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Update: how would a 2010 hung Parliament be managed?

Blog post from London School of Economics & Political Science
Publication Date
  • Ja Political Science (General)
  • Jn101 Great Britain
  • Political Science


Update: How would a 2010 hung Parliament be managed? managed/ Update: How would a 2010 hung Parliament be managed? Apr 1 2010 Posted by Patrick Dunleavy and Chris Gilson Last week we discussed the differences between different types of hung parliament, especially - a “shallow hung Parliament” where the top party is just a few seats short of a majority and can hope to get by for a year until another election is called in May 2011; - and a “deeply hung” Parliament where neither of the top two parties gets above 300 seats and a government can realistically only be formed with Liberal Democrat agreement. Rather worryingly, some of the earlier pronouncements of Sir Gus O’Donnell in February suggested that civil service mandarins were living in the past, and were assuming that a 2010 hung Parliament would just re-run the rushed and ham-fisted coalition attempts of February 1974. This certainly seems to be what most of the national press is expecting, with endless references to this parallel – even though 1974 was more than three and a half decades ago. The British party system has changed out of all recognition since then – see our discussion of Other parties. And we have had formal coalitions or minority governments in Scotland, London and Wales devolved governments for years now. Happily, Tuesday saw the announcement of a new Cabinet manual, updated by Sir Gus O’Donnell, giving a number of ‘safety valves’ in the event of a hung parliament. These seem to have the chief goal of fostering financial market stability and preventing a possible run on the pound. The revisions also pave the way for civil servants, for the first time, to help broker and assist at coalition talks (though they are unable to offer policy advice). The most interesting change is that Parliament may not need to convene for 18 days after the election, in order to give time for parties to negotiate agreements or coalitio

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