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Queen’s constitutional role could be tested as another hung parliament looms

The Queen may be forced to take control in the UK General Election

The Queen may be forced to take control in the UK General Election after Thursday’s result.

It’s polling day in the United Kingdom. It is one of the most tightly fought elections in recent history and in the likely event no party wins a clear majority, The Queen will be responsible for ensuring the next Prime Minister she appoints (or indeed continues in office) can secure the confidence of the House of Commons.

The Queen however will not be involved in any of the negotiations. It will be for senior civil servants to ensure negotiations between the parties occur before reporting back to The Queen. Only then will Her Majesty’s major constitutional duties commence.

If the leader of the Conservative Party, David Cameron, tries to hang onto power without the backing of enough MPs, Her Majesty could still deliver The Queen’s Speech even if it gets voted down later on in the House of Commons. Earlier reports had suggested the Queen’s speech may be read in her absence instead, to keep her away from the political fray.

The Queen’s Speech, which sets her government’s agenda for the next five years, is scheduled to take place in The House of Lords on May 27th.

According to The Times newspaper, Buckingham Palace aides, the Palace is determined to ensure that The Queen is seen to be politically neutral and that she is not seen to be influencing political events.

Royal sources have revealed that Her Majesty would lead proceedings, even though there may be a risk that the speech would be overthrown the following week because the Conservative party had failed to rally up enough backing from the smaller Westminster parties.

Today, the British people will elect a total of 650 members of parliament, representing constituencies across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

As the strength of the traditional two parties in the UK dwindles, with seven parties now gaining precedence in the UK, the likelihood of another hung parliament – where no one party commands a majority – is next to certain. Alongside Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats, other parties whom are likely to make an impact in this election include UKIP, the Green Party, the Scottish Nationalist Party and Plaid Cymru.

Polls opened at 7:00 and will close later on at 22:00. The results are expected to come in Thursday night into Friday. However, we may not know who will be included in the next government for many days, or even weeks ahead.

photo credit: UK Parliament via photopin cc

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