The Political and Constitutional Reform Committee has launched a short inquiry into the arrangements for forming a government after a general election, with particular reference to circumstances where there is no clear single-party majority in the House of Commons.

The Committee will be reviewing the findings of its 2011 report, Lessons from the process of government formation after the 2010 general election, and the Government response to that report.

Written submissions are invited which address any or all of the following terms of reference:

  • The principles governing Civil Service support to the leaders of political parties involved in discussions over the formation of a new administration (Cabinet Manual,          1st edition, para 2.14)
  • Operation of the ‘caretaker convention’ restricting government activity following an election with no overall majority as long as there is ‘significant doubt over the              Government’s ability to command the confidence of the House of Commons’ (Cabinet Manual, 1st edition, para 2.30)
  • Arrangements to demonstrate whether a Prime Minister forming a new administration commands the support of the House of Commons
  • How best to facilitate any negotiations between political parties on government formation.


Graham Allen MP, Chair of the Committee said: “We are looking to produce the definitive guide to post-election coalition making for the elector, as well as for politicians and the media.”

How to respond

The deadline for written submissions is Thursday 12 February 2015.  Submissions should not significantly exceed 3,000 words unless this has been cleared in advance with the Committee secretariat. Written responses to the Committee will usually be treated as evidence to the Committee and may be published. If you object to your response being made public, please make this clear when it is submitted.

Written evidence to the inquiry should be submitted online via the following link:

If you are considering submitting written evidence please read the following guidelines:

If you intend to make a submission and require further time, please contact us at



Committee Website: