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UK Electoral Geography

Electoral geography in the UK is complex due to the different electoral systems and different areas used to elect members to different levels of administration:

  • European and UK parliaments

  • devolved and regional governments

  • local authorities and smaller units

Electoral geography hierarchy

European and UK parliaments

The hierarchy of electoral wards/divisions, Westminster parliamentary constituencies and European electoral regions (EERs) is the only electoral structure that covers the whole of the UK. 

Devolved and regional governments

The devolution process of the late 1990s led to new administrations in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and London.

In 2004 legislation was passed to allow referendums on regional government in the English Government Office Regions (GORs).

On 4 November 2004 a referendum was held in the North East which produced a major 'no' vote.

In consequence the plans for referendums elsewhere were dropped; regional assemblies are therefore not going to occur in the near future.

Local authorities and smaller units

Councillors in UK districts and unitary administrations are elected to represent the same electoral wards/divisions that are used to constitute Westminster parliamentary constituencies.

County councillors however represent larger 'county electoral divisions', which are not necessarily based on the electoral wards used at district level.

Parish, town or community councils may also use their own small-scale electoral areas; ONS Geography does not however maintain information on these.

Content from the Office for National Statistics.
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