Snap UK general election

Updates 11/12/2019: Corrected wire codes for results to XTB and XDB; additional note on electorate figures for the live event.

Update 06/12/2019: Added note in Nominations section about sitting party and sitting MP settings. 

A snap UK General Election is set to take place on Thursday, December 12.

  • Nominations close: at 1600 on Thursday, November 14
  • Polling Day: Thursday, December 12 – polling from 0700 to 2200
  • Declarations: from about 2300 through until sometime later in the day on Friday, December 13.

This advisory details our elections data coverage of the General Election, including nominations, results and statistics.

There will be a total of 650 constituency results – all on the traditional first-past-the-post system.

There are no boundary changes. The 2019 poll is being fought on the same boundaries that applied at the 2017, 2015 and 2010 general elections.

Nominations

PA does not provide data on prospective candidates in advance of the close of nominations when they become official and it is certain they will appear on the ballot paper. We gather and process the official nominations as soon as possible after they are published by individual councils.

We aim to transmit to customers an initial run with provisional candidate data for all 650 seats by the evening of the day after the close of nominations.

We will also provide a provisional list of parties and abbreviations – on the wire and on this website. This is subject to change where, for example, it is established later that some candidates for a particular party entered their nominations under a party slogan rather than the party name.

Candidates are given in the following party order: Conservative; Labour; Liberal Democrat; Scottish National Party or Plaid Cymru; Brexit Party; Change; Green; UKIP; followed by DUP, UUP, SDLP, SF and Alliance and minor party candidates in alphabetical order of party description.

We will apply disambiguation measures where there are cases of multiple independent candidates standing in the same constituency. They will be differentiated by using the candidate’s name in the party description followed by “Independent”, e.g. “Joe Bloggs Independent”. However, the party abbreviation will be “Ind” and all such candidates will be grouped together as independents for statistical purposes, e.g. in our key State of the Parties statistic.

The same kind of disambiguation is applied to candidates with no party description – “No description”, abbreviation: “ND”.

Candidate details include sitting Member indicators: * for the same seat and + where they previously sat in another constituency. Titles will be given except for Mr, Mrs, Miss or Ms.

Each constituency’s details include its PA serial number – 1 to 650.

Note that PA’s constituency naming conventions differ from some other sources. For example, the compass point will be placed after an area name except where a well-known existing name includes a compass point, e.g. “Devon East” (to group this seat with other Devon seats) but “East Ham” remains “East Ham”.

The data for each seat includes a historical result summary from the preceding (2017) general election.

Further transmissions of our nominations data will take place as necessary with corrections and revisions in the run-up to polling day, with the final run planned for about 1600 on the day before polling day. The final list of parties and abbreviations will also be made available on the wire and on this website.

Note that revised electorate figures to be used for the live event will not be available until the final run of nominations on the day before polling day. The figures provided in our nominations transmissions and used in tests until then are the official ONS electorate figures from December 2018.

Update 11/12/2019: Customers are advised to make sure they use the electorate figures in the final full run of nominations data being sent at about 1600 today (11/12/2019) as these are the figures PA will use for its statistics during the live event. The ONS figures from December 2018 totalled 45,775,758 but our up-to-date figures currently total 47,595,593 (as against 46,835,433 at the 2017 General Election).

Note that in very rare cases it may become necessary to amend the nominations for a particular constituency after the close of polls at 2200 before the result for that constituency can be sent.

A typical example of the content of a PA nominations message for a general election in plain text (as sent on the wire):

3 ABERDEEN NORTH
+Lady Jennifer West (C)
Fred Macdonald (Lab)
Bernard Troop (LD)
James Burns (SNP)
Tom Jones (Ind)
Electorate 65,714
2010: Lab maj 8,361 (22.18%) – Turnout 37,701 (58.17%)
Doran (Lab) 16,746 (44.42%); Strathdee (SNP) 8,385 (22.24%); Chapman (LD) 7,001 (18.57%); Whyte (C) 4,666 (12.38%); Jones (BNP) 635 (1.68%); Robertson (SSP) 268 (0.71%)

For details of PA’s general election nominations messages in XML format used for digital products, see XML Format under Delivery Methods. Refer in particular to the sections on first-past-the-post (FPTP) elections.

Important note for customers making use of the “sitting MP” element in the nominations files for set-up:

Generally speaking, the sitting party matches the party of the sitting MP (where there is a sitting MP) at the dissolution of Parliament – but there are a few exceptions. These are the cases of differences in PA’s live election settings for the 2019 General Election:

Beaconsfield: sitting party is Independent but sitting MP Dominic Grieve appears with party description Independent Dominic Grieve (abbreviation Ind)
Birkenhead: sitting party is Independent but sitting MP Frank Field is standing for Birkenhead Social Justice Party
Birmingham Hall Green: sitting party is Labour but sitting MP Roger Godsiff is standing as Independent
Bury South: sitting party is Independent but sitting MP Ivan Lewis appears with party description Independent Ivan Lewis (abbreviation Ind)
Luton South: sitting party is Independent but sitting MP Gavin Shuker is standing as a No description candidate

The cases of Beaconsfield and Bury South are accounted for by PA’s application of differentiation where there are multiple independents standing in the same constituency.

