British Electoral System

Topics: Tony Blair, Conservative Party, United Kingdom Pages: 9 (2948 words) Published: March 4, 2006
The maturity of the political system in Britain has gradually shaped the British community. Britain at present is considered to be a Liberal Democratic state and one main component is the capacity of the government to conduct an election to allow the people to voice their needs in the national level. Election is the heart or the core of a democratic state , removing this would deprive the people of their right. After five years or if the Parliament was dissolved by the Queen with of course the Prime Minister's advise, there will be an election using the "First-past-the-post" electoral system. Here the candidates can win seats in the Parliament by plurality of votes that the candidate received in his or her district. But then this form of electoral system attracted number of critics regarding the biases it constituted in the government. According to critics, only the large political parties (Conservative and the Labour Party) benefit in this scenario; those with equally strong support in different districts, gain more seats rather than those who concentrated on one area alone and; the small parties suffered the consequences of having weak and widespread support. British election has been the founding element that will contour the parties' policies and motives.

The British people have already witnessed several elections that later on shaped the political way of life of Britain. These elections are highly competitive among the different parties, each presenting themselves better than the other parties and most especially maintaining their status quo or a probable of increasing their power over their constituents. Party image and public opinion generates the shaping of the British electoral results.

The 1997 British General Election was the time of a new power and rule under the Labour Party. The election on May 1, 1997 was one of the most talked about election in Britain for it passed on the rule of the Conservatives to the Labour. The Labour party under the leadership of Tony Blair, the successor of the late John Smith who died of a heart attack in May 1994, won a landslide victory and gained the largest seat for any administration since 1935. With this new leadership, a breath of fresh air in the political scene brought new hopes from the people that their needs will be addressed properly and immediate action will take place. Despite the Labour Party gaining most seats in the Parliament their victory constituted just 30.9 per cent of the qualified voters. The said election was also favorable among the Liberal Democrats (party) as they increased the number of seats in the Parliament. They also won their first Euro-seats but they still hoped to annex South of England. Among the Conservatives, this election was by far the worst election they have, ending almost 18 years of their supremacy, as they received the lowest seat since 1906 and that they also lost a quarter of the votes they earned in 1992 General election. Listed are the percentages of vote during the election: Labour – 43%; Conservatives – 31%; Liberal Democrats – 17% and Others – 9.3%. With these statistics, indeed the 1997 General Election has been a turning point in the British Government ending the old Thatcherism and the beginning of the preeminence of a new political party, the Labour Party. Alongside with these changes were different views among the public and scholars on what the Labour Party carried out to achieve such a complete turn-around, managing to get victorious despite the power and influence of the Conservative Party. As manifested in the 1997 British General Election both the party image and public opinion from the people secured the votes for the rise of the new rule of the Labour Party.

The British Parliament consists of a number of political parties with different ideologies, platforms and future hopes for Britain but only two parties emerged as the dominant forces, the Labour Party and the Conservative...

Bibliography: Blackburn, Robert. The Electoral System in Britain. Great Britain: Macmillan Press LTD, 1995

Butler, David; Westlake, Marlin. British Politics and European Elections 1994. Great Britain: Macmillan Press LTD, 1995

Jones, Bill, ed., 2004. Politics UK. 5th Ed. Essex, England: Pearson Education Limited.

Budge, Ian et al, 2004. The New British Politics. 3rd Ed. Essex, England: Pearson Education Limited.
Clarke, H.D. et al. New Models for New Labour: The Political Economy of Labour Party Support, January 1992 – April 1997. The American Political Science Review 92/3 (September 1998): 559-575
Evans, G
Fielding, S. The Labour Party and the Politics of Democracy. The Journal of British Studies 38/4 (October 1999): 486-492
Johnston, R
Margetts, Helen. The 1997 British General Election: New Labour, New Britain?. West European Politics 20/4 (October 1997):180-191
Morwitz, Vicki et al
Rossiter, D.J. et al. Redistributing and Electoral Bias in Great Britain. British Journal of Political Science 27/3 (July 1997): 466-47
Article On-line
"British Election." Socialist Review Aotearoa New Zealand
Issue 1 (June/July 1997). Internet; February 16, 2006
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • “The British Electoral system is in need of a reform.” Discuss Essay
  • England electoral system Essay
  • Electoral System in Uk; Political Parties Essay
  • Electoral System Essay
  • The Electoral System in the UK: Pros and Cons Essay
  • criticisms of various electoral systems in the uk Essay
  • Strenghts and weaknesses of electoral systems used in uk Essay
  • First Post The Past Electoral System Essay

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free