UK General Election Scenario Analysis Impact on Policy, Theresa May and Sterling
In less than 24 hours the British electorate will start voting in the election for the 650-seat House of Commons with the result expected early in the morning of Friday 9th June.
While the last general election was only held two years ago, there is arguably as much if not more at stake this time round than in May 2015.
Opinion polls still point to the ruling Conservatives winning a record-high 44% of the national vote ahead of the opposition Labour Party, but polling agencies which in the past have misestimated true voting intentions still display great inconsistency.
Ultimately it is the number of seats which British parties command which matters and the UK’s first-past-the-post electoral system makes it difficult to predict.
You Gov’s constituency-specific model forecasts the Conservatives winning only 304 seats as a result of a record number of “wasted” votes, a 26-seat loss and well short of both a working and absolute majority. Labour would increase its seat numbers from 229 to 266.
This would result in a hung parliament and either a coalition or minority government.
My own model points to the Conservatives winning around 360 seats (55.4% of total) and Labour 212 seats. Admittedly, this prediction is based on a number of assumptions, namely the net share of votes which Conservatives gain from other parties as well as voter turnout.
Whether the Conservatives significantly improve on their current 330 seats or fail to secure a parliamentary majority remains a tough call and there is an almost infinite number of possible outcomes.
However, I have narrowed down in Figure 10 the number of seats the Conservatives could win to eight possible scenarios, in each case assessing i) Their probability; ii) Their numerical impact on the Conservatives’ majority (or lack thereof); and iii) The risk of opposition parties and/or Conservative backbenchers high-jacking the policy agenda.
Figure 11 assesses for each of the eight scenarios their likely impact on iv) Theresa May’s standing within the Conservative Party and v) Sterling and currency volatility.
Regardless of what happens tomorrow, two events beyond British shores also scheduled for 8th June – the ECB’s policy meeting and Former FBI Director James Comey’s testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee – will conceivably exacerbate Sterling volatility.
Less than 24 hours until UK elections…and still many possible scenarios and implications
In less than 24 hours, and only five days after the tragic terrorist attack in London, the British electorate will start voting in the election for the 650-seat House of Commons (lower house of parliament), with the result – based on precedent – expected early in the morning of Friday 9th June (see Figure 1).
While the last general election was only held two years ago, there is arguably as much if not more at stake this time round than in May 2015, including whether:
- Ruling Conservative Party leader and Prime Minister Theresa May – who was elected in a party vote in July – can secure a strong popular mandate;
- The conservative Party, which currently has 330 seats, will win or lose seats in the face of a resurgent opposition Labour Party (see Figure 2); and
- The winning party (or indeed coalition), which will negotiate with European Union (EU) leaders the terms and conditions of the UK’s exit from the EU and of the UK’s new deal with the EU, will enjoy a significant popular and parliamentary mandate.
Opinion polls still point to Conservatives being ahead of Labour but great inconsistency
Opinion polls point to a trend-fall in popular support for the Conservatives to around 44% and sharp rise for Labour to 36%, with the gap between the two main parties falling to about 8 percentage points (pp) from 22pp six weeks ago (see Figure 3). Aggregate support for the Liberal Democrats, UKIP, SNP and Green Party has inched higher to around 19% but has remained below 20% since mid-May.
Importantly, these polls exclude votes for i) the four Irish Northern Ireland Parties which are assumed to again 18 seats and roughly 2% of the national vote and ii) other smaller parties (including the Welsh Plaid Cymru party) and independent candidates which won 1.6% of the national vote in 2015. Assuming that this 3.5% of votes is proportionally subtracted from the main parties’ votes, the Conservatives would be on about 42.5% and Labour on 34.7%.
Should the Conservatives win 44% of valid votes, this would be the highest ratio in decades – a point which the press has seemingly failed to comment on. Even if the Conservatives won 42.5% of the vote, this would be the best performance by a winning party in 20 years. Labour’s 34.7-36% of the vote would broadly equate to the share of votes which the Conservatives won in 2005 and 2010 and which Labour under Tony Blair won in 2005 (see Figure 4)
However, there is still great discrepancy amongst polling agencies (see Figure 5), which in the past have misestimated true voting intentions (see UK Election Special – When Two Tribes Go To War, 2 June 2017). For example, while the latest poll by ICM conducted on 4th June has the Conservatives on 45% and Labour on 34%, the latest Survation poll (3rd June) has the gap at only one percentage point with the Conservatives on 40% and Labour on 39%.