Note that at Eastbourne, PA has the sitting party as Liberal Democrat even though sitting MP Stephen Lloyd was sitting as Independent at the time of dissolution and only later returned to the Lib Dems.

With regard to the general election nominations messages sent on the wire

The nominations for each constituency are sent in collated lists. These total 22 pages with a maximum of 30 constituencies on each page.With regard to the general election nominations messages sent on the wire

Pages are numbered and catchlined topic ELECTION with keyword Nominations.

They are category-coded:

  • XTA for plain text (TTY) – as in the example above
  • XDA for traditional data format – see example below.

{00}3} }ABERDEEN NORTH} }} }65,714} }} }} }} }} }} }
{03}} }+} }Lady} }Jennifer} }West} }C} }} }} }} }} }
{03}} }} }} }Fred} }Macduff} }Lab} }} }} }} }} }
{03}} }} }} }Bernard} }Troop} }LD} }} }} }} }} }
{03}} }} }} }James} }Burns} }SNP} }} }} }} }} }
{03}} }} }} }Tom} }Jones} }Ind} }} }} }} }} }
{06}G} }May} }2010} }Lab} }8,361} }22.18} }37,701} }58.17
{07}*} }Doran} }Lab} }16,746} }44.42
{07}} }Strathdee} }SNP} }8,385} }22.24
{07}} }Chapman} }LD} }7,001} }18.57
{07}} }Whyte} }C} }4,666} }12.38
{07}} }Jones} }BNP} }635} }1.869
{07}} }Robertson} }SSP} }268} }0.71

The list of party abbreviations will be sent in a form suitable for publication in plain text (TTY) catchlined ELECTION Abbreviations and category-coded XTH. It will be re-run as needed up until polling day.

The full list (including “parties” related to differentiated Independent and No description candidates) is available here for customers’ reference.

We will generate nominations statistics including:

  •  Number of candidates by party, compared with the previous election
  •  Number of women candidates by party, compared with the previous election.

These are in plain text (TTY) format, category code XTH, and will be re-run as needed.

Rushes and Results

DECLARATIONS: THURSDAY-FRIDAY December 12-13.

The first results are expected at about 2300 on Thursday with most declarations due overnight. The peak is expected between 0300 and 0600 on Friday.

Rush messages will be sent for all constituencies immediately that a declaration is made or as soon as possible after any issues are resolved. These messages aim to provide customers with fast information about whether a party has held a seat or gained it from another party, shortly before the full result with the figures is sent.

In the case of well-known personalities – particularly Cabinet ministers and Opposition frontbenchers – it will include their names and office (or former office). A wire example could be: “Prime Minister Boris Johnson holds Uxbridge & Ruislip South – Conservative hold”.

Individual results will follow as quickly as possible. These will give details of party hold or gain from another party, followed by candidates in votes order, giving their votes, percentage share, percentage share change since the 2017 election, plus majority, percentage majority and majority percentage change since the 2017 poll, swing from the 2017 election, turnout (valid votes cast), percentage turnout and turnout percentage change since 2017.

The swing will be between the winning party and the losing party where constituencies change hands and between first and second candidates where there is no change.

The historical summary of the result from the 2017 election will be included in the result in wire messages and can be taken from the nominations files by XML users.

A typical example of the content of a PA result message for a general election in plain text (as sent on the wire):

3 ABERDEEN NORTH
Lab hold
Fred Macduff (Lab) 18,012 (45.47%, +1.05%)
James Burns (SNP) 8,068 (20.37%, -1.87%)
Bernard Troop (LD) 6,820 (17.22%, -1.35%)
+Lady Jennifer West (C) 5,641 (14.24%, +1.86%)
Tom Jones (Ind) 1,075 (2.71%)
Lab maj 9,944 (25.10%)
1.46% swing SNP to Lab
Electorate 65,714; Turnout 39,616 (60.29%, +4.54%)
2010: Lab maj 8,361 (22.18%) – Turnout 37,701 (58.17%)
Doran (Lab) 16,746 (44.42%); Strathdee (SNP) 8,385 (22.24%); Chapman (LD) 7,001 (18.57%); Whyte (C) 4,666 (12.38%); Jones (BNP) 635 (1.68%); Robertson (SSP) 268 (0.71%)

For details of PA’s general election rushes and results messages in XML format used for digital products, see XML Format under Delivery Methods. Refer in particular to the sections on first-past-the-post (FPTP) elections.

With regard to the general election rushes and results messages sent on the wire

Rushes will be sent in plain text (TTY) for all constituencies, slugged POLL Result, followed by the constituency serial number, as soon as possible when they are declared. Example: POLL Result 33. They will be category coded XTJ.

