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What does a hung parliament mean? All you need to know about what could happen after the General Election

Here's all you need to know about what a hung parliament would mean for the UK

Voters could wake to a hung parliament on Friday (June 9) according to exit polls for the General Election .

Although Conservatives could be the largest party, it is predicted they won't obtain the overall majority.

A majority vote would require more than 326 seats, and the Tories are expected to scoop 314 seats with Labour landing 266 spots.

This means they would have to form a coalition with the backing of other smaller parties.

Theresa May started the campaign as a favourite to win, but odds and predictions have been fast changing in the run up to the vote.

So what happens if there is a hung parliament? What does that mean, and how will it change the aftermath of the election?

Thanks to the Mirror , here's a run through of the basics and how it could end.

What is a hung parliament?

Prime Minister Theresa May(Image: Evening Gazette)

When no party has an overall majority - more seats than all the other parties put together.

There are 650 seats in the House of Commons, so an overall majority would mean winning 326 .

In reality it's said to be 323 because Northern Ireland's Sinn Fein MPs don't attend Parliament.

Without at least 323 seats, the government won't be able to pass laws if all the other MPs gang up on it.

These laws include the Queen's Speech , when the government declares its plans for the next year.

It's due on June 19 , and there'll be a crisis if it's voted down.

Has it happened before?

David Cameron

Yes - in 2010 , which is why the Tories and Lib Dems formed a coalition.

Before that the last hung parliament was in 1974 , when Tory Ted Heath just edged out Labour's Harold Wilson.

The government only lasted eight months and there had to be a fresh election.

Britain's also had hung parliaments in 1929 and 1910 .

How will it get worked out?

Jeremy Corbyn greeting supporters in Colwyn Bay on the last day of campaigning for the General Election 2017(Image: Daily Post Wales)

One way or another, the parties have to group together so they have enough votes to pass laws.

This took a few days in 2010, as the Lib Dems talked to the Tories and Labour before thrashing out a deal with the Conservatives.

That experience is fresh in the memory for all the parties concerned. The Lib Dems suffered disastrous election results in 2015 after five years in Government.

And with Theresa May returning to the " coalition of chaos " scare tactics which appeared two years ago it is understandable parties are wary of aligning themselves too closely with rivals.

So what are the options?

Coalition

Could there be tricky times ahead for Jeremy Corbyn?

This is the most stable system and it's what happened in 2010.

It means including a smaller party in the government and turning its senior members into ministers, like Vince Cable or Nick Clegg.

All parties have been talking down the prospect of any formal coalition during the 2017 campaign.

Confidence and supply

This is less formal than a coalition - and that means it's also less stable.

'Confidence' means a smaller party supports the government in a vote of no confidence which would boot it out of power.

'Supply' means a smaller party supplies the government with money by voting for, or abstaining on, the budget every year.

But on other votes the government would have less power, so the PM could remain in Number 10 despite losing on key issues.

Vote-by-vote

This is an even looser arrangement - so it's one of the most unstable.

It means a government relying on a smaller party's support for some laws but not for others.

So if the SNP backed Labour, it might vote for laws where the parties see eye-to-eye like the NHS but not on major issues like the budget .

In the past, that would've been enough to make a government collapse and force a second election .

But thanks to a 2011 law all Parliaments are fixed for 5 years - although two years on from the last election, we've all seen how effectively that has worked out.

So it does provide a bit more stability, but there are still two ways an election can be called before the end of a five year term.

The first is a vote of no confidence , which would be bad PR for a ruling party to back.

The second is if two-thirds of MPs back an early election , which is what happened after Theresa May called a snap election .

That means - in theory - there could be a deadlock where the PM is in Downing Street despite not being able to pass their budgets.

Minority government

Here's the most high risk option.

Labour or the Tories could decide to go it alone and hope their rivals won't risk the country by voting down the Queen's Speech.

That is the option Labour appears to favour if they are the largest party but do not have an overall majority.

Many smaller parties are left-wing, so they'd rather support Labour than the Tories.

The history isn't good though. Tory Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin's 1924 King's Speech was defeated by 72 votes.

He resigned the next morning and Ramsay MacDonald formed the first Labour government, but that only lasted nine months.

Second election

(Image: Photo by Kirsty Wigglesworth - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

There'll be a second election if every option fails.

It'd probably take place before Christmas and it would cost a packet.

Never mind all the uncertainty in the economy and what we do about Brexit negotiations in the meantime - there's the cost of all those mailouts, TV adverts, polling stations and ballot papers to think about.

The 2010 general election cost a staggering £113million, and that's just public money.

Millions more were spent by the parties themselves - £39million in the 2015 election.

But hey, we haven't had enough votes in the last three years.

For all the latest General Election 2017 news and results, follow our live blog .

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