Hung Parliaments: Some election-night reading

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One of the few things that can be predicted with any confidence about today’s general election is that it will not deliver an overall majority for any single political party. [Edit: I was wrong — along with nearly every pollster!] Against that background, the media is awash with discussion, not all of it well-informed, about the constitutional position that applies in the event of a hung Parliament. The position is governed principally by constitutional conventions — the most authoritative statement of which is to be found in the Cabinet Manual — but is also affected by the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011.

If, as you wait for the election results to start coming in, you want to brush up on how all of this works, I recommend the following recent blog posts and articles:

I have also written on this blog about the implications of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act, with particular reference to what might happen if the wheels were to come off a coalition or minority government. Finally, chapter 2 of the Cabinet Manual and the Act (links to both of which can be found above) are relatively accessible, and are worth reading. After all, the politicians will doubtless have a great deal to say about them in the next few days (and perhaps weeks), and it is therefore worth knowing what those key constitutional texts actually say.