Confidence and supply

In a parliamentary democracy based on the Westminster system, confidence and supply are required for a minority government to retain power in the lower house.

A confidence-and-supply agreement is one whereby a party or independent members of parliament will support the government in motions of confidence and appropriation or budget (supply) votes, by either voting in favour or abstaining. However, parties and independent members normally retain the right to otherwise vote in favour of their own policies or on conscience on legislative bills.[1][2][3]

A coalition government is a more formal arrangement than a confidence-and-supply agreement, in that members from junior parties (i.e. parties other than the largest) gain positions in the cabinet, ministerial roles and may be expected to hold the government whip on passing legislation.


In most parliamentary democracies, members of a parliament can propose a motion of confidence[4] or of no confidence in the government or executive. The results of such motions show how much support the government currently has in parliament. Should a motion of confidence fail, or a motion of no confidence pass, the government will usually either resign and allow other politicians to form a new government, or call an election.


Most parliamentary democracies require an annual state budget, an appropriation bill, or occasional financial measures to be passed by parliament in order for a government to pay its way and enact its policies. The failure of a supply bill is in effect the same as the failure of a confidence motion. In early modern England, the withholding of funds was one of Parliament's few ways of controlling the monarch.

Examples of confidence-and-supply deals


The Australian Labor Party Gillard Government formed a minority government in the hung parliament elected at the 2010 federal election resulting from a confidence-and-supply agreement with three independent MPs and one Green MP.[5]


British Columbia

After the 2017 British Columbia provincial election, the Green Party of British Columbia agreed to a confidence-and-supply agreement in support of the British Columbia New Democratic Party.[6] The incumbent British Columbia Liberal Party briefly tried to form a government, but was immediately defeated in a confidence vote by the NDP and Greens.[7]

New Brunswick

On November 2, 2018 (less than two months after the 2018 New Brunswick general election) the legislative assembly voted 25-23 for a motion, introduced by the Progressive Conservatives, to amended the throne speech to declare no confidence in the government. Subsequently, Premier Brian Gallant indicated his intention to resign the premiership and recommend to the lieutenant governor that PC leader Blaine Higgs be given the mandate to form a minority government: “I will go see the lieutenant governor at her earliest convenience to inform her that I will be resigning as premier, and I will humbly suggest to her honour to allow the leader of the Conservative Party to attempt to form a government and attempt to gain the confidence of the house.” People's Alliance leader Kris Austin said he would work with the new government “in the areas we agree on,” and reiterated his promise to support the Progressive Conservatives on confidence votes for a period of 18 months. Green Party leader David Coon said he would start working with the Tories in an attempt to ensure his party's issues were on the government's agenda.[8]


Twenty-two days after the 1985 Ontario provincial election, the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario government resigned after a vote of no confidence, and the Ontario Liberal Party formed a government with the support of the Ontario New Democratic Party.[9] The agreement between the two parties was referred to as "The Accord".[10]


Third Front national governments were formed in 1989 and 1996 with outside support of one of the two major parties, BJP or Congress.

The CPI-M gave outside support to the Congress Party from 2004-2008, but later withdrew support after the India–United States Civil Nuclear Agreement.


After the 2016 general election, a minority government was formed by Fine Gael and some independents, with confidence-and-supply (Irish: muinín agus soláthar[11]) support from Fianna Fáil in return for a published set of policy commitments from the government.[12] Fianna Fáil abstains on confidence and supply votes, but reserves the right to vote for or against any bill proposed in the Dáil or Seanad. The deal was to last until the end of 2018, with the possibility of renewal before then to extend it to the five-year maximum term of a Dáil.[13]

New Zealand

In New Zealand, confidence and supply arrangements are common due to the MMP system used in the country. The parties providing confidence and supply have a more prominent role than in other countries, with MPs from the support parties often being appointed to ministerial portfolios outside of Cabinet.[14] New Zealand codified the procedures it used to form these Governments in its Cabinet Manual.[15]

