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.

File photo dated 26/06/17 of Prime Minister Theresa May standing with DUP leader Arlene Foster (left), as DUP MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson (second right) and Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury, and Chief Whip, Gavin Williamson, sign paperwork inside 10 Downing Street, London, after the DUP agreed a deal to support the minority Conservative government. The Prime Minister is expected to announce details later today of her timetable for leaving Downing Street.
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.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 12:  Prime Minister David Cameron (R) and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg hold their first joint press conference in the Downing Street garden on May 12, 2010 in London, England. On his first full day as Prime Minister, David Cameron has made a series of cabinet appointments including Nick Clegg as Deputy Prime Minister. The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have now agreed to lead the country with a fully inclusive coalition government.  (Photo by Christopher Furlong - WPA Pool /Getty Images)
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 wears boxing gloves at a general election campaign event at Bolsover Boxing Club in Chesterfield, Britain November 5, 2019. REUTERS/Phil Noble     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
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.

---Watch the latest videos from Yahoo UK---

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting