The Mothership Connection: Hung Parliament Edition

Andrew Sullivan has 1,424 posts on the election. Alex Massie at TNR with a guide to blogs for the election.

From Sullivan and others, various live-blogs. Iain Martin at WSJ

Andrew Sparrow at The Guardian

Nate Silver


Expect a ton of analysis and commentary on the Dish later today. But first a quick summary of yesterday’s coverage:

Massie provided a reading guide to Election Day, Nate Silver sketched out scenarios, Cameron sounded confident, and Andrew made a final push for the Tories. We tracked the exit polling here, here, here, here, here, and here. First results here and the latest here.

The Lib-Dems looked in trouble, a Lib-Lab coalition seemed doubtful, Julian Glover figured Brown was toast, Cameron and Brown kept their seats, James Forsyth sized up the spin, Bagehot assessed the high turnout, and Nick Robinson griped about all the problems at the polls. Henry Farrell worried about a Tory collapse, Tunku Varadarajan blundered, a reader sent a view from Ireland, Paul Mitchell glanced at hung parliaments around Europe, and Andrew wondered about the uncertain outcome.

Frank James at NPR:

The pollsters said before the British went to the polls Thursday that their results indicated that neither of the two major parties, the ruling Labor Party, or the Conservative Party, would have enough votes in its own right to form the next party.

And that appears to be how the election has played out, at least as of this writing there is no clear winner.

The Conservatives, led by David Cameron, led Labor in the seat count in the House of Commons, according to the BBC, which is frequently updating the numbers.

But the exit polls suggested that Conservatives would fall short of the 326 seats needed to form a majority by about 20 votes. The result: what the British call a hung Parliament, a government formed by the minority.

Cameron said the Labor Party had “lost its mandate to govern.” But experts said Cameron couldn’t claim a mandate either although his lead in the seat count gave him the ability to claim victory.

While Labor trailed, the fact that the party of Prime Minister Gordon Brown managed to deny the Conservatives the needed number of seats required to form a government outright, left the door open for Brown to try to win over enough support from the Liberal Democrats in order to retain power.

The Liberal Democrats didn’t do as well as they had hoped under their charismatic leader Nick Clegg whose candidacy caught fire during the campaign because of his performance in the first of three leader debates.

That the United Kingdom’s next leader was still unknown hours after the polls closed led some observers to compare the election to the 2000 U.S. presidential election.


With results still coming in, the Tories have 294 seats in a hung parliament. He will say he plans to govern “in the national interest”.

Nick Clegg, leader of the third biggest party the Lib Dems, said the Tories had the first right to seek to govern.

But Labour leader Gordon Brown is also hoping for a deal with the Lib Dems.

He is expected to make a statement in Downing Street within the next half an hour.

Past practice under Britain’s unwritten constitution gives the sitting prime minister in a hung parliament the right to make the first attempt at forming a ruling coalition.

As counting continues the Tories have gained 93 seats, Labour have lost 87 and the Lib Dems five, despite hopes of a breakthrough for the third party.

Anne Applebaum at WaPo:

“Messy, messy, messy” wrote the Daily Telegraph at 2.48 a.m. GMT. It’s hard to argue with that assessment: The most exciting British election in recent memory has produced a riot of confusing statistics and contradictory results. The Tories appear to have won the most parliamentary seats, but not a majority. Huge numbers of voters swung against Labour in traditionally “safe” constituencies, but the party unexpectedly picked up some new seats elsewhere.

Meanwhile, Nick Clegg proved to be the man you flirt with but never marry: Having given the Liberal Democrat leader a huge surge in the opinion polls, the British public failed to vote for his party on election night. Despite their best campaign in memory, the LibDems now have fewer seats than before.

As a result of all this, I cannot tell you, as of 1:23 p.m. GMT, who will be the next prime minister of Britain, and that might not be crystal clear for some time.

Andrew Woodcock at The Independent:

David Cameron was today offered the keys to 10 Downing Street, after Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg said that the Conservatives had the “first right” to seek to form a government in Britain’s first hung Parliament since 1974.

The Conservative leader will give his initial public response in a statement at 2.30 this afternoon, but it was thought far from certain that he would accept any deal with the Lib Dems which included reform of Westminster’s first-past-the-post voting system

Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo:

What reminds me of Bush v. Gore is the jousting and muscling for one or another to just get out. The Tories are making dramatic statements about Labour’s “humiliating” defeat and that, as David Cameron said, it’s “clear that the Labour government has lost its mandate to govern.”

Don’t get me wrong. Those statements are hard to quibble with. But obviously numbers should speak for themselves. But it’s in these cases where the actual result is unknown but also ambiguous that you’ve got these chest-thumping efforts to force the other guy off the stage, to create a fait accompli where the votes won’t quite do it themselves.

You can watch the latest numbers and BBC video feed here.

UPDATE: More Massie


Iain Murray at The Corner


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One response to “The Mothership Connection: Hung Parliament Edition

  1. Pingback: What We’ve Built Today « Around The Sphere

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