What happens in the case of 'Hung Parliament' in Britain?

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With the results of Britain's general election results now declared, it has become certain that that the country has gotten a "hung parliament."

This means not only has the ruling Conservative Party not won a clear majority, but the opposition has suffered the same fate. Such a scenario is not very common when it comes to the oldest democracy in the world and will make the political climate in it very volatile.

What happens in the case of 'Hung Parliament' in Britain?

The results show that out of the 650 seats in parliament no single party, including the ruling and the main opposition Labour Party, have been able to reach the 326 mark required to form a majority government. Results show that the Conservatives have won 307, Labour 259, the Scottish Nationalists 34, Liberal Democrats 12 and Others 22.

So what happens in such a case is the question that seems to be on everyone's' mind as it is being reported that the country's internet users are already searching online to find what is a 'hung parliament.'

The steps that may follow such a result include the first most likely one, staying with electoral tradition, that Prime Minister Theresa May will be invited first to form the government, either as a minority or coalition with the support of other parties.

And in case she is successful in forming such a government she would have to go to the House of Commons, Britain's Lok Sabha, and survive a motion of confidence that would be brought in the house. And this will likely take place after the opening of Parliament on June 19.

In the scenario that she fails to conjure up enough seats to form the government, she would be expected to give her resignation to the Monarch Queen Elizabeth.

And then this will open the way for Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the Labour Party, to be to be invited by the Queen to form the government, which would again be either a minority or coalition administration.

If the opposition fails to form the government as well by winning the confidence motion in the House of Commons, Parliament will have to be dissolved and another election would have to be held.

Till date, the country has seen a low number of only five hung parliaments since the end of the 19th century, as the country follows the first-past-the-post voting system which makes such an outcome rare given the small number of mainstream political parties that exist in Britain.

These were

  • May 2010, Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition which lasted five years
  • February 1974, Labour minority government which lasted Eight months
  • 1929, Minority Labour government backed by Liberals which lasted until 1931, and the eventual formation of 'National' coalition government of Conservatives, Liberals and Labour MPs which won 1931 and 1935 elections.
  • 1923, Conservatives won more seats than Labour but stepped aside for the Labour Party. This lasted 10 months
  • 1910, Liberal Party formed a minority government supported by Labour and Irish Nationalists and then a coalition government from 1915. These lasted a total of six years.

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