Britain wakes up to a hung parliament…what happens now?

Britain has woken up this morning to a hung parliament with no political party gaining an overall majority to form a government.

No party can win a majority in parliament as Theresa May’s Conservatives lose seats in England and Wales to Labour and the Liberal Democrats, despite seeing their vote share rise.

General Election 2017 results

PARTY SEATS NET CHANGE IN SEATS+/- VOTES VOTE SHARE NET PERCENTAGE CHANGE IN SEATS+/- %

Conservative

316 -12 13,595,572 42.4 +5.5

Labour

261 +29 12,840,451 40.1 +9.5

Scottish National Party

35 -21 977,569 3.0 -1.7

Liberal Democrat

12 +4 2,339,067 7.3 -0.5

Democratic Unionist Party

10 +2 292,316 0.9 +0.3

Sinn Fein

7 +3 238,915 0.7 +0.2

Plaid Cymru

4 +1 164,466 0.5 -0.1

Green Party

1 0 523,269 1.6 -2.1

UKIP

0 -1 593,852 1.9 -10.8

Social Democratic & Labour Party

0 -3 95,419 0.3 0.0

Ulster Unionist Party

0 -2 83,280 0.3 -0.1

Alliance Party

0 0 64,553 0.2 0.0

The Yorkshire Party

0 0 20,958 0.1 0.0

National Health Action

0 0 16,119 0.1 0.0

Christian Peoples Alliance

0 0 5,684 0.0 0.0

British National Party

0 0 4,642 0.0 0.0

Monster Raving Loony Party

0 0 3,890 0.0 0.0

Women’s Equality Party

0 0 3,580 0.0 0.0

Pirate Party

0 0 2,321 0.0 0.0

English Democrats

0 0 1,913 0.0 0.0

Workers Revolutionary Party

0 0 771 0.0 0.0

Social Democratic Party

0 0 469 0.0 0.0
Party

Others

1 0 185,997 0.6 +0.3

 

What now?

To form a coalition a government – an overall majority of at least 327 seats will be required.

Amid predictions the Conservatives may fall short of a majority, Mrs May said: “At this time more than anything else, this country needs a period of stability.

“And if, as the indications have shown and if this is correct that the Conservative Party has won the most seats and probably the most votes, then it will be incumbent on us to ensure we have that period of stability – and that is exactly what we will do.”

If no party emerges with an overall majority, the current Conservative Government would stay in office until Prime Minister May goes to the Queen to tender her resignation and that of her administration.

Subsequently, the leader of the largest opposition party may be invited to form a government either as a minority or in coalition with another party or parties.

What are the possible outcomes of this election?

  1. A Tory or Labour-led coalition government

In that scenario, Theresa May, as the incumbent Prime Minister, would have the first opportunity to try and form a coalition.

However, even with the support of Northern Ireland unionists, the Conservatives would struggle to form a viable administration without reaching out to other parties.

Meanwhile, a so-called “progressive alliance” bringing together Labour, Liberal Democrats, the SNP, Plaid Cymru and Greens would fall short of an absolute majority and produce a total only a few seats larger than the Tories on their own.

The one combination which would creep over the crucial 326 mark would be a repeat of the 2010 Tory-Lib Dem coalition, which has been explicitly ruled out by Lib Dem leader Tim Farron.

  1. A minority government

Labour, Lib Dems and the SNP ruled out a formal coalition in the run up to the election, speaking instead about the possibility of a minority administration being propped up on a vote-by-vote basis.

Lib Dem president Baroness Brinton and leader Time Farron have insisted the party could not work with either Labour or the Tories as both are pushing for a “hard Brexit”.

  1. An election re-run

If a coalition government cannot be formed and a minority government proves unworkable there will be a second general election later this year.

Ed Balls, the former chancellor, said there would be no coalition, that a minority government would prove too unstable and that we would have a second General Election later this year.

However, that scenario would put back the start of formal Brexit talks, squeezing even further the limited time available to forge a complex withdrawal agreement and a separate deal on future trade arrangements.

In 1974, the hung parliament after the February election led to a second election in October.

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