UK general election 2024: everything you need to know (2024)

Unlock the Editor’s Digest for free

Roula Khalaf, Editor of the FT, selects her favourite stories in this weekly newsletter.

The UK general election is days away and, as the nation prepares to vote, pollsters are predicting a landslide victory for the Labour party. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, whose campaign has been plagued by mishaps, has urged voters to support the Conservatives to avoid a sweeping Labour majority, while Reform UK, Green and Liberal Democrat leaders are seeking to win over voters disillusioned with the two main parties.

Here is a guide to the people and pledges that will shape the vote on July 4.

Labour party

UK general election 2024: everything you need to know (1)

Since becoming Labour leader in 2020, Sir Keir Starmer has worked to convince business leaders and voters that his party can be trusted with the nation’s purse strings. It has pledged to boost economic growth and ruled out increasing the rate of several taxes, but a lack of concrete revenue-raising proposals has led to accusations that the Labour manifesto is based on “vibes”.

Starmer has stated that wealth creation is Labour’s “number one priority”. However, fiscal experts have warned that any party that wins the election will need to raise taxes or cut spending significantly as the UK grapples with poor public finances.

Overview

IN NUMBERS

206Seats in parliament before dissolution

326Total seats needed to form a majority

What’s at stake: If Labour wins the July 4 general election, as polls predict, the challenge for the party will be to deliver on its promises of economic stability and improved public services.

You are seeing a snapshot of an interactive graphic. This is most likely due to being offline or JavaScript being disabled in your browser.

Labour’s key policies

You are seeing a snapshot of an interactive graphic. This is most likely due to being offline or JavaScript being disabled in your browser.

Five essential reads on Labour

LUNCH WITH THE FT: Keir Starmer: ‘People need hope, but it needs to be realistic hope’

THE CHANCELLORS’ DEBATE: Rachel Reeves: Wealth creation will be the defining mission of the Labour government

THE BIG READ: Could a Labour government break Britain’s planning deadlock?

NEWS IN-DEPTH: What Labour’s first 100 days in government would look like

INTERVIEW: Rachel Reeves: a shadow chancellor prepared for government

Conservatives

UK general election 2024: everything you need to know (4)

The Conservatives’ 14 years in power have been marked by turmoil and a series of stark contrasts. Rising employment levels and the pensions “triple lock” sit alongside a decline in real wages, a deterioration of public services, and the costs and complications of Brexit. Since the 2016 referendum, the party has struggled to contain infighting, having produced five prime ministers in nine years. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s promise to cut inflation has been kept, but pledges to reduce NHS waiting lists and “stop the boats” that bring in migrants have failed.

Overview

What’s at stake: The Conservatives’ biggest challenge this election is regaining the trust of ordinary voters to avoid an electoral wipeout. Several Tory “safe seats” are predicted to turn red or yellow as the nation grapples with a cost of living crisis, the longest NHS waiting list in memory and an economy described as the “sick man of Europe”.

You are seeing a snapshot of an interactive graphic. This is most likely due to being offline or JavaScript being disabled in your browser.

Key policies

You are seeing a snapshot of an interactive graphic. This is most likely due to being offline or JavaScript being disabled in your browser.

Five essential reads on the Conservatives

ANALYSIS: The legacy of 14 years of Conservative rule in charts

DATA POINTS: The seeds of the Tory collapse were sown in 2019

THE CHANCELLORS’ DEBATE:

Jeremy Hunt: Economic growth calls for more than stability — it demands ambition

FEATURE: Have the Tories squandered their years in power?

BIG READ: How the Conservatives lost touch with England’s prosperous south

Liberal Democrats

UK general election 2024: everything you need to know (7)

Traditionally the UK’s third major party, the Liberal Democrats have not been in power for more than a century, except as a coalition partner with the Tories from 2010 to 2015. Leader Sir Ed Davey’s manifesto pledge to secure a favourable trade deal with the EU has set the party apart in a political landscape largely devoid of any debate on Brexit. Earlier this year, Davey told the FT that the party expected to win votes from “Theresa May Conservative[s]” in Tory strongholds.

Overview

IN NUMBERS

15Seats in parliament before dissolution

What’s at stake: Ahead of the election, the Lib Dems “have a simple task — tell voters that they exist, persuade those voters that the Lib Dems should win, that the Conservatives can be beaten, and equally importantly that Labour cannot beat them”.

You are seeing a snapshot of an interactive graphic. This is most likely due to being offline or JavaScript being disabled in your browser.

Essential reads on the Liberal Democrats

ANALYSIS: ‘Project A30’: The Lib Dems’ plan to win over the South West

INSIDE POLITICS: Could the Lib Dems become the official opposition?

