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The way we were: hung parliaments

How do the behind-the-scenes negotiations actually work when there's a hung parliament? Two diaries by former insiders reveal the horse-trading required

By Ian Irvine   May 2010

Cecil King, former chairman of the Mirror Group, writes in his diary on 2nd March 1974:

The figures for the general election are now all in and the result is a complete deadlock. Obviously the great British public thinks nothing of either main party and the electoral system does not help the other parties. So there are 297 Tories, 301 Labour, 14 Liberals, 11 Ulster anti-Faulkner Unionists, 7 Scottish Nationalists, 2 Welsh Nationalists, and sundry odds and ends. It was announced last night that Ted [Heath, the PM] is trying to form an anti-Socialist alliance. The Liberals seem willing to…

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