GE 2017 FAQs

9 Jun 2017


What is a ‘hung Parliament’?

A Parliament in which no one party has an overall majority, meaning at least 326 seats. The largest party is the Conservatives, but with only 318 seats.

CON 318 (-12)
LAB 261 (+29)
SNP 35 (-21)
LD 12 (+4)
DUP 10 (+2)
OTH 13 (-2)
After 649 of 650 seats

What happens now?

Following the 2010 Election, the Civil Service and government put together some guidance as to what should happen in such a scenario:

Option A: May stays on as PM while seeking to form a majority government together. 

Option B: If she can’t, then Corbyn would be given the option to do so, but Corbyn does not have to wait to try.  He can hold talks at the same time as May, as the Liberal Demcorats did last time.

Option C: Either of the two parties can opt to go it alone in a minority government, but it is likely that whichever party did so would find themselves having to compromise on their legislative agenda in order to attract sufficient votes to put through their platform

Negotiations have the informal deadline of 13 June. May has until then to either resign or put together a deal according to the Cabinet Office Manual. The most likely deal scenario for the Conservatives at the moment looks to be with the Northern Irish unionist parties. The DUP increased its seat share to 10, which added to the Conservatives’ 318 would push them over the line for a majority of votes in the House of Commons. However there are signs that the DUP, well-practiced in coalition negotiations, will play hardball.

However, for May to give way, it really must become clear by then that Corbyn can form a government and she can’t. May is entitled to wait until Parliament returns in order to see if she can command the confidence of the House.

What big names have left or returned to Parliament?

Several Ministers have lost seats, including:

  • Jane Ellison, Financial Secretary to the Treasury
  • Simon Kirby, Economic Secretary to the Treasury
  • Ben Gummer, Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General
  • Gavin Barwell, Minister of State for Housing and Planning and Minister for London
  • David Mowat, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Community Health and Care

Other notable losses include:

  • Nick Clegg, former Deputy Prime Minister
  • Alex Salmond, former First Minister of Scotland and leader of the SNP
  • Angus Robertson, Deputy Leader of the SNP

And a few high profile names made their return to Parliament:

  • Vince Cable, former Liberal Democrat Business Secretary
  • Ed Davey, former Liberal Democrat Energy Secretary
  • Jo Swinson, former Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Women and Equalities
  • Zac Goldsmith, former Conservative candidate for London mayor

What does this mean for Brexit?

It seems likely that the prospective government may apply for an extension to the timeline for Brexit talks due to the necessary wrangling that follows from a coalition government. Talks are due to start next week, and Ministers will need to be apprised of their briefs and supporting officials given their marching orders.  

It is important to note that the extension to the two year time horizon for Article 50 negotiations is arrived at via a process weighted against the applicant. It requires unanimity among the EU27 and the consent of the European Parliament, and as such is not inured to politics. Indeed the Czech PM has already said that ‘I don’t think we should talk about some prolongation of the [Article 50] deadline.’

Indeed the same goes for the speculation as to what this means for the relative ‘density’ of Brexit, hard or soft. Certainly, whoever forms a government can no longer make use of the ‘elective dictatorship’ to get Parliament to pass a deal that conforms to their explicit preferences without some regard to the minority partners in a coalition. But ultimately the negotiations remain a multi-dimensional affair involving national governments, EU institutions and national and regional parliaments across Europe, each with their own preferences. Of course the negotiating position of the UK matters framed in terms of what it wants, but so too does what the government is willing to concede in order to get it.  

What does this mean for housing policy?

During the campaign all political parties acknowledged the need for a significant increase in new homes and despite the current political uncertainty, the commitment should remain the same. The Conservatives had a plan, via the Housing White paper, promising 1.5 million new homes by 2022 and many in the industry will continue to support this pledge. We are disappointed to see Gavin Barwell lose his seat as Housing and Planning Minister and we hope and expect his replacement to pick up and carry on the good work that he started. We will be urging new Ministers to adopt the White Paper and get on with delivering the homes the UK needs straight away. 

What does this mean for the Industrial Strategy?

As many members know, a core component of the BPF response to government’s Industrial Strategy has been plans to develop a ‘Sector Deal’ for real estate.

Whichever government is formed in the coming days will need some kind of economic plan to weather the storms that Brexit is likely to bring, so the importance a Sector Deal, to ensure our industry can reach its full potential to drive UK growth and productivity, remains. Although this project will inevitably need to be responsive to the priorities of any new government, we are continuing on the same track for the moment, and our or relationships with, Metro Mayors, local authorities and other stakeholder bodies will be of inestimable value as we progress.