Tuesday, 28 April 2015

What if ~ as seems likely ~ it is a hung Parliament ?

The General Election for the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is rapidly approaching.  The latest opinion polls are analysed by UKPollingReport and they continue to suggest a "hung parliament" - that is, no party having an overall majority of seats.  

What is the legal position in the event of such a Parliament ?  Under our Parliamentary system, the test for whether a Prime Minister can govern or not is whether he (or she) commands a majority in the House of Commons.  The situation is expertly considered by Carl Gardner on his Head of Legal Blog - Ed can enter No. 10 without Nicola's keys - and I recommend reading of his post.

The fact
that the UK does not have a formally written constitution results in decisions as to the next government being decided - (a) by the electorate choosing their Members of Parliament and, then (b) by Her Majesty the Queen appointing as Prime Minister the individual who is best able to form a government and, in turn, that is the individual whose Party (or a combination of parties)  is best able to command the confidence of the House.  The Queen will act on the basis of advice given to her and such advice will be based on constitutional conventions and examples of past situations.

A further general election may only be held as specified by the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act 2011.

For more about the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act see Head of Legal blog.


  1. Brilliant post. Please go on TV and explain it!