What is a hung parliament and will there be one after the 2019 general election?

Boris Johnson has called a snap general election in the hope it might get him a majority in parliament.

But is it really that simple?

Nobody can guarantee how many seats they’ll win in an election and there’s the possibility that he could end up with a hung parliament, which definitely won’t help matters.

What is a hung parliament?

A 'hung parliament' is when no one political party wins a majority of seats.

When that happens, the prime minister who was in power before the election remains in power and is given the first chance to try to form a government.

They can choose to form a minority government, or can enter into a coalition with another party.

If attempts to negotiate a coalition fail, they may decide to resign and recommend that the leader of the largest opposition party is invited to form a government.

In 2017 Theresa May entered into a deal with the DUP after failing to secure a majority (Picture: PA)

Has there been a hung parliament in the UK before?

If the general election on December 12 brings a hung parliament, it won’t be the first time the UK has been in this situation.

In fact, the last time there was a Christmas general election, in 1923, the Conservative party led by Stanley Baldwin lost their majority and was unable to form a coalition.

The Labour party then took office and led the country as a minority government until October 1924.

Again, in 1974 the Conservative administration lost its majority. Edward Heath stayed Prime Minister as he tried to form a coalition but resigned just days later. A second general that year won Labour a majority of just three and by 1977-78 the Labour Government had to make a deal with the Liberal Party.

Prime Minister David Cameron (R) and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg after they agreed to form a coalition government in 2010. (Photo by Christopher Furlong - WPA Pool /Getty Images)

More recently, there was a hung parliament in the 2010 general election which led to a coalition between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.

In 2017 the Tory government lost its majority and Theresa May entered into a deal with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) on a supply and confidence basis.

Are we likely to have a hung parliament after the 2019 election?

Nobody can predict an election result and despite what polls seem to forecast, a shock result is always possible.

Back in 2017, Theresa May had hoped to secure a majority but instead found herself having to make a deal to stay in power.

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage has predicted a hung parliament and said his own party could be key to any future government.

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage has predicted a hung parliament (Picture: Reuters)

He told ITV: “It is likely, it is likely that we are going to have a hung parliament next time around so actually if the Brexit Party get a reasonable amount of people in there they could exert a great influence.

“Mrs May was kept in power by 10 DUP MPs.”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has previously said if he fails to win an overall majority, he wouldn’t seek a coalition and would seek to govern as a minority government.

The Liberal Democrats have ruled out propping up a Labour government, with party leader Jo Swinson saying Jeremy Corbyn was “not fit for the job of prime minister”.

What will happen to Brexit if there is a hung parliament?

In short, we’re basically back where we started.

Without one party commanding a majority, it’s difficult to get legislation passed - and that includes any Brexit laws.

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