John Key's National Party administration formed a minority government in 2008 thanks to a confidence-and-supply agreement with the ACT, United Future and the Māori Party.[16] A similar arrangement in 2005 had led to Helen Clark's Labour Party forming a coalition government with the Progressive Party, with support on confidence and supply from New Zealand First and United Future. After the 2014 election, National re-entered confidence-and-supply agreements with United Future, the ACT Party, and the Māori Party. In 2017, despite National winning more votes than Labour in the election, New Zealand First chose to enter coalition with Labour to help them change the government, with support on confidence and supply from the left-wing Green Party.[15]

United Kingdom

Between 1977 and 1978, Jim Callaghan's Labour Party stayed in power thanks to a confidence-and-supply agreement with the Liberal Party, in a deal which became known as the Lib-Lab Pact. In return, the Labour Party agreed to modest policy concessions for the Liberal Party.[17][18]

In the aftermath of the 2017 general election which left Theresa May's Conservative Party without a majority, a confidence-and-supply agreement was agreed with the Democratic Unionist Party.[19]

Devolved government

Confidence and supply deals are more frequent in the devolved legislatures of Scotland and Wales due to the use of proportional representation.

Scottish Parliament: The Scottish National Party and Scottish Green Party have a confidence and supply deal.[20]

Welsh Assembly: The Welsh Labour Party and Plaid Cymru had a similar co-operation deal until October 2017.[21]


  1. ^ James Cook, Governments, coalitions and border politics, BBC News, 7 May 2010
  2. ^ Why the PM is safe in No 10 for the moment, The Independent, 8 May 2010
  3. ^
  4. ^ Otherwise, when it is proposed by the Government itself upon a piece of legislation, "the Chambers are enslaved in the exercise of their principal function just because it was thought that their being master of the fiduciary relationship were to be reaffirmed on each bill": Argondizzo, Domenico; Buonomo, Giampiero (April 2014). "Spigolature intorno all'attuale bicameralismo e proposte per quello futuro".  – via Questia (subscription required)
  5. ^ Rodgers, Emma (7 September 2010). "Labor clings to power". ABC News Online. Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
  6. ^ Kines, Lindsay (29 June 2017). "Lieutenant-governor invites Horgan to take over, rejects another election". Times Colonist. Retrieved 1 July 2017.
  7. ^ Keller, James; Hunter, Justine; Hager, Mike (29 June 2017). "B.C. NDP to take power following confidence vote, ending 16 years of Liberal rule". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  8. ^ "Brian Gallant's minority New Brunswick government defeated after losing confidence vote | CBC News". CBC.
  9. ^ Stephens, Robert (8 June 1985). "NDP, Liberals move non-confidence". The Globe and Mail. ISSN 0319-0714.
  10. ^ Peterson, David (20 December 1986). "Minority is working". The Toronto Star. ISSN 0319-0781.
  11. ^ "Muinín agus soláthar?".
  12. ^ "Confidence and Supply Arrangement". Fianna Fáil. 2016. Retrieved 3 August 2016.
  13. ^ Gallagher, Páraic (3 May 2016). "Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil parliamentary parties unanimously adopt Government deal". Newstalk. Retrieved 3 August 2016.
  14. ^ "What is confidence and supply… and how does it differ from a coalition?". Newshub. 2017-04-10. Retrieved 2017-10-19.
  15. ^ a b "CO (17) 10: Labour-New Zealand First Coalition, with Confidence and Supply from the Green Party: Consultation and Operating Arrangements". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  16. ^ Bryant, Nick (7 May 2010). "Lessons from New Zealand in art of coalition building". BBC News.
  17. ^ Weaver, Matthew (16 March 2015). "Politics: what is confidence and supply?". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 May 2016.
  18. ^ "Election 2017: DUP agrees 'confidence' deal with Tories". BBC News.
  19. ^ Peck, Tom (10 June 2017). "Theresa May to enter into 'confidence and supply' arrangement with the Democratic Unionists". The Independent. Retrieved 10 June 2017.
  20. ^ "Scots budget vote passed after Green deal". 2 February 2017 – via
  21. ^ "Plaid to end Labour co-operation deal". 6 October 2017 – via

External links

1997 Norwegian parliamentary election

Parliamentary elections were held in Norway on 14 and 15 September 1997. Prior to the election Prime Minister Thorbjørn Jagland of the Labour Party had issued the 36.9 ultimatum declaring that the government would step down unless it gained 36.9% of the vote, the percentage gained by the Labour Party in 1993 under Gro Harlem Brundtland. Whilst Labour won a plurality of seats, they were unable to reach Jagland's 36.9% threshold, gaining 35% of the vote.

