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How long will it take to form a new government following a hung parliament?

Speculation about the effect a hung parliament would have on The City has seen dramatic interest in how long it would take to form a new Government under such circumstances.

According to Professor Robert Hazell of the UCL who is working closely with the Institute for Government, it is likely to last several days - and at a maximum several weeks.

According to Robert, "in Scotland the average period between the election and formation of the new government has been one to two weeks. Westminster must be prepared for a similar time lapse."

"It is important to allow sufficient time for the talks. Otherwise there is a risk of the new government collapsing because the original agreement was rushed."

In February 1974, Harold Wilson formed a minority Labour government four days after the election, following a failed attempt to form a Conservative-Liberal coalition.

Edward Heath won fewer seats but gained more votes than Labour. He refused to resign until the Monday after the election, after talks broke down with Liberal leader Jeremy Thorpe.

For more information 

For answers to other frequently asked questions about hung parliaments, see our Guide to Hung Parliaments.

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