A general election is how the British public decide who they want to represent them in Parliament and, ultimately, run the country. Everyone who is eligible – and registered (see below) – gets to vote for one candidate to represent their local area, which is known in Parliament as a constituency.
The candidates standing for election are usually drawn from political parties, but can also stand as independents. The person with the most votes in a constituency is elected as its MP, to represent that area in the House of Commons.
The leader of the political party with the most MPs after the election is expected to be asked by the Queen to become prime minister and form a government to run the country. The leader of the political party with the second highest number of MPs normally becomes leader of the opposition. Once elected, MPs work both in your area – or their constituency – dealing with local matters, and in Parliament, where they vote and help shape law, alongside 649 other MPs.