You Gov predicts Conservatives will fail to translate large popular vote into large number of seats
While political parties in the UK (and the US for that matter) have in the past highlighted their share of the national vote, it is the number of seats which British parties command in the House of Commons which ultimately matters. The challenge is that the UK’s first-past-the-post electoral system makes it difficult to translate share of votes into actual seat numbers.
You Gov, as of 5th June, had the main parties polling broadly in line with the other polling agencies (see Figure 7). Moreover, their constituency-specific model forecast:
- Conservatives winning only 304 seats, a 26-seat loss and well short of both a working government and absolute majority (see Figure 6);
- Labour increasing its seat numbers from 229 to 266; and
- The main other parties seeing only negligible swings in their seat numbers.
This would result in a hung parliament and in all likelihood the Conservatives and Labour would separately try to cobble a coalition with one or more other parties in order to secure a working majority and form a government. However, You Gov estimates that its forecast margin-of-error is a sizeable 30% with the Conservatives winning anything from 265 to 342 seats.
What stands out is that You Gov is forecasting the share of seats won by the Conservatives, Labour and SNP to be only slightly higher than the share of the national vote that You Gov (and other polling agencies) expect. Conversely, the Liberal Democrats would win a smaller share of the seats than suggested by their polled share of the national vote (see Figure 7).
If You Gov’s forecast proves accurate it would represent a significant break in the historical relationship between the share of the national vote won by the winning party and runner-up and their share of the House of Common seats. Figure 8 shows that on average, in the past nine general elections, the winning party has won 40.3% of the national vote but a far larger 55.9% of the seats – a significant gap of 15.6pp which has never fallen below 9.5pp (in 1979) and was as high as 22pp in 2001.
In tomorrow’s election, however, You Gov predicts that the Conservatives will, by historical standards, win a large share of the national vote (42%) but a record-low share of the seats (46.8%). The gap between the two measures of 4.8pp would be considerably lower than the historical average of 15.6pp. Put differently, You Gov predicts that many of the votes won by the Conservatives will be “wasted”  and that effectively, for the first time in decades, the election outcome will resemble that of an election run under a Proportional Representation (PR) electoral system.
Forecast for Conservatives to win 360 seats – A modest gain of 30 seats
My own model points to the Conservatives winning around 360 seats – a net gain of 30 seats (the cross-over point of Scenarios 2 and 3) and Labour winning 212 seats (a loss of 17 seats). This would translate to the Conservatives winning 55.4% of the seats, a marginally lower-than-average share (see Figure 8), while Labour would win 32.6% of the seats.
However, this prediction is based on a number of assumptions, namely the net share of votes which Conservatives gain from other parties as well as voter turnout. Specifically, I assume that Conservatives will win seats from:
Conservatives are likely to win some marginal seats currently held by Labour in the North and Midlands where the electorate voted in favour of Brexit. In the 2015 elections Labour won 43 seats (out out of 232) with a margin of victory over the Conservatives of less than 10% of the overall votes (see Figure 9).
The swing in votes from Labour to Conservatives could be particularly large if voter-turnout for those aged under 30 – who in their majority support Labour according to recent polls – is true to history and remains low. The weather forecast for Thursday is cloudy with possible rain which could deter less committed voters and at the margin favour the Conservatives (poor weather on 23rd June arguably contributed to a still modest voter turnout of 72% at the EU referendum, which in turn likely aided the Leave vote – see UK Referendum: Blame the weather, not Brussels, 23 June 2016).
The Conservatives may also lose some seats to Labour – after all the Conservatives won 43 seats (out of 330) with a margin of victory over Labour of less than 10% of the overall votes. However, in net terms I would expect Labour to be the loser.
UKIP has been in turmoil and arguably shed much of its purpose since the British voted in favour of Brexit in the 23rd June EU referendum and I would expect a significant share of UKIP supporters to vote Conservative. While UKIP only won a unique seat in the 2015 elections it came third with 12.6% of the national vote. If we assume the same distribution of seats as in 2015 and that the Conservatives win 50% of UKIP votes, Conservatives would increase their seats by 37 to 367.
However, it is conceivable that Labour may also take some votes from UKIP. While the two parties are at opposite ends of the political spectrum regarding the UK’s membership of the EU, they both share populist platforms (a situation not too dissimilar to the recent French presidential elections where National Front candidate Marine Le Pen lost some votes in the first round to the far left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon).
