Reading: The General Election

Reading: the General Election
Intermediate Level (B1/B2)

On Thursday May 7th there will be a General (national) Election in the UK. Nowadays this takes place every five years. The electorate can vote for one candidate in their constituency (local parliamentary area). The winner in each constituency will become the local MP (Member of Parliament).

Over the past 60 years the government has usually been formed by the party with the majority of MP’s (there are 650). However the most recent government was a coalition of two parties and most people think we will have another coalition or a minority government after the coming election. This means people are less sure about what policies (plans) the next government will make. This time it is harder to predict because the larger parties may have to do deals with the Scottish Nationalists or the UK Independence Party (UKIP).

You often hear people saying it does not matter which party you vote for because they are all the same. However, this time, there is one major difference. The Conservatives (centre right) and the UK Independence Party (right-wing nationalists) have promised a referendum (special national vote) on leaving the European Union if they form the next government. If there is a referendum, the vote could be close.

At the moment, the two main parties appear equally popular but there is still over four weeks left for the party strategists to think of a way to persuade people to vote for their party and, importantly, for politicians to avoid making embarrassing mistakes. After all, a week is a long time in politics!