Britain appears to be heading towards a hung parliament as no party got a clear majority in the snap general elections called by Prime Minister Theresa May. The UK PM has failed to win a parliamentary majority in the UK election. The Conservative Party needed to secure 326 of 650 seats in the British parliament to rule with a full majority, but they could manage only 310. Next in line is Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party with 258 seats. Prime Minister May had called for the snap elections. The party leader who finally forms the government will have control of Brexit, a 2-year negotiation that will chart a new course for the $2.6 trillion economy. May’s intentions for calling the elections was to gain an upper hand in Britain’s exit from EU, getting a better hold on her party. But the move to conduct snap elections seems to have backfired on May, as the nation gave a stunning blow by wiping out her majority in parliament. The UK election result puts Britain right in the middle of a renewed political chaos. With May’s authority shredded, Brexit talks will most probably get delayed. But what happens next?
To understand more, one needs to know what is a hung parliament? A hung Parliament means that none of the parties has won the majority of seats in the House of Commons. This essentially means that none of the parties has an outright mandate to form a new government. Such a situation happened at the 2010 general election too. In the hung parliament, the Conservative party will stay in office, until a decision is taken on who will try to form a new government or unless May takes the decision to resign. Meanwhile, there is another option of to attempting to govern with a minority, but that would mean the party will have to rely on smaller parties in supporting legislations.
What happens now? One should expect a frenzied round of talks amongst party leaders with their negotiating members. These people will attempt to put together a coalition government or make a looser deal to make either May or Corbyn the prime minister. They will try to get support from lawmakers by wooing other parties to create a power-sharing alliance. For now, according to the Cabinet Manual, May has the right to remain in office as long as she can retain the support of her party. The new Parliament could reportedly be meeting early next week. In a similar case in 2010, the Conservative party had formed a coalition government along with the Liberal Democratic party. May’s best chances are two parties in the UK, Democratic Unionist Party and Ulster Unionist Party, as they have been in support of Brexit. But she may also face hostility from Liberal Democrats and Scottish National Party, both anti-Brexit.
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What if Theresa May resigns? If the UK PM fails to form a Conservative-led coalition, the second-biggest party, the Labour Party, has the right to make an attempt to form a coalition government of its own. Corbyn’s party may get a good reception from the Scottish National Party or the Liberal Democrats, but there is no surety on that yet. This is mainly because both the parties are more against Brexit than the Labour Party itself. But if Corbyn manages to garner support, he will be the next British PM, despite critics calling him a far-left radical.
What will happen to the Brexit talks? The talks could be delayed in both the cases, hung Parliament and if Jeremy Corbyn becomes the new leader. The talks are scheduled to start on 19 June but if it takes more time to form a government Britain may ask the EU for a delay. Interestingly, this election result could also be interpreted by the new government as an appeal from voters to soften the stance on Brexit, which can force to do more in terms of trade policies.