General Election 2017 - the Results
What happens next?
by Alan M Barker
Suitable for Key Stage 2
To reflect upon our experiences of success and disappointment in the light of the election result.
Preparation and materials
- You will need to check the election results for your own constituency before presenting this assembly.
- Definitions are provided after the terms in bold, in case you wish to establish their meaning.
- Reflect that Thursday 8 June was election day. People went to vote (choose the person to represent them in Parliament) at polling stations that were open until 10pm. Ask if any of the children went with an adult to vote. Ask them to describe the process that takes place at a polling station.
- Explain that after the polls closed, the ballot boxes (sealed boxes into which people put their voting papers) were collected so that the votes inside could be counted. Explain that election night is always an exciting and sometimes tense occasion as the following questions begin to be answered.
- Which political party will win the majority of the 650 seats and so be able to achieve its aims?
- Who will be elected to serve as Members of Parliament?
- Who might lose their position?
- Will the outcome be in line with predictions?
- Explain that after the results have been counted, the election results are declared (announced) by returning officers who are in charge of election arrangements in each of the constituencies (local areas).
Announce key information from the local declaration: ‘I, [insert name], the (Acting) Returning Officer for [insert the name of your constituency], declare that the total number of votes given to each candidate was as follows [insert details]. Therefore, I give public notice that [insert the name of the elected candidate] is duly elected as the Member of Parliament for [insert the name of your constituency].’
- Explain that, as midnight approached on election night, election results began to be declared from places around the country. Results trickled in slowly at first, and then more quickly in the early hours of the morning. As the results were declared in the various constituencies, they were announced in the media to the whole country. Some people even stayed up all night to await the results!
- Invite the children to share their knowledge of what has happened. Explain that there are 650 seats available in Parliament. Of these, the Conservative Party, led by Theresa May, has secured 318 seats, the Labour Party has secured 261 seats and the other political parties have secured 70 seats. At the time of writing, one seat is yet to be declared.
Explain that for an overall win, a party needs to secure 326 seats. This is called an absolute majority, which means that the party has more seats in Parliament than all of the other parties put together.
- Explain that because no party received 326 seats, we now have a situation called a hung Parliament. There are various ways to proceed with a hung Parliament, and these will be discussed in detail over the next few days.
- Point out that the election result will have caused feelings of disappointment and despair, but also joyful celebration, for the people involved in the election process. Some politicians have lost their seat in Parliament; others have won their seat. In an election, there are both winners and losers.
- Invite the children to reflect upon their own experiences of winning and losing. How does it feel to win or lose? Winners may feel pleased, proud, excited and elated. Those who have not succeeded may feel disappointed, discouraged, despondent and unhappy.
Reflect that such emotions will be felt not only by the election candidates (those taking part), but also their supporters.
Ask the children to recall how they have felt when a team that they have supported has won or lost a match or race, perhaps at sports day. Point out that sometimes, we all feel the frustration of something not going as planned, but there are times when we experience the joy of success, too. When something doesn’t go as planned, it challenges us to reflect and persevere, while considering how to improve and change our approach.
- Point out that in a democratic society (where people are free to choose), it is important for everyone to respect the outcome of an election, even though some may not like it.
- A hung parliament presents a great challenge. Some of the various political parties must agree to work together. Over the next few days, party leaders will hold talks with one another to discuss their future plans. Some will agree to work in partnership with one another. Others will continue to express different views and opinions. The next election is not due to be held until 2022, although a snap election (an election that is called earlier than expected) might be called again.
What will the result be then? Who knows? Those who are disappointed today may become future winners!
Time for reflection
Let’s take time to think about those who have taken part in the general election. Some have been successful, but others have not.
Let’s consider the importance of careful and wise leadership.
Let’s be thankful for the freedom that we have to express our choices and opinions.
Let’s take a moment to consider the times in our lives when things have gone as planned or when things have gone wrong. We all have the choice to decide whether to give up or persevere.
We pray that you will protect our freedoms,
Guide the work of Parliament
And bless our leaders.
‘Spirit of peace’ (Come and Praise, 85)
‘Today’ (Songs for Every Assembly (Out of the Ark Music))