Here, the Labour Government under Gordon Brown remained as a “caretaker” prime minister until a majority government could be formed. A coalition government was formed just days later between the Conservatives, led by Prime Minister David Cameron and Liberal Democrats, led by Nick Clegg.
In the general election of February 1974, conducted against a backdrop of industrial strife and a three-day working week, both Labour and the Tories were short of an overall majority.
Tory incumbent Prime Minister Edward Heath attempted to form a minority government but this collapsed in days as he was unable to strike a deal with the Liberal Party or Unionist MPs.
Labour leader Harold Wilson, who had been Prime Minister between 1964 and 1970, was then invited to form a minority government by the Queen.
His administration survived through to a second general election in October 1974 which resulted in a single-figure majority for Wilson, who subsequently resigned in 1976.
He was replaced as Labour leader and Prime Minister by James Callaghan but Labour, their majority whittled away in by-election losses, were ousted by Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative Party in 1979.
In the 20th century, Britain’s first hung parliament was in January 1910 when the Liberal Party were elected under Prime Minister Herbert Asquith and governed as a minority.
The party sought a bigger mandate at the polls in December that year and were rewarded by the electorate with an almost identical number of MPs as they had previously.
They then governed as a minority until 1915 with the support of the Labour Party and Irish Nationalists.
In the general election of 1923, Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin’s Conservatives had more seats than the Labour Party in a hung parliament but stepped aside for Labour Prime Minister Ramsey MacDonald. Baldwin’s tactics were rewarded when they were returned to power in a landslide victory less than a year later in 1924.
Later that decade in 1929, the minority Labour Government, again led by MacDonald was supported by the Liberals on the understanding they would bring in substantial electoral reform.
But this collapsed in 1931 because of internal Labour splits in the Cabinet over how to balance the Budget.
However, in part because of the Great Depression, Prime Minister MacDonald formed a coalition government including Conservatives, some Liberals and a small number from his own party. This ”National” government went on to win the 1931 and 1935 elections.