First Past the Post (FPTP)



FPTP is the voting system used in UK General Elections. The UK is divided into 650 constituencies that is a seat within the House of Commons and is occupied by whoever wins the most votes within that constituency. When the electorate goes to vote they vote for who they would like to be their MP out of the possible candidates running for the election. Each candidate runs on behalf of a political party as within parliament due to the whips, it is the party that controls most of the decisions. Candidates can also run without a party, known as independents, but these are rare and not usually successful.

When the ballots are counted within a constituency they win a seat within the Commons, for a party to form a government they must win at least 50% of the votes within the Commons. If one party does not win at least 50% of the vote, a minority government must be formed.


Although due to each MP being individually elected if a party has support throughout the country but if it is rarely grouped into one constituency it would not be as successful as a party who has less national support but it is grouped well into constituencies. Therefore, FPTP rarely elects a House of Commons that reflects the opinions of the public.

Key Terms

Constituencies – The UK is divided into 650 parliamentary constituencies, the geographical boundary groups voters and allocates an area for the elected represent to represent.

Electorate – All the people within the country who are entitled to vote, e.g. within the voting age.

Political party – In the UK and many other democracies around the world, politics is organised into parties of different political beliefs and leanings.

Whips – Appointed by their party to manipulate MP’s to vote for what their party wants them to. They send out ‘The Whip’ which tells the MP’s which way to vote and how crucial it is to do so.

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