Individual results will follow as quickly as possible, slugged POLL Result followed by the serial number. They will be category coded:

  • XTB for plain text (TTY) – as in the example above
  • XDB for traditional data format – see example below.

{00}3} }ABERDEEN NORTH} }} }65,714} }39,616} }60.29} }+4.54} }} }} }
{02}Lab} }hold} }} }9,944} }25.10} }1.46} }Lab} }SNP
{03}*} }} }} }Fred} }Macduff} }Lab} }18,012} }45.47} }+3.00} }} }
{03}} }} }} }James} }Burns} }SNP} }8,068} }20.37} }-1.93} }} }
{03}} }} }} }Bernard} }Troop} }LD} }6,820} }17.22} }-6.70} }} }
{03}} }+} }Lady} }Jennifer} }West} }C} }5,641} }14.24} }+4.81} }} }
{03}} }} }} }Tom} }Jones} }Ind} }1,075} }2.71} }} }} }
{06}G} }May} }2010} }Lab} }8,361} }22.18} }37,701} }58.17
{07}*} }Doran} }Lab} }16,746} }44.42
{07}} }Strathdee} }SNP} }8,385} }22.24
{07}} }Chapman} }LD} }7,001} }18.57
{07}} }Whyte} }C} }4,666} }12.38
{07}} }Jones} }BNP} }635} }1.869
{07}} }Robertson} }SSP} }268} }0.71

Individual results are sent as quickly as possible in real time but, for the convenience of those wire customers wanting lists of constituency results, runs of collated results will be sent at about 0430, 0630 and 0930 on Friday and later when all results are in. They will be catchlined POLL Collated and category-coded XDC for data format and XTC for plain text (TTY).

In addition, runs of collated results by region (12 UK regions) will also be sent on the wire at those times and later when all results are in. They will be catchlined POLL Collated [region], e.g. POLL Collated South East, POLL Collated Scotland. They are also category-coded XDC for data format and XTC for TTY.

Collated pages will run to a maximum of 22 and carry up to 30 results each.

Statistics

Immediately after the first result we will start sending our key State of Parties (SoP) statistics, including numbers of seats and votes won so far for parties, gains and losses, vote share and percentage change compared with the 2017 general election.

The SoP is sent immediately after every result in real time for the first 100 results, then after every five results (because of high volumes) until the 550th result when once again it is sent after every result until the last (650th) result is in.

The SoP is sent on the wire in plain text (TTY) and is also available in XML format. Customers using PA’s results in XML format can choose whether to devise their own statistics using the data provided in the results files or use PA’s SoP XML version.

As before, see XML Format under Delivery Methods for more information. Refer in particular to the sections on first-past-the-post (FPTP) elections.

Both formats of the SoP will list major parties and those that have won seats, with minor parties and independents totalled under “Others”.

The statistic shows for each of these the number of seats won, gained and lost, the total number of votes, percentage votes share, and the percentage vote share change since the 2017 general election.

Note that in both formats a forecast will be provided in an additional column (on the wire) or in additional elements (in the XML) after enough results are in for a meaningful forecast to be made by extrapolation from the parties’ current vote shares. The forecast will give expected seat numbers and whether they provide any party with a majority or not. The forecast will change as more results come in.

When all 650 results are in, a second, full version of the final SoP statistic will be sent as SoP All, with overall figures for all parties that fielded candidates in the election, as well as independents and “no description” candidates.

With regard to the SoP version sent on the wire –

These will be catchlined POLL Parties and will be in plain text (TTY) format, category-coded XTH. The second, full version of the final SoP will be catchlined POLL Parties All, with the same category code.

Example of a State of Parties general election statistic on the wire:

Additional statistics will be provided on the wire in the same plain text (TTY) format. These will include:

  • Turnout so far (valid votes cast) – sent frequently
  • Average swing so far – sent frequently
  • Seats gained by parties – sent as needed
  • Regional state of the parties (12 UK regions) – sent with collated regional results so far at 0430, 0630, 0930 and at end
  • Full state of the parties (showing all parties) – sent at end
  • Lost deposits – one or two as needed; and at end
  • Elected MPs (list) – at end
  • Elected women MPs (list) – at end
  • New MPs (list) – at end.

Elections live coverage

All narrative copy, including pointers (giving indications in key seats in advance of declarations), reaction and analysis, will run in the general news service.

Test programme

PA will run elections data tests for customers in the run-up to polling day. We urge customers to engage with the tests to help ensure their services run smoothly on election night.

The tests use fictitious candidate names and randomly generated voting figures.

IMPORTANT: PA does not use real candidate data in its external elections tests for political reasons. Users of our elections data in XML format need to be aware this means there are some significant differences between the test set-up and the real one, particularly when it comes to the PA IDs for elements such as parties, candidates and the election. See the guidance on XML format

Please see separate advisory for the Test programme.

You MUST check before election day that any test material has been cleared from your systems.