Polls suggest that the SNP has lost some traction and that it may lose a few seats to the Conservatives. My analysis broadly tallies with You Gov’s recent poll which forecasts that the SNP would win only 46 seats (a loss of 8 seats).
My analysis is also broadly in line with You Gov in forecasting a broadly unchanged number of seats for the Northern Irish parties (18), Liberal Democrats (nine), Plaid Cymru (three) and the Green Party (one).
Eight possible scenarios to cater for still tough-to-call election result
Whether the Conservatives significantly improve on their current 330 seats or fail to secure a parliamentary majority, as You Gov currently predicts, remains a tough call. There is arguably an almost infinite number of possible outcomes with regards to seat-distribution. However, I have narrowed down in Figure 10 the number of seats the Conservatives could win to eight possible scenarios, in each case assessing:
- Their probability;
- Their numerical impact on the Conservative Party’s absolute and working government majority (or lack thereof); and
The risk of opposition parties and/or Conservative backbenchers high-jacking the policy agenda.
Figure 11 assesses for each of the eight scenarios their likely impact on:
- Theresa May’s standing within the Conservative Party and;
- Sterling and currency volatility
Scenario Analysis – Impact on absolute and working government majority
In order to win an absolute majority – i.e. 326 seats – the Conservatives can afford to lose four seats. However the “working government majority” (or simply working majority) is arguably the more relevant metric, reflecting the ability of the ruling party (or coalition) to command voting majorities and thus to govern. The Conservatives currently enjoy a working of majority of 17 seats, calculated as Conservative Members of Parliament (MPs) less all other parties but excluding MPs who typically don’t vote in parliament. In order to secure a working majority the Conservative Party would have to win at least 322 seats or so (put differently they would have to lose no more than eight seats).
Scenario 1: Conservatives win more than 400 seats
This would arguably qualify as a crushing landside victory with the Conservatives winning more than 61.5% of the seats – a new record for the Conservatives which in the past 45 years have never won more than 61.1% (Margaret Thatcher in 1983 elections – see Figure 12). If the Conservatives won more than 412 seats or 63.4% of the seats they would beat the record set by the Labour Party under Tony Blair in 1997.
Scenario 2: Conservatives win 360-400 seats
This would arguably qualify as a landslide victory. At the lower end (360 seats), the Conservatives would win 55.4% of the seats and a working majority of 77 seats, broadly in line with the long-run averages (see Figure 12). At the upper end (400 seats), the Conservatives would win 61.5% of the seats and a working majority of 157 seats – their best performance in recent history.
Scenarios 3 and 4: Conservatives win 330-359 seats
Conservatives would maintain their absolute and working majorities and in a best case scenario increase them to respectively 33 and 75 seats.
Scenarios 5 and 6: Conservatives win 322-329 seats
Conservatives could lose their absolute majority and their working majority would shrink to as low as 1 seat.
Scenario 7: Conservatives win fewer than 322 seats but more seats than Labour
Conservatives would lose both their absolute and working majorities and have to try and form a majority coalition with one or more other parties – no easy feat as few, if any, of the other parties are likely to have both a significant number of seats and a natural affinity with the Conservatives.
- For starters the main opposition parties, including the Scottish National Party (SNP), Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru and two of the four Northern Irish parties – Sinn Fein and the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) – favour the UK remaining within the EU. This is contrast to Conservative MPs who, with the exception of Kenneth Clarke, all voted in favour of the Brexit bill back in February (even if a sizeable number did so reluctantly given that their constituents had voted in favour of remaining in the EU in the 23rd June referendum).
- The SNP which is expected to win 45-50 seats has been at loggerheads with the Conservatives.
- The Liberal Democrats (expected to win 9-12 seats) would be reluctant to join a Conservative Party-led coalition given how badly they fared under such an arrangement in 2010-2015.
- The United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) is a staunch supporter of Brexit and reduced immigration into the UK and could arguably join a Conservative coalition. However, it is on course to win at best only a couple of seats and thus would be of little value to a Conservative Party well short of a parliamentary majority.
- The other two Northern Irish parties – the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and Ulster Unionists – have given their tacit support to Brexit. They are likely to retain a combined 10 seats in the House of Commons and could conceivably side with the Conservatives in key votes. But they would not formally join a ruling coalition, their 10-seats may prove numerically insufficient and their support would likely be conditional.
