UK elections 2024: Which are the main parties and what are they promising? (2024)

The United Kingdom is heading to the polls on July 4 after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced snap elections on May 22.

Parties vying for the 650 seats in the House of Commons, the lower house of the UK Parliament, have all released manifestos detailing where they stand on issues including the economy, the National Health Service (NHS), immigration and the UK’s relationship with the European Union.

The last general election in the UK was in December 2019 when Boris Johnson led the ruling Conservative Party back to power. After Sunak’s announcement, parliament was dissolved on May 30 and the country entered a period known as “purdah”, during which time civil servants and local governments must refrain from making any announcements about new initiatives or plans that might be seen as advantageous for one particular political party. Purdah does not restrict political candidates from canvassing for votes, however.

These are the main political parties – and the promises they are making – in the lead-up to the general election:

UK elections 2024: Which are the main parties and what are they promising? (1)

Conservatives

Also known as the Conservative and Unionist Party or, informally, the Tories or Tory Party

Political alignment:centre-right to right

Formed in:1834

Manifesto: Reduce borrowing and debt, cut taxes by 17.2 billion pounds ($22bn) annually by 2029-2030. Increase NHS spending above inflation and recruit 92,000 more nurses and 28,000 more doctors. Raise defence spending to 2.5 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP). Build on post-Brexit relationships in Europe. Impose a binding cap for legal migration and deport asylum seekers who arrive by irregular means to Rwanda

Current leader: Rishi Sunak

In power since:2010 (first five years in coalition with Liberal Democrats) under Prime Minister David Cameron, followed by Theresa May, Boris Johnson, Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak

Seats in House of Commons in outgoing parliament: 344

Support in latest polls: Twenty percent of those polled on said they intend to vote Conservative, as of June 18, according to YouGov, the British public opinion and data monitoring company. The Conservative Party won 43 percent of the popular vote in 2019.

Labour

Political alignment: centre-left

Formed in: 1900

Manifesto: Introduce new industrial strategy, and focus on wealth creation rather than raising taxes. Cut NHS waiting times by adding 40,000 more health appointments each week, and double the number of cancer scanners. Scrap the government’s plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda and instead tighten border security and improve relationship with Europe.

Current leader:Keir Starmer

Last in power: 1997 to 2010 under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown

Seats in House of Commons in outgoing parliament: 205

Support in latest polls: 36 percent. The party won 32 percent of the vote in 2019.

Liberal Democrats

Political alignment: centre to centre-left

Formed in:1988 through the union of the Liberal Party, founded in 1859 and a powerful force through the 19th and early 20th centuries, and the Social Democratic Party

Manifesto: Improve relationship with European Union. Focus on renewables. Increase the number of doctors and pay for care workers. Raise defence spending to at least 2.5 percent of GDP per year. Scrap the Rwanda scheme and lift a ban on asylum seekers working. cut greenhouse gas emissions by 2045, employ a mental health professional in every school.

Current leader: Ed Davey

In power: 2010 to 2015 in coalition with Conservatives under Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, then leader of the Liberal Democrats.

Seats in House of Commons in outgoing parliament: 15

Support in latest polls: 14 percent. In 2019, the party won 12 percent of the vote.

Greens

Political alignment: left-wing eco-politics

Formed in:1990

Manifesto: Raise taxes on the wealthy. Bring railway, water and energy companies under state control. Increase the NHS budget. Cancel Trident, the UK’s nuclear deterrent programme. Help migrants “put down roots” and end minimum income requirement for spouses of work visa holders. Rejoin the EU. Stop all new fossil fuel extraction, and rely on wind and solar power. Scrap university undergraduate fees

Current leaders: Carla Denyer and Adrian Ramsay

Seats in House of Commons in outgoing parliament: one

Support in latest polls: 7 percent — a historic high. The party won 1 percent of the vote in 2019.

Reform UK

Political alignment:right wing

Formed in: 2019 (as Brexit Party)

Manifesto [or a contract with voters, as the party calls it]: Speed up infrastructure projects. Remove bureaucracy by scrapping employment laws that make it hard for employers to hire and fire workers. Reduce tax on buying property, cut taxes for front-line NHS and social care staff, offer tax relief on private healthcare. Recruit 30,000 new army staff and increase defence spending. Detain and deport undocumented immigrants. Scrap the more than 6,700 EU regulations that the UK retained after Brexit. Ban “transgender ideology” in schools.

Current leader:Nigel Farage

Seats in House of Commons in outgoing parliament: one

Support in latest polls: 18 percent. The Brexit Party won 2 percent of the vote in 2019.

Scottish National Party

Political alignment:centre-left

Formed in:1934

Manifesto: Achieve independence for Scotland from the UK. Protect the NHS from privatisation and austerity, increase investment in hospitals, schools, rail and road infrastructure. Scrap Trident. Increase maternity pay. Rejoin the EU. Scrap the Rwanda scheme. Demand an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

Current leader:John Swinney

Seats in House of Commons in previous parliament: 43

Support in latest polls: 3 percent. It won 4 percent of the vote in 2019.

Plaid Cymru

Political alignment:Centre-left to left wing

Formed in:1925

Manifesto: Achieve independence for Wales. Institute fair funding for Wales. Recruit 500 more general physicians. Increase child benefit payments by 20 pounds ($25) weekly. Rejoin the EU and single market.

Current leader: Rhun ap Iorwerth

Seats in House of Commons in previous parliament: three

Support in latest polls: 1 percent. It won 0.5 percent of the vote in 2019.

UK elections 2024: Which are the main parties and what are they promising? (2024)
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