‘When is the next UK general election?’ and every other question you have about how quickly we can get a change of Government

Published 16th April 2024, Updated 22nd May 2024

After a mismanaged pandemic, a bungled Brexit, a near economic collapse, three Prime Ministers, unending strikes, crumbling public services, countless scandals and literal rivers of sewage, it’s felt like an eternity since the public last got a say in who runs the UK. Indeed it’s actually been almost 14 years since anyone but the Conservative Party were in charge.

It’s little wonder then that one of the questions we are asked most often is when the next election might be. In fact, we’ve been asked so frequently that we’ve decided to make an FAQ. So here are all your questions answered on when the next election will be and what needs to happen before we finally get the chance to vote for a change of government.

When will the next general election be held?

The next general election will be held on 4th July 2024

How much notice is there before a UK general election?

The pre-election period begins shortly after an election is called and lasts 25 working days, at the end of which we have polling day when people who want to vote in person at a polling station can do so. There is normally a few days after an election is called before the pre-election period begins for Parliament to conclude any important business before it is formally dissolved. 

Who decides when the next election is held?

The Prime Minister alone decides when the next general election is held and advises the monarch of the date he wants. The monarch then dissolves Parliament and issues a proclamation of the date of the election. Between 2011 and 2022 the dates of elections were set every five years by the Fixed Term Parliaments Act 2011 and snap elections required a vote in Parliament but these rules were changed by the Dissolution and Calling of Parliaments Act 2022.

Has the Prime Minister suggested when it might be?

The Prime Minister said it is his “working assumption” that there would be an election in the second half of this year. However, this is a six month window and far from definitive. It gives him a lot of wiggle room if he decides there is any advantage in picking an earlier date. 

Some speculate that the Prime Minister is waiting until he has evidence that he has made progress towards his stated goals of increasing economic growth, cutting NHS waiting times or reducing the number of dangerous Channel crossings. However, the risk of waiting is that these problems could get worse rather than better.

How often are general elections held in the UK

A general election must be held at least once every five years but elections can be called early meaning we sometimes end up with more. For example, the general election in May 2015 meant there didn’t have to be another until 2020 but we had two, one in 2017 and another in 2019, both because of Brexit.

When was the last general election?

The last general election was held on 12th December 2019.

When are general elections in the UK?

A general election can be held at any time of year, but more have been held in Spring and Autumn than Summer or Winter, perhaps to avoid holiday seasons. 

Traditionally, elections are held on a Thursday but this is not required by law. The last general election held on any other day was a century ago in 1924. 

Can the public force a general election?

While public pressure can influence politicians, the Prime Minister alone has the power to call a general election.

What do I need to do to vote when a general election is called? 

You don’t need to wait until an election is called to register to vote, you can do it right now so you can make your voice heard on election day. You can find out more about what you need to vote, if where you vote has changed and how best to vote tactically to get change at the next election at