If both the Conservatives and Labour failed to create a working majority coalition, the Conservatives would likely try to govern as a minority party, with the associated risk of policy-gridlock and another early election.
Scenario 8: Conservatives win fewer seats than Labour
Labour would be in a commanding position to try and form a majority coalition with, depending on how many seats they were short, one or more parties including the SNP, Liberal Democrats and Plaid Cymru (the latter is expected to win 2-3 seats). All three parties share a pro-EU stance with Labour while Labour and the Liberal Democrats are reasonably well aligned in terms of tax policies. Jeremy Corbyn has so far stopped well short of confirming a possible two let alone three-way government but the lure of being in power would likely be too strong to resist.
Scenario analysis – Risk of opposition and/or Conservative backbenchers highjacking policy agenda
In order for Theresa May to have carte blanche to conduct policy on her own terms I estimate that the Conservative Party would likely have to win at least 360 seats – what I term a “true” working majority. Approximately 30 backbench Conservatives MPs are staunch eurosceptics in favour of a hard version of Brexit who have in the past rebelled and voted against the government. Moreover, a number of Conservative MPs have in the past abstained in key parliamentary votes.
Stripping out these 35 or so MPs would leave Theresa May with about 325 MPs (i.e. a narrow working majority) likely to support her policy agenda, which may include a softer version of Brexit – namely UK membership of the Customs Union and a tapered budget contribution to the EU budget in exchange for increasing control over EU immigration into the UK.
Moreover, a significant majority would make it easier for Theresa May to force through the Boundary Reform Act – the periodic re-drawing, to account for demographic changes, of the constituency boundaries defining the geographic area represented by each MP. Although Conservatives would likely be net gainers from this Act, some Conservative MPs would likely lose their seats and thus vote against such an Act. With a large parliamentary majority, Theresa May would stand a good chance of getting this Act through parliament, which would in turn further marginalise MP “outliers”.
Scenario analysis – Impact on Theresa May’s standing as party leader and Prime Minister
Theresa May on 18th April called for an early election, which parliament green-lighted the following day, despite having previously mothballed the possibility of bringing forward elections scheduled for May 2020.
The motivations behind her u-turn were arguably four-fold:
(1) Win a popular rather than party mandate;
(2) Capitalise on the massive lead in the polls the ruling Conservatives enjoyed over the opposition Labour Party and thus allow her to push through her own agenda, including a possibly softer form of Brexit and Boundary Reform Act (see above);
(3) Allow the government more time to secure a new EU trade deal; and
(4) Strengthen the government’s stance in negotiations with the EU.
While objective (4) is in my view at best tenuous, Theresa May ultimately took a gamble (undoubtedly calculated) about her political future and arguably has much to lose or gain from Thursday’s vote.
Scenarios 1 and 2: Conservatives significantly increase their majority
Theresa May’s decision to call an early election would clearly be vindicated. She would have a strong popular mandate and perhaps more importantly the parliamentary platform necessary to push through her own policy agenda. Her position as Conservative Party leader and Prime Minister would likely be reinforced after a shaky election campaign which exposed her weaknesses and that of the Conservative manifesto.
Scenario 3: Conservatives increase seats by fewer than 30, fail to secure “true” working majority
Theresa May would likely argue that her decision to trigger early elections was justified. However, opposition parties and some Conservative MPs (who may have seen their constituency majority shrink) could argue that this two-month campaign was a wasted opportunity and a pointless source of distraction at a time when the government should be focusing on Brexit, a stuttering economy and the threat of terrorism. While Theresa May would be expected to remain in power, a leadership challenge could not be excluded.
Scenarios 4, 5 and 6: Conservatives fail to gain any seats or even lose their slim absolute majority
The pressure for Theresa May to resign would likely be more acute. The Prime Minister would at best have nothing to show for in exchange for putting the electorate, political parties and government through a third major vote in less than two years and at worst would have weakened her party’s authority.
A low voter turnout would compound the view that Conservatives and Theresa May have a weak popular mandate. Even if the Conservatives won a record 44% of the national vote, with a voter turnout of only 60% Conservatives would in effect win only 26.4% of the national vote – lower than an average of 28.1% for the winning party in the previous nine elections (see Figure 4).
