Governing without majorities

Stuart Wilks-Heeg
16 April 2010

The Democratic Audit has just published a paper on what we are now learning to call 'A Balanced Parliament'.

The key points it makes are:

  • Parliaments in which no single party had a majority of MPs, or out of which a coalition government was formed, were the norm in UK politics before 1945.
  • The somewhat pejorative term, ‘hung Parliament’, was not introduced into British political debate until the 1970s; in an increasingly multi-party system, the term ‘balanced Parliament’ would be preferable.
  • Recent electoral trends suggest that single-party majority governments will become less likely in the UK, even without reform of the electoral system.
  • The Cabinet Office model for determining the appointment of a Prime Minister in a ‘hung Parliament’ is based on a questionable interpretation of precedent and is flawed.
  • Recent discussion of the possibility and implications of a so called ‘hung Parliament’ has failed to consider these issues from a specifically democratic standpoint.
  • If the general election produces a ‘hung Parliament’, serious deficiencies in the UK’s constitutional arrangements may well produce a controversial appointment of the next Prime Minister and create a moment of constitutional crisis.

You can read it here

Is it time to pay reparations?

The Black Lives Matter movement has renewed demands from activists in the US and around the world seeking compensation for the legacies of slavery and colonialism. But what would a reparative economic agenda practically entail and what models exist around the world?

Join us for this free live discussion at 5pm UK time (12pm EDT), Thursday 17 June.

Hear from:

  • Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor: Author of Race for Profit: How Banks and the Real Estate Industry Undermined Black Homeownership
  • Esther Stanford-Xosei: Jurisconsult, Pan-Afrikan Reparations Coalition in Europe (PARCOE).
  • Ronnie Galvin: Managing Director for Community Investment, Greater Washington Community Foundation and Senior Fellow, The Democracy Collaborative.
  • Chair, Aaron White: North American economics editor, openDemocracy
Who is bankrolling Britain's democracy? Which groups shape the stories we see in the press; which voices are silenced, and why? Sign up here to find out.


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