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Key questions about the first December general election since 1923

The UK is heading for its first December general election since 1923. Credit: PA

The UK is heading for its first December general election since 1923. Here are some of the key questions surrounding the upcoming poll.

Why has an election been called?

Boris Johnson’s minority Government is far from a majority in the Commons, and the Prime Minister is seeking to bolster his position with a snap election which he hopes will also see off the threat on his right flank posed by Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party.

Boris Johnson's minority government does not have the numbers in parliament to get his Brexit deal through, so he will be hoping to increase the number of Conservative MPs to push through his deal.

Labour, the Lib Dems and other parties voted in favour of a general election, but will be hoping to wrestle power away from the Conservatives, increase their number of MPs and form a government of their own.

Voters will take to the polls on December 12. Credit: PA

Why have the major parties finally agreed on something?

The Liberal Democrats are riding high in the polls at levels rarely seen since the height of “Clegg-mania” in 2010 and are keen to take advantage of that surge.

They joined forces with the SNP, who also want an early general election, to push for a pre-Christmas poll.

After failing on a number of occasions to force an election under the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act – which requires the backing of two thirds of MPs – Mr Johnson opted to force through a Bill for a December political showdown that needed just a simple majority to succeed.

Labour initially seemed to stall on a December election, but Jeremy Corbyn appeared to recognise the parliamentary numbers were against him, and instead, insisted he relished the prospect of a national poll.

A timetable highlighting the run-up to the December 12 general election. Credit: PA Graphics

Will the election campaign be all about Brexit?

Brexit will be a big flashpoint as the major parties have much more pointed policy stances than they did in 2017.

The Tories would be pushing the amended Withdrawal Agreement Mr Johnson secured with Brussels, which all wings of the party have, grudgingly, united behind.

Labour wants to renegotiate that deal and then put the results to a new referendum, and the Liberal Democrats seek to revoke Brexit without the need for a fresh national poll on the issue.

Jeremy Corbyn has been out on the doorstep meeting voters. Credit: PA

So, what are the other issues?

As Theresa May found out in 2017, it is easy to lose control of the narrative of an election campaign.

Law and order is likely to figure large as, in his short tenure as premier, Mr Johnson has put his tanks on Labour’s lawn and matched their pledge to fund 20,000 extra police officers.

Labour will want to fight the election on the battleground of the NHS and social care, an area they typically are seen to be strong in by voters.

The Brexit Party have announced their candidates for the upcoming general election. Credit: PA

When will I know who is standing in my constituency?

Candidates must register to stand in a seat 19 working days before a general election – so the contenders should become clear around November 15

Certain party candidates, including the Brexit Party, have informally revealed the majority of their MPs standing in the general election.

What do the major parties have to fear?

The Brexit Party is likely to try and hammer the Tories over Mr Johnson’s pledge that he would “rather be dead in a ditch” than ask for an EU withdrawal delay beyond October 31.

Labour stormed back from 24 points behind in 2017 to come close to drawing level with the Conservatives in the popular vote, but since then Mr Corbyn’s image has been rocked by his stance on Brexit and rows over how he has handled allegations of anti-Semitism within the party.

After two very shaky general elections, the Lib Dems have a new, untested, leader in the form of Jo Swinson.

A graph showing the increased number of people who have registered to vote. Credit: PA Graphics

How do you register to vote?

The easiest way is to apply online at gov.uk. The deadline is midnight on November 26.

How do I cast my ballot?

Polling stations open at 7am on December 12 and close at 10pm.

If you cannot vote in person, you can apply to vote by proxy or have a postal vote.

Postal votes must arrive at the Electoral Office by 10pm on December 12.