Timeline: The rush for power in Britain

How events have unfolded since Britain’s general election on Thursday resulted in a hung parliament and triggered power-sharing talks between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats:

Blog: Why Britain needs electoral reform


10:00 pm – Voting closes and exit poll shows Britain is heading for a hung parliament, with Conservatives the biggest party, ruling Labour in second place and Liberal Democrats third.


11.00 pm – Hundreds of angry voters in London, Manchester and Sheffield are prevented from casting ballots because of long queues.


1:40 am – Gordon Brown says it is his duty as prime minister to help Britain have “strong, stable and principled government”.

3:00 am – Conservative leader David Cameron says Labour government has lost “mandate” to govern the country.

6:40 am – Disappointed Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg says his party “simply didn’t achieve what we hoped” after they lost seats.

9:05 am – Hung parliament is confirmed.

10:40 am – Clegg says Conservatives have the first right to seek to form a government.

1:45 pm – Brown offers to hold talks with Clegg if his discussions with Cameron fail.

2:40 pm – Cameron says he wants to make a “big, open and comprehensive offer” to the Liberal Democrats to form a government.

4:35 pm – Complete election results are: Conservative 306 seats, Labour 258, Lib Dems 57 and other parties 28 seats. The 650th and final seat will be decided on May 27 due to the death of a candidate.

Evening – Conservative and Lib Dem negotiators hold their first face-to-face meeting.


10:40 am – Clegg holds discussions in London with his front bench team, followed later by a meeting with Lib Dem lawmakers.

3:00 pm – More than 1,000 protesters calling for proportional representation to be introduced — a key Lib Dem policy — gather outside party’s talks.

8.35 pm – Party sources say Cameron and Clegg had a “constructive and amicable” face-to-face meeting.

11:20 pm – A Liberal Democrat spokesman says Clegg and Brown had “amicable” telephone conversation despite BBC claims they clashed.


11:00 am – Conservative and Liberal Democrat negotiating teams begin new round of talks.

2:00 pm – Brown returns to Downing Street from Scotland and in a defiant email to party workers indicates he has not given up hope of carrying on in government.

It emerges Clegg met Brown for face-to-face talks following a telephone call the previous night.

5:40 pm – Senior Conservative negotiator William Hague says talks with Lib Dems were “positive and productive” and they will meet again in the next 24 hours. Both parties stress economy will be at heart of any programme, in apparent attempt to reassure the financial markets.

8:35 pm – Parties confirm Cameron and Clegg met for a second time.


1:15 am – Sources say European Union approves package to defend the euro worth at least 750 billion euros.

8:00 am – European stock markets open up after EU deal. London’s FTSE 100 surges five percent in morning trade.

10:00 am – Liberal Democrat and Conservative teams resume negotiations.

10:00 am – Clegg says party leaders are “working flat out” to reach a deal but warns any agreement needs to “stand the test of time”.

11:00 am – Reports say Clegg and Brown held another face-to-face meeting.

11:30 am – Tory negotiator Hague says talks with Lib Dems “made further progress”.

3:30 pm – Lib Dem negotiator David Laws gives first indication that the party’s lawmakers are unhappy with parts of the Conservative offer, saying they had “asked for clarification” on electoral reform and other issues.

5:00 pm – Brown announces he will step down as Labour leader — effectively sacrificing himself for his party — and that Labour will start formal talks with the Lib Dems on forming a “progressive coalition government”.

7:15 pm – Conservative negotiator William Hague said the party will offer a referendum on the Alternative Vote (AV) electoral system to the Lib Dems as part of a final power-sharing offer, in response to the Lib Dem-Labour moves.

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