What's a hung parliament? And what happens now?

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What is a hung parliament?

To win an election outright, one of the running parties must secure 326 of the 650 seats in the House of Commons, giving them the right to form the next government. A hung parliament means no single party has reached the required 326 seats for this majority government.

This is uncommon in Great Britain; despite occurring in 2010, this result had not been seen previously since 1974. Following the results from the General Election on the 8th June, the Conservative party fell short of this number, reaching 318 and losing the majority they previously held.

So what happens now?

In cases where there's a hung parliament, the party with the highest number of seats is given the chance to try and form a majority government. This takes two forms; a formal coalition, as we saw in 2010, or an informal "confidence and supply" arrangement.

Within a coalition, the partners of this formal agreement share the ministerial jobs, and have a shared agenda through the duration of the coalition. In contrast, in a confidence and supply deal the smaller parties instead support the main legislation of the main party, but are not a formal part of the government.

In the case of Theresa May in this election, she has been trying to make a deal with the DUP, who gained 10 seats, and would push the Conservatives over the 326 seats needed - although still lower than the 2015 result of 331 outright seats - standing at 328. Theresa May is pursuing a "confidence and supply" arrangement, and has rejected the alternative of a formal coalition.

If the Conservatives fail to hold the majority, then Labour will also be given an opportunity to try and form a new government.

Will there be another general election?

Potentially; if the new government fails to gain a majority, or the agreement fails at a later stage, then the UK would have another general election, which could be held later this year.

Here's a little more info from our student news caster:


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