Scenarios 7 and 8: Conservatives fail to win working majority or in more extreme scenario win fewer seats than Labour Party
The near-term risk of the Conservatives holding a party-leadership election may, somewhat perversely, be more modest than in Scenarios 4-6. The reasoning is that the Conservatives would be under pressure to beat Labour in forming a majority coalition government and may not want the added distraction of a leadership-election which could leave the country rudderless. Medium-term, however, Theresa May’s position would very likely be reviewed.
Scenario analysis: Impact on Sterling and volatility
Sterling has been particularly stable in the past seven sessions, with the Nominal Effective Exchange Rate (NEER) currently in the middle of a 6%-wide range in place since early November according to my estimates (see Figure 13).
Sterling volatility has indeed been very subdued in recent months when measured against the US Dollar (see Figure 14) and Euro (see Figure 15) although there is evidence of financial markets hedging themselves via put options against a sharp Sterling sell-off.
Scenarios 1 and 2: Marked but likely short-lived Sterling appreciation
I would expect pronounced appreciation, particularly in the event of Scenario 1 (an indisputable landslide victory for the Conservatives). The main positive for Sterling would be financial markets’ belief that the Prime Minister’s lustre has been at least partly restored, that a source of domestic political uncertainty has been removed and importantly that the odds of a hard Brexit and/or disorderly exit from the EU have narrowed. However, any Sterling rally is unlikely to become entrenched, in my view, for four reasons.
First, while a large government majority would give Theresa May and the Conservatives full control over the domestic policy agenda, it would arguably have more to do with the paucity of the opposition Labour Party than with the Conservatives’ assured performance in recent months.
Second, the odds of the government securing an advantageous EU deal would probably not improve much as I discussed in UK Election Special – When Two Tribes Go To War (2 June 2017). If anything, the past two months have reinforced my view, first set out in The A-team had a plan, the British government has a nebulous goal (13 December 2015) that the government is ill-equipped, ill-prepared and lacking in institutional capacity to negotiate complex deals with the EU and non-EU partners
Third, markets are likely to return their attention to protracted and complex negotiations with the EU which are due to start on 19th June and the economic realities facing the government. There are signs that Brexit-related uncertainty, higher inflation, a lack of export competitiveness and large current account deficit, lacklustre productivity growth, a record-low household savings rate and terrorist threat are hampering output, demand and overall GDP growth (see US, UK and global GDP growth update – Put the champagne on ice, 28 April 2017).
Finally, the Conservatives by their own admission are operating within tight fiscal constraints and their scope to cut overall tax rates and push through market-friendly policies is at best very limited, in my view. The risk, if any, is that tax rates rise marginally, although they would in aggregate remain well below the levels proposed by Labour if elected.
Scenarios 3 & 4: Risk of Sterling depreciation, likely higher volatility
If the Conservatives fail to materially increase their seat numbers (Scenario 3) or worse remain stuck on 330 seats (Scenario 4), I see a clear risk of (albeit) modest depreciation and heightened Sterling volatility. On the upside markets may welcome increased Conservative control over the domestic agenda (even if modest). However, such an outcome would do little to reassure markets that Theresa May can keep eurosceptic MPs in check or that the government has the ability to quickly conclude trade deals with the EU and non-EU partners.
Scenarios 5 & 6: Sterling depreciation, higher volatility
Under these two scenarios Sterling is likely to weaken more markedly. Rebel Conservative MPs would have significant scope to push for hard Brexit while opposition parties would potentially be in a position to stall government policies (particularly under Scenario 6). I would expect Sterling volatility to spike as markets grapple with the implications of a diminished Conservative majority and possible talk of a leadership challenge within the party.
Scenarios 7 & 8: Sharp sell-off but potentially short-lived, high volatility
In the event of neither Labour nor the Conservatives winning a majority – a hung parliament – the immediate knee-jerk reaction would likely be a sharp sell-off in Sterling and jump in volatility. Sterling could conceivably weaken to (and below) the low-end of its multi-month range (see Figure 13).
For starters, markets are unlikely to welcome the prospect of a potentially drawn-out coalition-building process and it would raise serious questions about the leadership qualities of Jeremy Corbyn and in particular Theresa May.
