General election 2019: Policy guide methodology


The General Election 2019 guide to parties' policies has been put together by the BBC's Visual Journalism team, working with the BBC's political research unit in London and specialists in Belfast, Cardiff and Glasgow.

It will be updated as parties publish their general election manifestos.

Its aim is to summarise where the parties stand on the issues that are most important to voters - helping them to make an informed decision at the ballot box.

How were the policy guide issue areas chosen?

The issue areas are based on issues highlighted in Ipsos Mori's Issues Index, which measures the issues the public believe to be the most important facing the country.

Some issues have been grouped together under short titles for simplicity eg NHS, hospitals, healthcare and social care are included under the headline area of "NHS and Care". Inequality, poverty, unemployment, pensions and benefits are covered in the "Work and Benefits" category.

The most popular issues were selected based on their aggregate score from January to September 2019. The "Democracy" issue area was added on editorial grounds to fulfil the BBC's public service commitments.

How have parties been chosen and ordered?

Any party represented by at least one MP when the 2019 Parliament dissolved is represented in this guide. Parties without MPs are included where they hold seats in a National Assembly or the European parliament.

Under the "All parties" selection, parties are ordered by the number of seats held at Westminster - and then alphabetically.

In the dropdown lists parties are grouped alphabetically under their relevant nations eg SNP appears under Scotland.

How are the policies selected and summarised?

This is an editorial process overseen by BBC journalists. All parties included in the guide have contacted by the BBC in order to help identify their key policies ahead of the manifesto launches.

What about issues that are devolved from the UK parliament to national assemblies/parliaments?

Because of devolution, the UK parliament cannot rule on, or has limited powers over, some of the issues highlighted in the guide. For example, "health" is devolved to Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Yet, parties do still campaign locally on these devolved issues in the run up to a general election.

For this reason, the guide labels the parties' policies on devolved issues as "campaign points", to acknowledge they may not become law in that nation even if the party won a majority in Westminster.

General election policy guide

To help you decide who to vote for here's a concise guide to where the parties stand on key issues like Brexit, education and the NHS.