UK Elections: Understanding what a hung parliament means

by Alexander O. Onukwue

For the first time in three elections and only the second occurrence since after the Second World War, the UK will have a hung parliament.

A Hung Parliament is one where no party is able to gain an outright majority control of the seats in the House of Commons. Of the 630 seats contested in elections, a Party which seeks to form its own Government must have a majority of 326.

Results from the 2017 General Elections which held from Thursday, June 08, show the Conservatives, the Party of Prime Minister Theresa May, lost its majority in the House, from pre-election seats of 331 to 318, eight short of the required threshold for the majority.

It means Mrs May and her Party would have to form a coalition government with another Party. She will now need to form an alliance with some other members of Parliament by either offering positions in the cabinet, or through what is called a “confidence and supply” arrangement where policy trade-offs are made to the ally. That will not be without its challenges, in the present situation, as May’s hard Brexit views are mostly divergent from any of the other parties in the UK.

Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the second-largest Party in Parliament, Labour, has called on Mrs May to resign, but even he would have a problem forming a Government, should it prove impossible for the Conservatives to form theirs. A possible alliance with the Scottish National Party or the Liberal Democrats might be predicated on agreeing to a second referendum on the UK’s place in the EU, something Mr Corbyn has not spoken much about and which Labour is very reluctant to explore.

As the former Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Cameron Government, George Osborne, did put it, “it’s on a real knife edge”.

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