party has pushed its lead back up to around 10% in polls since about last Wednesday, but that trend isn’t universal.

Today’s Guardian ICM poll is reporting a Conservative lead of only 4%, which is one of the closest polls seen this year, but not far off what recent polls have been indicated. Such a poll would raise the prospect of Labour remaining the largest party, despite polling less than the Conservatives.

David Cameron’s Conservatives remain the clear frontrunner in this election, but it is much less clear now than a few months ago. Labour has successfully pulled the Conservative lead back from the stratospheric figures we saw in 2009, such that the prospects of a hung parliament have become very strong.

I’m planning to post a number of times about the UK election over the next month, including profiles of the election in each region. I am currently rushing to finish my map of the 1997 UK electoral boundaries. I have finished the 1997 maps of Northern Ireland and Wales and have completed most of England, barring Lancashire, Cumbria and the North East, and I hope to have it finished this week, followed closely by the Scottish boundaries (which were also used for the first three Scottish Parliament elections). You can download these works-in-progress now. Of course, you can also download the maps for the new boundaries being used in 2010 for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland:

Boundaries for the 2010 UK general election. Click to enlarge.
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  1. Just for convience more than anything else. General Election changes are based on the last election, therefore Norwich North will be a Con GAIN or Lab WIN, Dunfermline and Fife West will be a Lib Dem GAIN or Lab WIN, Glasgow East will be an SNP GAIN or Lab WIN and Buckingham will be announced as a Con HOLD (as when Parliament is dissolved, the Speaker will also no longer be the Speaker and has to be re-appointed post election)

  2. Got to love the election coverage. Moments ago, live on international television, David Cameron bicycling down the road without his helmet on. Oh dear.

  3. It seems according to the UK electoral commission that at least 59 constituencies won’t be counting the votes on election night, but will count them the following day instead. I know that’s what usually happens in Northern Ireland, but how widespread has that been elsewhere at recent elections?

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