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Britons Have Returned a Hung Parliament. Here's What Happens Next

An exit poll following Britain's general election on Thursday suggested the country could be heading for a "hung parliament", in which no party has an overall majority. Here is what would happen next if the forecast is confirmed by the full results.


Updated:June 9, 2017, 12:58 PM IST
Britons Have Returned a Hung Parliament. Here's What Happens Next
Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservatives have come first in Britain's general election but lost their overall majority in parliament. (News18 Creatives)

London: Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservatives have come first in Britain's general election but lost their overall majority in parliament, near-complete results showed on Friday. With just 16 seats left to declare, the Conservatives have won 309 seats, meaning they cannot get an overall majority in the 650-seat House of Commons.

Here’s a look at the possible scenarios now:

—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.

— 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.

ALSO READ | UK Elections: With No Clear Winner, What Happens to Brexit?

— But if May cannot form a government or does 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.

ALSO READ | Theresa May's Election Gamble Backfires as Tories Lose Majority

Here’s a look at the fates of Britain’s previous hung parliaments:

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

ALSO READ | Brexit Not the Only Headache Awaiting the Next British PM


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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| Edited by: Nitya Thirumalai
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