Can Labour form a coalition government?

Adam Boult
Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn waves as he arrives at the Sobell Leisure Centre during the Islington North and the Islington South and Finsbury count - Getty Images Europe

Britain has a hung parliament, with election results leaving no party able to reach the 326 MPs required to achieve an absolute  majority in the House of Commons. 

The Conservatives have emerged as the largest party, but have lost 26 seats to the Labour Party and five to the Liberal Democrats.

With the Tories hamstrung, and predicted to win in total 318 seats, does that make a 'rainbow coalition' led by Labour under Jeremy Corbyn a realistic prospect?

Labour are predicted to take 260 seats, putting them 66 short of the required total. To form a Government, the party would be expected to explore the potential for co-operation with other "progressive" parties like the Lib Dems, Scottish National Party, Plaid Cymru and the Green Party's sole MP Caroline Lucas.

General Election 2017: Who are the parties?

Moreover, Theresa May gets the first shot at forming a coalition. The Conservatives may be able to borrow support from the DUP, a party which tends to vote with them anyway - taking them over the magic 326-seat line.

If Theresa May can't get the numbers it will be Labour's chance to try and do the same unless the Tories want to try their luck with a minority.

Labour has said it will not seek a coalition, instead seeking to govern as a minority government if possible. And Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron pledged during the election not to go into coalition with either the Tories or Labour.

Other arrangements short of a coalition could involve a "supply and confidence" agreement under which smaller parties would pledge to back the Government's budget and programme without taking up ministerial positions in the new administration.

Or, either the Conservatives or Labour could attempt to govern as a minority administration, seeking to win support in the Commons for their programme on a vote-by-vote basis.

Key articles | General Election 2017

Our manifesto: Real political insight, free for 30 days.

Rely on unrivalled insight and sharp analysis from our stellar team of Westminster insiders.

Join the most trusted voice in politics. Follow Election 2017 with Telegraph Premium.

Start your no obligation, 30 day free trial today.