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HUNG PARLIAMENT

Q. what do mps mean when they talk about a ‘hung parliament’?
A. A hung parliament occurs when no party has an overall majority.?There are 650 seats up for grabs in the next House of Commons, meaning the winner of the election will need to have 326 seats to command an overall majority. If they win 325 seats or less, then the parliament is described as “hung”, because opposition MPs could club together to defeat legislation.

Q. How likely is a hung parliament?
A. Nearly all the opinion polls point to a hung parliament, although historically it is very uncommon. The last time a general election produced a hung parliament was in 1974.

Q. what happens if there is a hung parliament on 6 may?
A. Initially, sitting Prime Minister Gordon?Brown has the right to try and form a government, even if he wins less seats than?David Cameron’s Tories. But it is very unlikely that Nick?Clegg’s Liberal?Democrats would be willing to support Brown if he doesn’t have the most seats. It would then fall to David Cameron to try and form a government. He could do this by building a coalition, offering the Lib?Dems a say over certain policies and a handful of senior government jobs. Or he could form a minority government, cobbling together enough votes to get individual pieces of legislation through. But if he were defeated on a big piece of legislation like the Budget, or in a no-confidence vote, he would have to call another election.

Q. who are the liberal democrats likely to support?
A. Traditionally, the Lib?Dems are closer to Labour, but they are tight-lipped on who they would prop up this time round. Clegg is said to dislike Brown, so could call for his resignation in exchange for support. But that would mean the UK?gets its second unelected leader in a row.