Election 2017: Hung parliament? Tory win? Corbyn as PM? The six possible scenarios

Our Chief Political Commentator sets out the range of possible outcomes to expect after the polls close at 10pm

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Indy Politics

Here are six possible scenarios that could emerge overnight between Thursday and Friday:

Conservative seats




Lose 19+

Hung parliament

Labour government

Jeremy Corbyn’s huge triumph, but he would need SNP and other votes to be PM, and a few Labour MPs would refuse to support him

Lose 8-18

Hung parliament

Conservative minority government

Disaster for Theresa May: she would need DUP/UUP votes (8-11) to stay on, and the Tories might soon replace her with Boris Johnson, David Davis or Amber Rudd

Lose 1-8

Conservative working majority of 1-15

Conservative reduced majority

Humiliation for May, but she will say “Brexit is Brexit; a win is a win”, and she will at least have her own mandate

Gain 0-8

Conservative absolute majority of 12-28

What was the point of that?

Embarrassment for May, but she will say that she has strengthened her government and has a stronger mandate for Brexit talks

Gain 9-33

Conservative majority 30-78

Comfortable win

Vindication for May: despite a manifesto forcing voters to face tough choices about old age, she is secure for a parliament

Gain 34+

Conservative majority 80+


Triumph for May: the “terrible campaign” story will be rewritten as a brilliant reading of the essence of the British people

What is a majority?

The absolute majority matters in reporting the election tomorrow, because we are comparing with previous elections. In 2015 the Conservatives’ absolute majority was 12, the difference between the number of Conservative seats, 331, and all other parties, 319, in a House of Commons of 650.

The working majority matters to a Government trying to get its laws through Parliament: it excludes Sinn Fein MPs, who do not take their seats, and any vacancies. It was 17 when Parliament was dissolved. So Theresa May could lose eight seats and still have a working majority of one, if Sinn Fein wins five seats, one more than last time (the Conservatives would have 323 seats to 322 for all other parties).