A delicate balance

The long-term decline in popularity of Labour and the Conservatives, and the growth in the number of third-party MPs at Westminster including mostly notably those of the Liberal Democrats means that a Parliament with no single-party overall majority is now arithmetically much more likely.

Any third party holding the balance of power in Parliament finds itself facing both opportunities and threats. It may be able to influence events to ensure elements of its own programme are implemented, either through coalition government or other, less formal, arrangements. Or it may find itself relegated to impotence, prone to internal divisions and squeezed in the following election.

Over the last ninety years the Liberal Party and Liberal Democrats have lived through both types of experience. This meeting is designed to discuss how the party handled the situations it found itself in, and whether, in retrospect, it could have done better (or worse).

Speakers: Professor Martin Pugh (hung parliaments in the 1920s); Lord Tom McNally (Lib-Lab Pact, 1970s) and David Laws MP (Scottish Parliament, 1999). Chair: Duncan Brack (Editor, Journal of Liberal History).

Supported by The Guardian.