Welcome to The Independent’s interactive guide to all 650 constituencies as their election results are announced. Here on the equal-area hexagon map below you can look up your constituency, or any other constituency in the country.
The first thing you might notice about map, in which every MP’s seat is represented by the same size of hexagon, is how small Scotland is in relation to the rest of the country: there are 59 seats in Scotland and 533 in England. Then there are 40 seats in Wales, and 18 in Northern Ireland, where the parties are all different.
The most important thing to look out for, when the results come in, is the change since the last election. The simplest measure of this is two-party swing: that is, the net change in share of the vote between Conservative and Labour parties. The opinion polls suggest a swing of about 3 per cent from Labour to the Conservatives since 2017.
That doesn’t mean 3 per cent of voters switching directly from one party to the other. Usually it is more complicated: people shift between voting and not voting; in and out of Lib Dem or Brexit Party voting; or the Conservative share of the vote could stay the same while the Labour vote drops by 6 percentage points; but a 3 per cent swing means the effect is the equivalent of 3 per cent switching from Conservative to Labour.
If there is a 3 per cent swing to the Conservatives, that would probably mean a historic win for Boris Johnson: anything more than a net gain of 18 seats would be the biggest win for the Tories since 1987.
If the swing is the other way, though, it does not have to be large to force the prime minister out of No 10. If the Tories lose seven seats – depending on what happens to the Democratic Unionist Party in Northern Ireland – Johnson would need the support of more than the DUP to stay in office. All eyes would be on Jo Swinson of the Liberal Democrats, as Nicola Sturgeon has already made it clear the Scottish National Party would back Jeremy Corbyn as prime minister in a properly hung parliament.
With each 1 per cent of swing, about 10 seats change hands between the two largest parties, although that figure is variable, especially because the swing is likely to be different in different parts of the country.
Labour is expected to do better in urban seats with lots of graduates that voted Remain in the 2016 referendum, although it will be fighting off a strong Liberal Democrat challenge in some places. Labour is braced for losses, meanwhile, in seats that voted strongly to Leave, in the north, midlands, Wales – and Dagenham and Rainham in east London.
The race to secure a majority
There is bound to be some dispute in the commentary on the results programmes about how many seats a party needs to have a majority in the House of Commons. An absolute majority in a parliament of 650 MPs is 326, and so that, a majority of two, 326 to 324, is the benchmark for comparing with previous elections. The opinion polls suggest we are more likely to be comparing tonight’s majority, if there is one, with David Cameron’s majority of 12 in 2015 or John Major’s of 21 in 1992, rather than Tony Blair’s of 179 in 1997 or Margaret Thatcher’s of 144 in 1983.
But because there were seven Sinn Fein MPs who didn’t take their seats in the last parliament, that moves the “winning line” for a party or group of parties to have a working majority. If Sinn Fein win seven seats again (they are likely to win anything between four and eight), it means that 322 seats is an effective majority, because then a House of 643 MPs would be divided by 322 to 321.
Finally, there is bound to be some confusion about how to count the speaker, both the outgoing (John Bercow, Buckingham, originally elected as a Conservative) and the new speaker (Lindsay Hoyle, Chorley, originally Labour).
In the graphic below, the Conservatives are shown as having won 317 seats at the last election, but if the Tory candidate wins in Buckingham this should be regarded as a “Conservative hold”, their baseline is really 318. Similarly, Chorley will be recorded by many of the results services as “Other”, but for the purposes of calculating the standing of the parties in parliament it is in effect a Labour seat. The speaker does not normally vote in the Commons, but neither do his three deputies: one of his own party and two from the other main party, so two non-voters on each side cancel each other out.
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