How good is your knowledge of the election? I popped into Radio 2 yesterday to chat to Jeremy Vine about the sheer joy of election maths. I feel a certain frisson at the massive complications and bizarre nature of a first past the post general election.
It’s a bit like Eurovision, some watch for the songs and some for the voting (I’m the latter). A general election too has the politics and the electoral maths.
As it happens, this time I’m engaged by both elements. Yet right now I’m hooked on the Electoral Calculus website, which when you study it prompts thoughts such as:
- The Tories need to win roughly 4% points more than Labour to get more seats.
- UKIP could get 13% of votes and win one seat, while Lib Dems get 10% and win 17.
- We don’t know which way Lib Dems in a two way Tory/Labour fight will vote – Lib Dems have a history of tactical voting, usually biased towards the left, but after five years in coalition which way will they swing?
On the programme (listen back – it’s the last 20 minutes) Jeremy set me an impromptu on-air test of a few election numbers. So I thought you may like to see how you do answering them:
- How many MPs are there in the House of Commons?
- How many seats does a party or coalition need to command a majority of the Commons?
- How many seats are there in Scotland?
- How many seats did the SNP hold before parliament was dissolved?
OK NOW SCROLL DOWN FOR THE ANSWERS
Q 1. How many MPs are there in the House of Commons?
A. There are 650 MPs in the Commons.
Q 2. How many seats does a party or coalition need to command a majority of the commons?
A. The official answer is 326, but I answered 323. That’s because there are five Sinn Fein members of the House of Commons (and likely to be a similar number again) and they don’t take their seats. Therefore in practice you only need 323 MPs in order to control the House.
Q 3. How many seats are there in Scotland?
A. 59. This is the one I got wrong, I said 56. Not happy with myself – major nerd points lost.
Q 4. How many seats did the SNP hold before Parliament was dissolved?
How did you do? Are you into the election?