June 8, 2017 by Paul Goldsmith
Exit polls have been roughly right since 1992. So the one we have just seen could be close to the final result. If that is the case I have no idea how this country will be run over the next few months before what will probably need to be another election. A health warning is that this exit poll was 30,000 people at 141 consituencies.
Just to give you some indication of how difficult the arithmetic will be if the exit poll is right, the Conservatives have 314 seats, the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party are predicted to have up to 10 seats. If you put those together it makes 324 and that is enough for a tiny majority, because the target is 323 seats given Sinn Fein won’t take their seats.
Labour have 266 seats, the Northern Irish SDLP will have about 3 seats, Sinn Fein could have up to 6 seats and in terms of political economy close to Labour, but they are just unlikely to take their seats. When you add SNP’s 34 seats (which is astonishing too), the Lib Dems with 14 seats, Greens with 1 and Plaid Cymru with 3 you get 321 seats which adds up to 321 seats even in what would be quite a wide ‘rainbow’ coalition.
The way ‘hung’ parliaments work, which is the name for when no party has a majority, is that the party most likely to be able to form a government, usually the largest party in terms of seats is asked to try to form a government. The Conservatives with 314 seats might try to form their coalition with the DUP, or maybe try to operate as a minority government, asking the DUP for support where needed and hoping to hold their discipline as every single Tory MP would have to vote with the party.
The first test is the Queens speech a new government would have to give. If this doesn’t get voted through, then there is 14 days for an ‘alternative’ government to be formed and they would try to get their Queens speech through. If this exit poll is right then the whole process could be rather chaotic, and I wouldn’t be surprised if a new election is called to try to sort it out.
Something to think about is this: Article 50 has been invoked. The clock is ticking. But we may not have a Government to start those negotiations. The clock will continue to tick. What on earth is going to happen with that? It might have been better not to have had this election…..!