As Britain heads to polls, a glance at last three elections

WION Web Team
London, United KingdomEdited By: Abhilash MahajanUpdated: Dec 12, 2019, 09:17 AM IST
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An umbrella featuring Britain flag (representative image). Photograph:(Reuters)

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As the UK heads to polls, let's look at how the last three elections played out. 

On Thursday, Britons will vote for what will be the third general election in less than five years. Britain Prime Minister Boris Johnson describes the polls as the most important in a generation. 

So, as the UK heads to polls, let's look at how the last three elections played out. 

2010 election: Coalition government

Ahead of the global financial crisis in 2007, Labour's Gordon Brown took over from Tony Blair and became the prime minister of the country in 2007.

In the 2010 election, televised debates of leaders took place for the first time. The support for Liberal Democrats rose after Clegg's performance in the debate. 

The trends showed that the support for the centre-left Labour declined as voters turned to David Cameron's Conservatives and Nick Clegg's centrist Liberal Democrats.

However, when the results were announced, Britain witnessed hung parliament, the second since World War II. The Conservatives won 306 seats and Liberal Democrat ended with 57 seats. The hung parliament is rare in Britain as they follow the first-past-the-post system.  

Immediately after the results, Cameron reached out to the Liberal Democrats. Brown remained in the office during the coalition talks, hoping to persuade Clegg to shake hands with Labour. 

However, Cameron became the prime minister of Britain as Conservatives and Liberal Democrats formed an alliance.

2015: Suprise victory for Cameron

Cameron pledged in 2015 that if he will get another term, a referendum will be held to decide Britain's membership in the European Union. 

The poll pundits predicted another hung parliament, however, when results were declared, Conservatives pulled off a slender victory and improved its 2010 tally with 330 seats. The results meant that Conservatives can form the government on their own. 

The elections saw the worst tally for Liberal Democrats since their formation in 1988, winning only eight seats. The Scottish National Party (SNP) gained big as it won 56 out of the 59 seats in Scotland.

The vote share of Labour improved but, still, they lost more seats as compared to 2010.

2017: Theresa May's gamble fails

After the Brexit referendum, Theresa May became the prime minister of the UK. May feared that in order to pass Brexit a small majority might not be enough and therefore she called a snap election.

However, the gamble did not pay off and the Conservatives lost 13 seats to end up with 307. The results meant that a Conservative minority government came to power after getting support from Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionists (DUP).

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn's energetic campaign and May's wooden performances were the reasons behind the decline of the Conservatives. 

In this election, voters once again entrusted the main parties as the Conservatives won 42 per cent and Labour 40 per cent of votes. 

May failed to get the Brexit done and was replaced by Boris Johnson after she quit in July 2019. 

(with inputs from AFP)