I heard on the radio that the current 56th General Election of the United Kingdom will elect the 57th Parliament. Assuming this is correct, surely the first election would elect the first parliament, the second elect the second parliament, and so on, so what explains the difference in current number of elections and number of parliaments?

Has there been a UK Parliament formed without an election? What caused this difference?

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    Perhaps the first parliament created the laws under which the general election process began and the first general election actually elected the second parliament?
    – Steve Bird
    Commented May 25, 2017 at 14:01

1 Answer 1


The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was created in 1801, by the merger of the Kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland under the Acts of Union. The previous Parliament (the last Parliament of Great Britain) had held its last general election in 1796, so that Parliament became the first UK Parliament on 22 January 1801.

So, the first General Election of the United Kingdom in 1802 actually elected the second UK Parliament.

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    I see, so there was already a Parliament sitting at the time of the Acts of Union, which became the 1st Parliament of the 'new' UK, as the previous election had just been for the old Parliament. Great answer thanks!
    – samiles
    Commented May 25, 2017 at 14:12
  • @samiles "Parliment" began life as an advisory council to the King composed of businessmen (they called them Traders and Merchants). There is a second advisory council composed of high born Nobles that continues to this day as the House of Lords
    – slebetman
    Commented May 26, 2017 at 2:35
  • @slebetman This Wikipedia article offers a simplified history of the evolution of Parliament in England and Great Britain. Commented May 26, 2017 at 2:45

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