From the May 2006 local elections, in which Labour suffered significant losses, the Conservatives took a small single-digit lead in opinion polls. [114] Phil Woolas applied for a judicial review into the ruling,[115] stating that "this election petition raised fundamental issues about the freedom to question and criticise politicians" and that it "will inevitably chill political speech". From November 2007, the Conservatives again took the lead and, from then, extended their lead into double digits, particularly in response to the MPs' expenses scandal, although there was some evidence that the lead narrowed slightly towards the end of 2009. [65], Simon Bennett resigned as the head of the British National Party's online operation then redirected its website to his own on which he attacked the party's leadership. The prime minister, Gordon Brown, went to Buckingham Palace on 6 April and asked the Queen to dissolve Parliament on 12 April, confirming in a live press conference in Downing Street, as had long been speculated, that the election would be held on 6 May,[7] five years since the previous election on 5 May 2005. Former leader of the UK Independence Party Nigel Farage also fought the seat but came third in the vote with 17.4%.

Under UNS projections, this made a hung parliament highly probable, if Lib Dem performance had persisted.[85]. [2][117] One constituency seat (Thirsk and Malton) was contested on 27 May because of the death of the UKIP candidate and was won by the Conservative Party, whilst another seat (Oldham East and Saddleworth) later had its result declared void; Labour won the resulting by-election. [42], The leader of the UK Independence Party, Lord Pearson, wrote an open letter to Somerset newspapers, asking voters to support Conservative candidates, rather than UKIP candidates in the Somerton and Frome, Taunton Deane and Wells constituencies.

[165], Because of closure of United Kingdom airspace as a result of the Iceland volcanic eruption, potential expat voters in New Zealand were denied a vote when postal voting papers arrived too late to be returned to the UK,[166] although Australian broadcaster SBS suggested that given the extremely tight timetabling of overseas votes, there is very little chance that voting papers [for voters outside Europe] will be received, let alone returned, in time to be counted.[167]. Data were gathered from individuals at 130 polling stations around the country. [6] The general election saw a 5.1% national swing from Labour to the Conservatives, the third-largest since 1945. Nonetheless, on polling day their share of the vote increased by only 1% over the previous general election, and they suffered a net loss of five seats.

Since each MP is elected separately by the first past the post voting system, it is impossible to precisely project a clear election outcome from overall UK shares of the vote. Labour's loss of 91 seats was worse than their previous greatest loss of seats, when they lost 77 seats in 1970. There was an aborted attempt to put together a Labour/Liberal Democrat coalition (although other smaller parties would have been required to make up the eleven seats they lacked for a majority). If these polls had reflected the election day results on a uniform swing nationwide, Labour would have had the most seats in a hung Parliament.

[19], Pursuant to Boundary Commission for England recommendations, the number of seats in England increased by four, and numerous changes were made to the existing constituency boundaries.[20].
There was also a high-profile campaign over expenses directed against Speaker John Bercow, who had 'flipped' his designation of second home. One reason for the very high number of MPs standing down was the parliamentary expenses scandal a year earlier. The Independent and The Guardian advocated tactical voting to maximise the chance of a Liberal Democrat/Labour coalition to make electoral reform including of the House of Lords and introduction of domestic proportional representation more likely. Copyright © 2020 BBC. However, none of the parties achieved the 326 seats needed for an overall majority. Northern Ireland continued to elect 18 MPs, but minor changes were made to the eastern constituencies in accordance with the Northern Ireland Boundary Commission's recommendations. During the court case a number of emails between Woolas and his campaign team emerged. [9] Polls just before election day saw a slight swing from the Liberal Democrats back to Labour and Conservatives, with the majority of final polls falling within one point of Conservatives 36%, Labour 29%, Liberal Democrats 23%.