Hung Parliament: What’s next?

AnnieM, May 7, 2010

As explained in a previous blog, the party with the largest seats won't necessarily be able to form a coalition. As current Prime Minister, that is for Gordon Brown to negotiate with other parties. His success on forming a coalition will depend on support and cooperation with others.

The BBC put forward the following alternatives open to Gordon Brown and his current Government:

  • Coalition Brown attempts to form a coalition with another party or several parties
    • If a coalition, Liberal Democrats have already said they won’t form a coalition with Labour if it does not hold the majority. And the Liberal Democrats will be the deciding factor in negotiations as their 50 seats when added to either Labour or Conservatives will make the difference between a majority or not.  Yet, the BBC are speculating that an alliance with a LibDem and Labour is still possible as together they would still make the majority which in this case would be 60% of the votes.
  • As and when: Brown attempts to secure ‘informal agreements’ with smaller parties in order to create majorities for each bills as and when they become relevant, rather than forming ‘agreements’ in principle.
  • Resignation: Brown could resign if Conservatives show a clear lead (even if they do not hold the majority). In this case, Cameron would be invited to form a new Parliament with his party.
    • With this possibility, Cameron could still decide to create a coalition government but this would depend on how short of a majority the Conservatives actually are.
    • If Cameron decides to form a coalition, it is likely he’d try to form an alliance with the Northern Ireland Unionist party. The Scottish and Welsh nationalists have, apparently, already refused to form a coalition with the Conservatives. He could also try to form a coalition with the Liberal Democrats.

Although there is no actual deadline for agreement to be reached between the parties, May 25th is the Queen’s Speech and some kind of consensus would need to be finalised for then. During this time, it will depend on a ‘vote of confidence’ or a ‘vote of no confidence’ made by the commons if a coalition or alliance is to work (or not, as the case may be). If it is a ‘vote of no confidence’ ,  we will be seeing a lot of resignations.

If there continues to be no agreement between parties a second election will be the only option available to Britain.

News update: it is now official that we have a hung parliament