INTERVIEW: Liberal Democrat leader targets senior Tory seats at UK general election

DISPATCH: Nick Clegg bankrolls Lib Dem fightback in old Sheffield seat

Reform UK

UK general election 2024: everything you need to know (9)

Founded by Nigel Farage as the Brexit party, the since-rebranded Reform UK aims to tap into discontent with the major parties over issues including immigration. The party chose not to stand against the Conservatives in 2019, but is now fielding candidates in almost every seat. Described by its leadership as an “entrepreneurial political start-up”, Reform has been a growing force in the election, overtaking the Tories in some polls.

Though not expected to win many constituencies, Reform is likely to take support from the Tories that may cost the incumbent party a significant number of seats.

Overview

IN NUMBERS

1Seat in parliament before dissolution

What’s at stake: A strong Reform turnout is likely to be detrimental to Conservative hopes, but the party's future beyond being a rightwing protest vote remains unclear.

You are seeing a snapshot of an interactive graphic. This is most likely due to being offline or JavaScript being disabled in your browser.

Essential reads on Reform UK

ANALYSIS: How much of a threat is Reform UK to the Tories?

NEWS: Reform UK’s unusual structure with Nigel Farage in the middle

DISPATCH: Reform UK’s campaign: bootstrap funding, rogue candidates and a ‘weary’ Nigel Farage

SNP

UK general election 2024: everything you need to know (11)

The current largest party in Scotland, the Scottish National party dominates areas that were traditionally held by Labour. However, the party has struggled to raise campaign funds following a police investigation into alleged embezzlement of party coffers and the forced resignation of two leaders in as many years.

Overview

IN NUMBERS

43Seats in parliament before dissolution

What’s at stake: The SNP faces the challenge of repelling Labour in its traditional heartlands. The party is forecast to win 21 seats in Scotland, down from 48 in 2019. Independence, rejected by the Scottish people in a 2014 referendum, remains a long-term goal.

You are seeing a snapshot of an interactive graphic. This is most likely due to being offline or JavaScript being disabled in your browser.

Essential reads on the SNP

THE BIG READ: The SNP loses its grip on Scottish politics

NEWS: SNP pledges fresh independence talks if it gains majority of Scottish seats


ANALYSIS:
Dwindling donations and MPs at risk: the SNP’s struggle against Labour in Scotland


EXPLAINER:
What is the SNP legacy as John Swinney takes on the mantle in Scotland?

OPINION: The SNP juggernaut has veered off course

Green party

UK general election 2024: everything you need to know (13)

The Green party has moved beyond its traditional environmental focus to position itself as the pre-eminent leftwing Labour alternative, in the hopes of stealing voters disillusioned by Starmer’s policies on Gaza, taxation and public investment.

Overview

IN NUMBERS

1Seat in parliament before dissolution

What’s at stake: The Green party’s primary goal in the July 4 election is to increase its representation in parliament and influence policy on environmental issues as public concern over climate change grows.

You are seeing a snapshot of an interactive graphic. This is most likely due to being offline or JavaScript being disabled in your browser.

Essential reads on the Green party

NEWS IN-DEPTH: Greens aim to win voters ‘utterly uninspired’ by Keir Starmer
OPINION:
‘True blue’ turns Green as party rides countryside wave

Plaid Cymru

UK general election 2024: everything you need to know (15)

Plaid Cymru’s campaign has focused on advocating for the interests of Wales in Westminster. The party has emphasised the need for greater investment in the Welsh economy and healthcare system and has pledged £4bn in funds from HS2 to improve public transport in the country.

IN NUMBERS

4Seats in parliament before dissolution

What’s at stake? Party leader Rhun ap Iorwerth said the upcoming election was less about winning Downing Street than who would be fighting for “fairness and ambition for our nation”.

You are seeing a snapshot of an interactive graphic. This is most likely due to being offline or JavaScript being disabled in your browser.

How do you feel about the key election proposals?

UK general election 2024: everything you need to know (17)

What is the most important issue? Tell us what is driving your choice in the 2024 election here.

UK general election 2024: everything you need to know (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Aracelis Kilback

Last Updated:

Views: 6058

Rating: 4.3 / 5 (64 voted)

Reviews: 87% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Aracelis Kilback

Birthday: 1994-11-22

Address: Apt. 895 30151 Green Plain, Lake Mariela, RI 98141

Phone: +5992291857476

Job: Legal Officer

Hobby: LARPing, role-playing games, Slacklining, Reading, Inline skating, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Dance

Introduction: My name is Aracelis Kilback, I am a nice, gentle, agreeable, joyous, attractive, combative, gifted person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.