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General election 2019: How many seats are needed for a majority in the UK?

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The UK will go to the polls on December 12 after Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Early General Election Bill was passed in the House of Commons.

Brits will be asked to vote for their preferred candidate standing in their local constituency.

Over the last few weeks, we’ve also seen the party leaders campaigning across the country - and on television - for our votes.

So how are the two linked? Here’s how your vote counts in a general election and how many seats a party needs to win a majority.

How many seats are there in the UK parliament?

There are 650 seats in parliament. That means 650 MPs - one for every constituency.

Each constituency gets the opportunity to vote for their favourite candidate in a general election in what is known as the First Past the Post system.

The candidate with the most votes becomes the MP (Member of Parliament) for that constituency, representing their constituents in the House of Commons.

MPs hold their seats until parliament is dissolved.

A combination of pictures created in London on November 1, 2019 shows political party leaders whose members will be vying for seats in the House of Commons in the 2019 general election: Britain's Prime Minister and Conservative Party leader Boris Johnson (L) and (L-R top) Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader Arlene Foster,  Liberal Democrats leader Jo Swinson and Britain's main opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, (L-R bottom) Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) leader Nicola Sturgeon,  Green Party co-leader Sian Berry and Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage. - Britain will go to the polls on December 12, 2019 to vote in a pre-Christmas general election. (Photo by - / AFP) (Photo by -/AFP via Getty Images)
The dream for every party leader is to get a majority - but that doesn't mean it will happen (Picture: Getty)

Read more: How voting works in a UK general election

How many seats does a party need to win to have a majority?

A majority in Parliament means that one party has at least one more seat than all the others put together, meaning it is likely to win votes on policies and plans.

That means a party needs 326 seats in the Commons to have a majority.

When parliament was dissolved on November 6, 2019, the Conservatives had 298 MPs - suggesting why Boris Johnson is hoping that a general election will win him more seats and help him secure a majority.

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson addresses the new Speaker of the House of Commons Sir Lindsay Hoyle, in London, Britain November 4, 2019, in this screen grab taken from video. Parliament TV via REUTERS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson addresses the new Speaker of the House of Commons Sir Lindsay Hoyle (Parliament TV/Reuters)

What happens if no single party gets a majority?

If no one party gets a majority it is called a ‘hung parliament’.

If that happens, the party with the most votes can form a coalition government with other parties to gain a majority.

But that doesn’t mean it’s plain sailing as those parties might not necessarily agree on every issue.

If a party does get a majority, what happens then?

The party with the most seats will be asked to form a Government by Her Majesty the Queen.

However, according to the parliament website, a Government must be able to command a majority in the House of Commons “on votes of confidence and supply”.

That majority can be their own party but can also include support from other parties - even without a formal coalition arrangement.

But if they can’t, the Prime Minister would have to ask the Queen to invite someone else to form a government.

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