What is a Hung Parliament?

 Recent results from opinion polls have shown that that general election resulting in a ‘hung parliament’ is becoming ever more likely. But what exactly is a ‘hung parliament’, and what does it mean?

 A hung parliament means that no party receives an overall majority in the election. There are six hundred and fifty seats in parliament, so to win the election one party will need to win at least three hundred and twenty six seats.

 In this general election, Labour will lose the majority if they lose twenty four seats, and the Conservatives will gain majority if the they win one hundred and sixteen seats. Any result in between will result in a hung parliament.

 If that’s the case, then it’s likely that two parties will form a coalition government by joining forces, for example, Labour and the Liberal Democrats. Otherwise, the party that has the most seats (but not a majority) can form a government, but will have to get the support of other parties to pass motions in parliament.

 There has been a hung parliament in England before, in the first of the two general elections in 1974, when Labour won three hundred and one seats and the Conservative’s won two hundred and ninety seven. Harold Wilson formed a coalition government, but it did not last very long and there was a re-election later in the year.

 Hung parliaments can often make it very difficult to get laws passed and get agreement from all parties, and so previously they have not been successful in the UK for very long. So, if there if this general election does result in a hung parliament, we could be seeing another general election in the near future…

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