As a result of this, the Labour government stepped down, being replaced by a centrist coalition of the Christian People's Party, Liberal Party and the Centre Party, with Kjell Magne Bondevik being appointed Prime Minister, and confidence and supply support from the Conservative Party and the right-wing Progress Party.

2005 New Zealand general election

The 2005 New Zealand general election on Saturday 17 September 2005 determined the membership of the 48th New Zealand Parliament. One hundred and twenty-one MPs were elected to the New Zealand House of Representatives: 69 from single-member electorates, including one overhang seat, and 52 from party lists (one extra due to the overhang).

No party won a majority, but the Labour Party of Prime Minister Helen Clark secured two more seats than nearest rival, the National Party of Dr Don Brash. With the exception of the newly formed Māori Party, which took four Māori seats from Labour, most of the other parties polled lower than in the previous election, losing votes and seats.

Brash deferred conceding defeat until 1 October, when National's election-night 49 seats fell to 48 after special votes were counted. The official count increased the Māori Party share of the party vote above 2%, entitling them to three rather than two list seats from the party vote. With four electorate seats, the election night overhang of two seats was reduced to one, and as National had the 120th seat allocated under the party vote, National lost one list seat (that of Katrina Shanks) that they appeared to have won on election night.The election was a strong recovery for National which won 21 more seats than at the 2002 election, where it suffered its worst result in its history, and the highest party vote percentage for the party since 1990. Despite its resurgence, National failed to displace Labour as the largest party in Parliament. National's gains apparently came mainly at the expense of smaller parties, while Labour won only two seats less than in 2002.

On 17 October, Clark announced a new coalition agreement that saw the return of her minority government coalition with the Progressive Party, with confidence and supply support from New Zealand First and from United Future. New Zealand First parliamentary leader Winston Peters and United Future parliamentary leader Peter Dunne became ministers of the Crown outside Cabinet, Peters as Minister of Foreign Affairs and Dunne as Minister of Revenue. The Green Party which had supported Labour before the election received no cabinet post (see below), but gained several concessions from the coalition on matters such as energy and transport, and agreed to support the government on matters of confidence and supply.

2010 Australian federal election

A federal election was held on Saturday, 21 August 2010 for members of the 43rd Parliament of Australia. The incumbent centre-left Australian Labor Party led by Prime Minister Julia Gillard won a second term against the opposition centre-right Liberal Party of Australia led by Opposition Leader Tony Abbott and Coalition partner the National Party of Australia, led by Warren Truss, after Labor formed a minority government with the support of three independent MPs and one Australian Greens MP.

Labor and the Coalition each won 72 seats in the 150-seat House of Representatives, four short of the requirement for majority government, resulting in the first hung parliament since the 1940 election. Six crossbenchers held the balance of power. Greens MP Adam Bandt and independent MPs Andrew Wilkie, Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor declared their support for Labor on confidence and supply. Independent MP Bob Katter and National Party of Western Australia MP Tony Crook declared their support for the Coalition on confidence and supply. The resulting 76–74 margin entitled Labor to form a minority government. The Prime Minister, government ministers and parliamentary secretaries were sworn in on 14 September 2010 by the Governor-General Quentin Bryce. In November 2011, Coalition MP and Deputy Speaker Peter Slipper replaced Labor MP Harry Jenkins as Speaker of the House of Representatives, increasing Labor's parliamentary majority from 76–74 to 77–73.In the 76-seat Senate, the Greens won one seat in each of the six states, gaining the sole balance of power with a total of nine seats, after previously holding a shared balance of power with the Family First Party and independent Nick Xenophon. The Coalition was reduced from 37 to 34 and Labor was reduced from 32 to 31. The two remaining seats were occupied by Xenophon and Victoria's new Democratic Labor Party Senator John Madigan. Family First Party Senator Steve Fielding was defeated. These changes took effect in the Senate on 1 July 2011.More than 13 million Australians were enrolled to vote at the time of the election. Australia has compulsory voting (since 1925) and uses preferential ballot (since 1919) in single-member seats for the House of Representatives and single transferable vote (since 1949) with optional group voting tickets (since 1984) in the proportionally represented Senate. The election was conducted by the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC).

