Election results 2019: Which party got the most votes... and other questions

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The 2019 election is over, and the Conservatives have won a majority of 80 seats.

Here, we answer a selection of readers' questions about the results.

What was the UK result by total votes, rather than number of seats? Louise Abrantes, Reading

About 32 million votes were cast in this election. The turnout was 67.3% of registered voters, which represents a 1.5% drop on the 2017 general election.

The Conservatives won the most seats - 365 - and also the biggest share of votes, 45%, or about 13.9 million.

Labour, who are in second place, have won 203 seats and a 32.2% share, or about 10.3 million votes.

The UK's first-past-the-post voting system means the parties with the most votes may not win the most seats.

That's because the candidate who gets the most votes in their local constituency wins a seat in the House of Commons. Coming a good second, for example, makes no difference to a party's success nationally.

There have been attempts to move the UK to other electoral systems. They include the alternative vote - in which voters rank candidates by order of preference instead of just voting for one. This was rejected by referendum in 2011.

I am an EU citizen with two jobs, a house, and a pre-settled status. What is going to happen after Brexit? Greta Ciuk, Oxford

After the UK leaves the European Union (EU), European citizens living in the UK might be asked to prove their right to work or study here, or use the NHS.

They'll need to do this by showing they have "pre-settled status" or "settled status" under the EU settlement scheme, or British citizenship.

If you've lived in the UK for less than five years, you'll usually get pre-settled status. You must have started living in the UK by 31 December 2020 (or by the date the UK leaves the EU without a deal).

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You can ask to change this to settled status once you've got five years' "continuous residence".

Both mean you can work in the UK, travel in and out of the country and access things like benefits if you're eligible for them.

In October, the Home Office said that 1.8 million people had applied to the scheme. Currently, EU nationals - and their families - are able to apply to the settlement scheme only if they are already living in the UK before it leaves the EU.

What happened to those Tories who had the whip withdrawn because they defied the PM's line? David, Darlington

A total of 21 MPs were expelled from the Conservative Party in early September after rebelling against the prime minister in a bid to prevent a no-deal Brexit.

Shortly before the general election was agreed at the end of October, 10 of them were readmitted.

Six of these stepped down or retired. The other four stood in the election, and all retained their seats.

Greg Clark was successful in Tunbridge Wells with a majority of 14,645; Stephen Hammond gained a majority of 628 to win in Wimbledon; Caroline Nokes had a majority of 10,872 as she was re-elected in Romsey and Southampton North; and Steve Brine retained Winchester by 985 votes.

Of the 11 who were not readmitted, six stepped down, three stood as independents and two stood for the Lib Dems, but none of them won their seats.

What if Scotland does not want to leave the EU? Muzaffar Malik, Putney

media captionNicola Sturgeon says the timescale for an independent Scotland joining the EU would be “relatively quick".

As things stand, Scotland is part of the UK, which is due to leave the EU on 31 January. Scotland can't prevent that happening, so it will have to leave, along with Wales, Northern Ireland and England.

If Scotland were to hold a second independence referendum in the future - and it chose to leave the union - then the newly independent country could apply to join the EU.

However, while it would not be given a place automatically, any application would be "very seriously" considered, according to former European Council president Herman Van Rompuy.

He said: "I think there is a change, yes, because for a lot of people they are looking at what Scottish people are in favour of. They want to stay in the European Union and at the same time they are prevented to stay in the European Union."

Last month, Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she believed it could be "relatively quick" for an independent Scotland to rejoin the EU, although she knew there would be conditions to meet.

Did any pollster give a forecast which was correct or even nearly correct? Bernard Faulks, Chichester

After several elections where the polls as a whole were not a good guide to the election result, this time they got it right.

The final figures in the BBC poll tracker were 43% for the Conservatives, 33% for Labour, 12% for the Lib Dems, 4% for the SNP and 3% each for the Greens and Brexit Party.

The actual result across the UK was 44% for the Conservatives, 32% for Labour, 12% for the Lib Dems, 4% for the SNP, 3% for the Greens and 2% for the Brexit Party.

That's a very good performance - just a small underestimate of the Conservative share and a slight overestimate of the Labour and Brexit Party shares, with the other parties on the nose.

Many of the polling companies had individual polls that were close to the result. But probably first prize goes jointly to Opinium and Ipsos Mori, whose final published polls were almost exactly correct.

Furthermore, the polls were also consistently right to point to Conservative strength with Leave-supporting voters.

What will Boris Johnson do for education? Eliza Brodie, Somerset

Education is devolved, so policy changes outlined in the Conservative Party manifesto will apply to England only.

It repeats Mr Johnson's previous announcement that he would invest "over £14bn in primary and secondary education between now and 2022-23".

However, this figure has been described as "misleading", given that it adds up several years of spending increases, and doesn't account for inflation, the change in how much costs increase over time.

By 2022-23, spending on schools in England will be £7.1bn higher than 2019-20. This largely reverses the 8% real-terms cuts in spending per pupil that have happened since 2010.

The Conservative Party also pledged to create 250,000 extra childcare places in the holidays for primary-school-age children by 2023-24. Those places would cover about 5% of that age group.

For those in further and higher education, the manifesto promises to look carefully at the "thoughtful" suggestions in the review into student finance and university and college funding.

How many first-time voters were there? Carl Ayling, Coulsdon

The detailed breakdown of how people voted won't be available until the British Election Study publishes the results of its face-to-face survey in a few months' time.

We do know that more than 270,000 people under 35 registered to vote in the first few days after the 2019 election was called. There was also a spike in young people registering to vote in response to a tweet by Stormzy.

However, historically, older people are more likely to turn up and vote than young people. We also know that in 2017, older people were more likely to vote Conservative.

In 2017 there was much talk of a "youthquake", having an impact on the election, but the British Election Survey data suggested there was little change in turnout by age group between the 2015 and 2017 elections.

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