When is the next general election? Here's when Scotland goes to the polls next

Whether you're dismayed by the election night results or jumping for joy, there's no denying the past 24 hours have been a wild ride.

Friday, 13th December 2019, 9:31 am
Staff members empty a ballot box at the main Glasgow counting centre in the SECC on 12 December 2019 (Photo: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Staff members empty a ballot box at the main Glasgow counting centre in the SECC on 12 December 2019 (Photo: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

SNP voters will be delighted as the party wins big in Scotland, while Conservative supporters throughout the UK couldn't really have hoped for a better result.

But what about those voters who didn't go with the triumphant parties? When is the next chance to exercise your democratic right to vote and make your voice heard?

Here is everything you need to know:

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When is the next general election?

The Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 says a general election is to be held every five years on the first Thursday of May.

That would put the date of the next general election on 2 May 2024.

Of course, things have not been so simple in British politics in recent years, and last night's election was the third in five years - and the fourth in the last decade - following votes in 2010, 2015 and 2017.

Boris Johnson's large Westminster majority would suggest we won't be seeing another vote until 2024, but who can tell what will happen between now and then?

It is entirely plausible for a snap election - the term for a poll that is called earlier than expected - to be held before that date.

For that to happen, two-thirds of MPs would need to back a motion for a general election. With 650 seats in the House of Commons, 434 MPs would need to support the formal proposal.

What is the Fixed-term Parliaments Act?

The Fixed-term Parliaments Act was brought in in 2011.

Before the Act, elections were required to be held at least once every five years, but could be held at any time when the prime minister so advised the monarch.

While elections would usually take place just before the end of a five-year term, they could occur early in the term at the prime minister's discretion.

This was seen as an unfair advantage to an incumbent prime minister, who in theory could call an election while their majority was still 'fresh', and then not have to 'defend' it for another five years.

To date, no elections have been held upon the expiry of a fixed term set by the Act. In their manifesto ahead of yesterday's election, the Conservative Party vowed to "get rid" of the Fixed Term Parliaments Act, saying "it has led to paralysis at a time the country needed decisive action."

When can I next vote?

While there might not be a general election for another five years, that doesn't mean that there will be no chance to vote between now and then.

The next Scottish Parliament election is due to be held on 6 May 2021. The sixth such election since the parliament was established in 1999, 129 members will be elected to the Scottish Parliament.

Scotland will then see the Local Government Elections a year later on 5 May 2022.

Of course, the SNP's sweeping victory in Scotland also suggests a big demand for a second referendum on Scottish independence, which many will be hoping will take place sooner rather than later.