General Election 2017: What is a Hung Parliament?

General Election 2017
Theresa May (Conservative), Jeremy Corbyn (Labour), Tim Farron (LibDem) and Nicola Sturgeon (SNP). Photos: Twitter

The 2017 UK General Election has ended in a Hung Parliament, meaning no party can reach an overall majority. But what is a Hung Parliament and what happens next?

What is a Hung Parliament?

When no single party can get enough MPs to form a majority on its own the Parliament is said to be “hung”. The last time this happened was at the 2010 general election.

Will the party with the most MPs form the next government?

The party with the most MPs won’t necessarily form the next government, although they are normally described as the winner and its leader nearly always goes on to become the next prime minister.

However, this might not happen with an inconclusive result like last night’s. It is possible for the party that came second to form a government with the support of other parties.

What happens now?

The Conservative government will remain in office until it is decided who will attempt to form a new government. Current Prime Minister Theresa May can remain in Number 10 until the decision is made unless she decides to resign beforehand.

Talks will begin between the party leaders and their negotiating teams, as they try to put together another coalition government or a looser deal to put either Mrs May or Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn into Number 10 as Prime Minister.

Alternatively, one of the two party leaders could opt to go it alone and try to run a minority government, relying on the support of smaller parties when needed to get their laws passed.