Voters are preparing to head to the polls in just weeks for the snap General Election on June 8.
The snap poll was triggered after Theresa May announced outside Downing Street on April 18 that she wanted to increase her Commons majority and strengthen her hand in the Brexit negotiations.
MPs then voted overwhelmingly, by 522 votes to 13, to bring forward the election from its scheduled date of 2020.
Political parties are hard at work campaigning in constituencies across the UK with the hope of securing as many votes as possible on election day.
General Election 2017: What you need to know
Why did Theresa May call the General Election and when is it?
The Prime Minister has called a General Election for June 8 – three years earlier than planned. Mrs May’s official reason for calling the election was to increase her working Commons majority of 17 to strengthen her hand in the Brexit negotiations.
The PM said Labour, the SNP and the Lib Dems were trying to frustrate the Brexit process in Parliament. She is hoping the election will see her getting a bigger majority in the Commons and tightening her grip on power.
An election also means a new manifesto for the Conservatives and that Mrs May would no longer be tied to promises made by the party when David Cameron was PM.
Mrs May had to secure the backing of two-thirds of MPs in the Commons to hold the snap election under the Fixed Term Parliaments Act, which decrees that elections take place every five years. The next election is now due in 2022.
Theresa May calls General Election for June 8
Registering to vote and the deadline
The deadline for registering to vote in person is 11.59pm on May 22. To vote by post it is 5pm on Tuesday May 23 and for a proxy vote it is 5pm on May 31.
How do the parties stand in the opinion polls?
The Conservatives were enjoying a big opinion poll lead over Labour at the time Mrs May called the snap election.
The latest polls at the time of writing show Labour has gained a modest boost to 34 per cent but that the Conservatives remain on course for a major victory on June 8 with an unchanged 49 per cent.
The Lib Dems are third on seven per cent, down from 14. But the biggest loser is Paul Nuttall’s crisis-stricken Ukip, down from four per cent to two per cent. You can read more on the opinion polls here.
Here is the latest graph showing the poll of polls from Britain Elects – providing a clear picture of how the parties stand in the run-up to the ballot on June 8.
How many seats are needed for a majority?
A General Election in the UK involves the individual election of 650 MPs in constituencies in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The voting system is known as ‘first-past-the-post. The candidate with the most votes in each constituency becomes the MP for the area.
For a party to be able to form a Government and its leader to become Prime Minister, it needs to win more than half the seats in the House of Commons – 326. The party that wins the second largest number of seats becomes the main opposition party and its leader the ‘leader of the opposition’.
How do I find out who my local candidates are?
You can read the Evening Standard’s list of MPs for all the London constituencies here. Your local elections office will publish a list of all the candidates standing for election in your area.
You will be able to find a link to information on your local council’s website or you can find the details of your local elections office by putting in your post code on the Your Vote Matters website.
How do I find my nearest polling station and what time are they open?
Polling stations are open from 7am to 10pm. Your poll card, which will be sent to you before the election once you are registered to vote, will have the address of your polling station printed on it.
What time are the results?
An exit poll at 10pm gives an indication of the result. The counting begins after polls close and takes place throughout the night with the first seat usually declared before midnight.
If it is a strong victory for one party, the final results can be predictable at about 3am. Counting can go on until the afternoon of the following day.