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Title : Why the UK needs improved caretaker conventions before the May 2015 general election

Pubdate : Mon, 26 Jan 2015 10:03:08 +0000

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Subject : British Politics

Subject : Democracy and Elections

Subject : Great Charter Convention

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Description : In 2010, the UK’s underspecified caretaker conventions caused the “Squatter in Downing Street” controversy, when Gordon Brown remained in office after Labour’s election defeat, pending the completion of the coalition negotiations. Pollsters predict another hung parliament in May this year and potentially protracted coalition negotiations. Yet, the country still lacks adequate rules to govern caretaker situations, which gives rise to considerable risks. Caretaker periods and their attendant challenges are universal to parliamentary democracies. The government’s mandate to exercise its executive powers stems from its ability to command the confidence of parliament. However, there are points in every parliament’s lifecycle when no government can lay claim to such support—betwee