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Elections and referenda

Elections are a democratic process conducted strictly in accordance with statutory criteria. All elections are conducted within a statutory timetable, which will be published at the time the election is called. The Returning Officer who is appointed by the Council is responsible for the conduct of elections and referenda held within the city boundary; these include but are not limited to:

Parliamentary election - must be held within five years

There is one parliamentary constituency within the borough boundary. Members of Parliament (MPs) are elected to Parliament for a five year period. However, the Government may hold the Parliamentary Election at any time within the five year period, upon dissolution of Parliament. There is one MP per constituency.

Local Borough Council election - every other year

There are 14 wards in Gosport, each represented by two Councillors.  Elections in Gosport are by halves, and are traditionally held on the first Thursday in May. Councillors are elected for a four-year term and one councillor per ward retires every other year.

By-election - when required

If an elected member is no longer available to represent the electorate, a by-election can be called at any time for all types of election. The statutory time table for by-elections is the same as the timetable used for the relevant main election. This will be published at the time an election is called.

By-elections can be called for various reasons including:

  • death of a councillor;
  • councillor moving out of the area;
  • councillor's change of employment.

Referenda - when required

The Borough Council or central Government can organise referenda on a variety of issues. The last national referendum was in 2011 when the government tested the country's view on whether to change our voting system to the Alternate Vote.

Regional Elections

Regional elections cover more than one local authority area, for example Police and Crime Commissioner elections. The governing body in charge of conducting these elections across the UK appoint Area Returning Officers.

In recent years, the Returning Officer for Southampton City Council has also been appointed as the relevant election Area Returning Officer.

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