After five weeks of campaigning by the UK’s political parties, the general election takes place today. It has been described as the most unpredictable and high-stakes contest for many years, complexity arising from voters’ positions on ‘leave’ or ‘remain’ cutting across traditional party and left-right allegiances. The pollster YouGov released their final analysis on Wednesday, cutting a predicted Conservative majority down to 28 seats from the 68 seat prediction made a fortnight ago. The large potential margins of error involved mean that a hung Parliament is now also more likely than previously forecast. Due to the UK’s first-past-the-post electoral system, small variations in voting can have large effects on the share of seats in Parliament parties obtain.

Should a simple majority for one party emerge, Parliament is expected to reopen on 16 December with a new Queen’s Speech. Should no party secure a majority and a hung Parliament arises, negotiations between parties seeking to form a minority administration will likely extend this timetable. Should the Conservatives fail to win an outright majority, a second referendum on EU membership later in 2020 looks likely.

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