The constitutional rule is that the politician who can command the confidence of the House of Commons becomes PM. This could be the leader of the second largest party, if he can secure sufficient support from third and minor parties.

The Constitution Unit

Government Formation Revisited

I’ve written a number of posts exploring the issue of government formation in a hung parliament, but in the lead-up to the May 7 2015 UK General Election, a number of helpful guides and videos on the issue have appeared. While they specifically address the current situation in the UK, the basic principles apply here in Canada as well (except for the conditions imposed by the UK’s Fixed-term Parliaments Act).

Preparing for another hung Parliament: 9 key questions answered :

The media and voters may assume that 2015 will then see a replay of 2010, with the swift formation of another coalition government. Not necessarily so, as explained by the former director of UCL’s Constitution Unit, Prof Robert Hazell in this FAQ.

Video: Another hung Parliament: What next?

In this short video Professor Robert Hazell explains how the new government will be formed if no single party gains an overall majority in the UK general election in May. He also explodes some common myths: a hung Parliament does not always mean coalition, but could equally see a minority government; the largest single party is not necessarily the first mover, nor will it necessarily form the government; and it is not up to the Queen to decide. And finally, he explains why forming a new government is likely to take a lot longer than five days.

A hung parliament appears inevitable, so what happens next?

The director of the Institute for Government, Peter Riddell, explains government formation and why there is little need to worry about a possible constitutional crisis.

Westminster in an age of minorities

Many of the conventions and expectations surrounding elections in the UK are designed for an era of two-party dominance and may now therefore need rethinking. In this report, Akash Paun of the Institute for Government considers some of the key issues, making suggestions for what should be done up to and after the election of May 2015, as well as proposals for larger reforms to consider over the longer term.

The Cabinet Manual and the Caretaker Convention

Prof Hazell discusses the weaknesses of the Cabinet Manual in terms of offering guidance on role of the incumbent PM and the caretaker convention.

Government Formation Post-Election

A report from the UK House of Commons Political and Constitutional Reform Committee which looks at procedures for forming a government after the General Election and sets out what the public ought to expect in the event of a hung Parliament. (Click here for a PDF version.)

 

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