Politics class: The UK’s next general election hangs on NHS waiting lists

This article picked by a teacher with suggested questions is part of the Financial Times free schools access programme. Details/registration here.


  • AQA Component Elections and referendums: three key elections since 1945; the reasons for and the impact of party policies on the outcomes.

  • Edexcel Component 1: 4.1: Voting behaviour and the media: case studies of three general elections; the factors that explain the outcome of these elections

Click to read the articles below and then answer the questions:

The UK’s next general election hangs on NHS waiting lists

Background: what you need to know

This article offers an interpretation of why political parties win or lose general elections. It argues that elections where public services are a prominent issue generally favour the Labour party. An example is the 2017 contest, where the issue of social care for the elderly unexpectedly assumed centre stage, inflicting political damage on Theresa May’s party.

By contrast, in 2019 the Conservatives were able to force Labour to fight the election on the less favourable ground of Brexit. By then the government had reassured the public with greater investment in public services, helping it to win the election. The author suggests that the Conservatives may face problems in 2024, as public satisfaction with the NHS is very low. However, the relative weakness of Labour may mean this results in a hung parliament rather than an outright victory for the opposition.

Question in the style of AQA Politics Paper 1

Question in the style of Edexcel Politics Paper 1

  • Evaluate the view that perceptions of governing competency are the most important influence on voting behaviour in the UK.

    You must consider this view and the alternative to this view in a balanced way. (30)

Graham Goodlad, St John’s College

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