LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s parliamentary election is billed as a chance to decide what the country does next about Brexit, but the result of the Dec. 12 ballot may not be clear-cut, leaving parties scrambling to form alliances.
FILE PHOTO: Conservative leader Boris Johnson and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn are seen during a televised debate ahead of general election in London, Britain, November 19, 2019. Jonathan Hordle/ITV/Handout via REUTERS
Opinion polls put Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservatives ahead, but the election is hard to predict because Brexit cuts across traditional political loyalties and has pushed parties to form pacts which could distort the result.
If no party wins an outright majority of around 326 seats, Johnson’s Conservatives and the main opposition Labour Party will have to look to smaller parties to see if they can find someone to support them in a minority government.
WHAT HAPPENS IF NO ONE WINS A MAJORITY?
As prime minister, Johnson would make the first move – either to resign or try to form a minority government.
If he resigns or fails to find sufficient support, Labour leadre Jeremy Corbyn would have the opportunity to form a minority government.
According to statements made by smaller parties so far, Johnson is less likely to be able to form any kind of alliance than Labour in the event of a ‘hung’ parliament.
HOW DOES A MINORITY GOVERNMENT WORK?
Any government needs to be able to win a vote in parliament to prove their ability to govern.
Whoever tries to run a minority government must therefore persuade one or more smaller parties to do one of the following:
– vote with them so they can secure an outright majority