London: Britain`s major political parties have time only till May 25 to clobber together a deal for the formation of the next government. In the event that does not happen, the country faces the prospect of another general election following a new set of guidelines set in place.
Prime Minister and Labour leader Gordon Brown, Leader of the Conservatives David Cameron and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg have to display that they have the confidence of the House of Commons until the day of the Queen`s Speech May 25, The Telegraph reported.
Earlier, there had been no written guidance on the course of action to be taken in case no single party got an overall majority.
But that has been taken care now with Cabinet Secretary Gus O`Donnell preparing a set of rules earlier this year in anticipation of the possibility of a hung Parliament.
The long period between the poll results and the Commons sitting was designed to allow the main parties to try and reach a deal on government formation.
The parties needed to reach the magic mark of 326 to have a clear majority in the 650-seat Parliament. The Friday election result showed that the Conservatives bagged 306 seats while Labour netted 258 seats. Liberal Democrats got 57 seats. Election was postponed in one constituency following the death of a candidate during campaigning.
Conservatives and Liberal Democrats were engaged in talks on Sunday night while Brown was huddled in with his close aides at 10 Downing Street.
The media report said that the new guidelines, which were set out in an updated Cabinet Office manual, are an effort to try and ensure that the nation didn`t have to again go for elections again, in case no one got a clear majority.