U.K. election update: Tory, Lib Dem coalition back on track? (Update: Brown resigns, Cameron new PM)

The details are still fuzzy (and complicated) but Prime Minister Gordon Brown may step down tonight

Topics: British Election, Gordon Brown, War Room,

U.K. election update: Tory, Lib Dem coalition back on track? (Update: Brown resigns, Cameron new PM)Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown (R) stands with Conservative Party leader David Cameron and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg during a Victory in Europe (VE) day ceremony in central London May 8, 2010. Clegg sought backing from senior party members on Saturday for a possible deal with the Conservatives after an election in which no party won an outright majority. The centre-right Conservatives under Cameron won the most parliamentary seats in Thursday's election but need the support of other parties to form a stable government that can tackle a record budget deficit. REUTERS/Luke Macgregor (BRITAIN - Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS IMAGES OF THE DAY ANNIVERSARY) (Credit: Reuters)

Talks between the UK’s Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats have collapsed, various sources are reporting. The Evening Standard says Labor leader and Prime Minister Gordon Brown will resign tonight. The LibDems are supposedly set to make a governing pact with the Tories, which would make Conservative Party leader David Cameron Britain’s new Prime Minister.

After the recent national election, Labour holds 258 seats, the Tories have 306, and the Lib Dems hold 57 seats. A Tory/LibDem coalition could form a majority government, but Labour and the LibDems would’ve needed local nationalist and socialist parties to join a coalition.

The Lib Dems may not form a full-blown coalition with the Tories. Another strong possibility is something called “confidence and supply,” which forms a minority government that isn’t in constant danger of a vote of no confidence dissolving the government.

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You can follow BBC news live here.

And in case you want to know just how goofy Parliamentary democracy can get, make sure to read this Guardian article, which begins by inexpertly translating a slip of paper that Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg made some notes on and concludes by saying a Lib Dem/Labour pact was impossible because of bad body language by cranky Labour MPs.

Update: And Gordon Brown has stepped down, ending 13 years of New Labour rule in the UK. Brown’s driving to Buckingham Palace to formally resign. David Cameron will meet the Queen soon afterward to be appointed PM.

Alex Pareene
Alex Pareene writes about politics for Salon and is the author of "The Rude Guide to Mitt." Email him at apareene@salon.com and follow him on Twitter @pareene

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