What is a hung Parliament?

  • 10 June 2017
Houses of Parliament Image copyright Getty Images

The general election didn't have a clear overall winner, so now the UK has a 'hung parliament' - but what does that mean?

What does 'hung Parliament' mean?

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Hung Parliament: what does it mean?

To make a government in the UK, a political party has to do well enough in a general election to win an 'overall majority' in the House of Commons.

The House of Commons has 650 MPs (members of Parliament), so having an overall majority means having half those MPs plus one more.

That means they need to win at least 326 seats, so that they'll have 326 MPs in the House of Commons and they're strong enough to put their plans through Parliament

If they win fewer than that, then they're not big enough to be a majority government - even if they've got more seats than anyone else.

When that happens, they need help from another party, so that they have the extra support of their MPs as well.

Why has it happened?

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Theresa May's party didn't win enough seats for an overall majority

The UK has a hung Parliament now because none of the parties won enough seats in the General Election to make a government.

The Conservative party was the closest, but they still only got 318 seats - fewer than the 326 that they need.

Now they have to find a way to get the extra support they need to make a government.

What happens now?

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Image caption The DUP are a Northern Irish party who won 10 MPs

Theresa May has said that the Conservatives can make a minority government, because they'll get the extra support she needs from the DUP (Democratic Union Party) from Northern Ireland.

The DUP won 10 seats, which only makes them the fifth biggest party in Parliament - but added to the Conservatives' 318 seats, it makes a total of 328 which is enough to get things done in the House of Commons.

The two parties are in talks now, but will need to have a solid agreement by Tuesday 13th June, when Parliament meets again for the first time since the election.

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