Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
United Kingdom 2015 election: some Australian comparisons

Download PDFDownload PDF

United Kingdom 2015 Election: some Australian comparisons

Posted 13/05/2015 by Rob Lundie

At the 2013 federal election, Australia returned from a ‘hung’ parliament to the historically more usual

situation whereby either Labor or the Coalition holds an absolute majority of seats in the House of

Representatives. The United Kingdom general election on 7 May 2015 also saw a move from a ‘hung’

parliament, where the Conservatives were in coalition with the Liberal Democrats, to one where the

Conservatives will be able to govern in their own right—the first outright majority for the Conservatives

since 1992.

At the UK election Labour lost 26 seats, and the Liberal Democrats were decimated, losing 49 of their 57

seats. The fortunes of the Scottish National Party (SNP), in contrast, have risen dramatically, with the SNP

increasing its presence in the House of Commons by 50 seats.

Results summary (changes compared with 2010)

Conservative Party 331 seats up 24 seats 36.9% of national vote + 0.8%

Labour Party 232 down 26 30.4% + 1.5%

Scottish National Party 56 up 50 4.7% + 3.1%

Liberal Democrats 8 down 49 7.9% - 15.2%

Democratic Unionist Party 8 no change 0.6% = 0.0%

Sinn Fein 4 down 1 0.6% = 0.0%

Plaid Cymru 3 no change 0.6% = 0.0%

Social Democratic & Labour Party 3 no change 0.3% = 0.0%

Ulster Unionist Party 2 up 2 0.4% = 0.0%

UKIP 1 up 1 12.6% + 9.5%

Green Party 1 no change 3.8% + 2.8%

Independents 1 0.5%

Total 650

While the ‘Green surge’ in party membership for the UK Green Party, led by Australian-born Natalie

Bennett, did not lead to an increased presence in the House of Commons beyond the one seat they already

hold, the Greens’ overall vote did rise from 0.94% at the 2010 election to 3.8% at this election. By contrast,

the Australian Greens, who also retained their single seat in the House of Representatives at the 2013

election, saw a decrease in their primary vote from 11.8% in 2010 to 8.6% in 2013.

In this British election Mhairi Black (SNP) defeated Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary, Douglas Alexander,

to become Britain’s youngest MP since 1667, aged 20 years, 7 months and 26 days. However, she is still

older than Australia’s youngest federal MP, Wyatt Roy (LP, Longman, Qld), who was 20 years and 3 months

of age when he was elected at the 2010 federal election. Nevertheless, Mhairi Black is the youngest female

in either Britain or Australia to become a national MP. Kate Ellis MP (ALP, Adelaide, SA), Natasha Stott

Despoja (AD, SA), and Senator Sarah Hanson-Young (AG, SA) were aged 27, 26 and 25 respectively when

they were elected to the Australian Parliament.

At the UK general election the percentage of female MPs in the House of Commons rose from 22.6% to

29.4%. This is slightly greater than the Australian House of Representatives, where 26.7% of members are


Two Australians played important roles in the election campaign for the Conservatives: Lynton Crosby

(campaign director), and political strategist Mark Textor, who worked on the campaign in London. Former

director of communications to Prime Minister Julia Gillard, John McTernan, was chief of staff to Scottish

Labour Party leader Jim Murphy who lost his seat to the SNP.