A hung parliament in Britain?: What happens next

Agence France-Presse
A hung parliament in Britain?: What happens next


(UPDATED) The United Kingdom officially has a hung parliament. Here is what would happen next.

LONDON, United Kingdom (UPDTAED) – Results of Britain’s general election on Thursday, June 8, showed the country will have a “hung parliament”, in which no party has an overall majority.

Here is what would happen next

  • There are 650 seats in the House of Commons up for grabs at the election. One party needs to win at least 326 to secure an overall majority. Near-final results as of 6:25 am UK time showed Conservatives have won 312, Labour 260, the Scottish Nationalists 34 and the Liberal Democrats 12.
  • Theresa May as incumbent prime minister will have the first shot at trying to form a government – either as a minority or in coalition with others.
  • If May did manage to do this, she would then go to the House of Commons to see if her government could survive a motion of confidence, probably after the state opening of parliament on June 19.
  • But if May could not form a government or did not survive the motion of confidence, she would be expected to hand in her resignation to Queen Elizabeth II.
  • The monarch would then be likely to invite Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the main opposition Labour party, to try to form a government. That, again, could be a minority or coalition administration.
  • If no government can command the confidence of the House of Commons, parliament can be dissolved and another election held.

Britain’s first-past-the-post voting system means hung parliaments are relatively rare – there have been only 5 since the end of the 19th century.

The last ones were:

May 2010

Prime Minister: David Cameron (Conservatives)

Composition: Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition

Lasted: Five years

February 1974

Prime Minister: Harold Wilson (Labour)

Composition: Labour minority government

Lasted: Eight months


Prime Minister: Ramsey MacDonald (Labour)

Composition: Minority Labour government backed by Liberals

Lasted: until 1931, but amid the Great Depression, MacDonald formed ‘National’ coalition government of Conservatives, Liberals and small number of Labour MPs which won 1931 and 1935 elections.


Prime Minister: Ramsey MacDonald (Labour)

Composition: Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin’s Conservatives won more seats than Labour but stepped aside for Labour’s MacDonald

Lasted: 10 months


Prime Minister: Herbert Asquith (Liberal Party)

Composition: Liberal Party in a minority government, with support of Labour and the Irish Nationalists. Then a coalition government from 1915.

Lasted: Six years


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