Moreover, there would likely be concerns about the shelf-life of a coalition government and its ability to push legislation through parliament (i.e. policy paralysis). This concern is likely to be particularly acute with regards to a coalition government’s ability to successfully negotiate a favourable deal with the EU – a body with arguably vast institutional capabilities. Finally, in the event of Labour forming a government, markets would likely have concerns about Corbyn’s inner circle (given a recent spate of poor performances by shadow cabinet members), the impact of tax-and-spend policies and a potentially softer stance on terrorism and domestic security.
However, I also see scope for Sterling’s likely downturn to fade and even reverse in due course whether the Conservatives or Labour lead a coalition government.
Conservative-led coalition government
A Conservative-led coalition government with a small majority would likely have to adopt a more consensual stance on policy, including Brexit, in order to partly neutralise the opposition vote and get parliament to approve policies. This may in turn help mitigate the risk of the UK walking away from EU negotiations without a deal, even if transitional, in place. At the very least it may force Theresa May to be more transparent and detailed in her presentation of policy.
Labour-led coalition government
Theresa May has done little to prove she is a safe pair of hands (including on domestic security), her political campaign was long on u-turns and platitudes and short on policy details (in particular with regards to Brexit), GDP growth has slowed and public services are under pressure. Taxes under a Conservative government would be lower than under Labour but the government’s apparent failure to accurately cost its manifesto is far from reassuring.
Importantly, Theresa May has failed to clearly spell out what format she envisages for Brexit (and been particularly vague on immigration), has left open the possibility of walking away from EU negotiations with no deal in place and, along with the cabinet, shown little evidence at this stage that they can secure an EU deal which leaves the UK better off in aggregate terms.
Conversely, Corbyn has made clear that he favours tariff-free access to the European Single Market (which tends to be a market-pleaser) and seems in exchange willing to accept some EU immigration. The more conciliatory, pro-EU approach that French President Emmanuel Macron has espoused has worked well for the euro and France’s image (not that I am in making a direction comparison between Macron and Corbyn).
To be clear, a V-shaped Sterling recovery would likely remain elusive. After all financial markets generally distrust inherently less stable coalition governments and whomever is in power will have to deal with a trifecta of challenges – lacklustre economic growth, likely tortuous and drawn-out EU negotiations and the omnipresent threat to domestic security. However, the seemingly-held assumption that a hung parliament and/or a Corbyn premiership would usher in a protracted period of acute Sterling and financial market weakness may well be challenged.
Key events beyond British election likely to impact Sterling and volatility
Regardless of what happens in Thursday’s general election, two events beyond British shores also scheduled for 8th June will conceivably exacerbate Sterling volatility (see Figure 16).
- European Central Bank (ECB) policy meeting. It remains unclear whether the ECB’s language on forward guidance will be tweaked to reflect signs that eurozone growth is gaining momentum or whether the bank will stand pat in the face of still modest inflationary pressures and a stronger euro. The former is somewhat more likely, in my view, which would in turn lean against any gains in the GBP/EUR cross (or accentuate any downside pressures).
- Former FBI Director James Comey to testify to the Senate Intelligence Committee. Comey is expected to elaborate on whether US President Trump tried to stymie his investigation into alleged links between Russia and Trump’s administration prior and during the US presidential election campaign. While markets may ultimately gloss over anything but concrete, corroborated and timely evidence against President Trump, the risk is of heightened GBP/USD volatility.
Olivier Desbarres currently works as an independent commentator on G10 and Emerging Markets. He has over 15 years’ experience with two of the world’s largest investment banks as an emerging markets economist, rates and currency strategist.
Past Research on British Elections, Economy and Brexit
UK Election Special – When Two Tribes Go To War, 2 June 2017
UK Referendum: Blame the weather, not Brussels, 23 June 2016
The A-team had a plan, the British government has a nebulous goal, 13 December 2015
 In the 2016 US presidential elections Donald Trump won the collegiate vote (and was elected president) despite winning only 46% of the popular vote
 This has led to smaller parties challenging the merits and fairness of the first-past-the-post electorate system.
 Remember that under a winner-takes-it all, first-past-the-post electoral system a candidate is elected MP regardless of his/her margin of victory
 These are the Speaker of the House (who resigns from his/her party, at present the Conservative Party), the three Deputy Speakers (currently two Labour, one Conservative) who don’t resign from their parties and the four Sinn Fein MPs who do not sit in Parliament as they do not recognise its legitimacy. 330 minus 313 (320 minus 3 minus 4) equates to 17-seat government majority.