2011 New Zealand general election

The 2011 New Zealand general election on Saturday 26 November 2011 determined the membership of the 50th New Zealand Parliament.

One hundred and twenty-one MPs were elected to the New Zealand House of Representatives, 70 from single-member electorates, including one overhang seat, and 50 from party lists. New Zealand since 1996 has used the Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) voting system, giving voters two votes: one for a political party and the other for their local electorate MP. A referendum on the voting system was held at the same time as the election, with voters voting by majority to keep the MMP system.A total of 3,070,847 people were registered to vote in the election, with over 2.2 million votes cast and a turnout of 74.21% – the lowest turnout since 1887. The incumbent National Party, led by John Key, gained the plurality with 47.3% of the party vote and 59 seats, two seats short of holding a majority. The opposing Labour Party, led by Phil Goff, lost ground winning 27.5% of the vote and 34 seats, while the Green Party won 11.1% of the vote and 14 seats – the biggest share of the party vote for a minor party since 1996. New Zealand First, having won no seats in 2008 due to its failure to either reach the 5% threshold or win an electorate, made a comeback with 6.6% of the vote entitling them to eight seats.

National's confidence and supply partners in the 49th Parliament meanwhile suffered losses. ACT New Zealand won less than a third of the party vote it received in 2008, reducing from five seats to one. The Māori Party was reduced from five seats to three, as the party vote split between the Māori Party and former Māori Party MP Hone Harawira's Mana Party. United Future lost party votes, but retained their one seat in Parliament.

Following the election, National reentered into confidence and supply agreements with ACT and United Future on 5 December 2011, and with the Māori Party on 11 December 2011, to form a minority government with a seven-seat majority (64 seats to 57) and give the Fifth National Government a second term in office.

Conservative–DUP agreement

The Conservative–DUP agreement between the Conservative Party and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) followed the 2017 United Kingdom general election which resulted in a hung parliament. Negotiations between the two parties began on 9 June, the day after the election, and the final agreement was signed and published on 26 June 2017.

The agreement, signed by the two parties' chief whips, Gavin Williamson for the Conservatives and Jeffrey Donaldson for the DUP, secured DUP confidence-and-supply support for a Conservative minority government led by Theresa May.

Cort van der Linden cabinet

The Cort van der Linden cabinet was the cabinet of the Netherlands from 29 August 1913 until 9 September 1918. The cabinet was formed by Independent Liberal Pieter Cort van der Linden after the election of 1913 and received confidence and supply in the House of Representatives from other Independent Liberals and several members of the Free-thinking Democratic League (VDB), Christian Historical Union (CHU) and the Liberal Union (LU) and from 15 December 1917 also the Economic League (EL). The centre cabinet was officially a minority government in the House of Representatives but was also supported by additional members of the Anti-Revolutionary Party (ARP) for a majority. It was the last cabinet with a Liberal Prime Minister until Mark Rutte became Prime Minister 92 years later on 14 October 2010.


A crossbencher is an independent or minor party member of some legislatures, such as the British House of Lords and the Parliament of Australia. They take their name from the crossbenches, between and perpendicular to the government and opposition benches, where crossbenchers sit in the chamber.

Derby City Council

Derby City Council is the local government unitary authority for Derby, a city in the East Midlands region of England. It is composed of 51 councillors, three for each of the 17 electoral wards of Derby. Currently there is no overall control of the council, with the Labour Party being the biggest party. The acting council chief executive is Christine Durrant. Carole Mills will take over as Chief Executive from August 2018.

As a unitary authority, Derby City Council is responsible for all services within its boundary and is therefore distinct from the two-tier system of local government that exists in the surrounding county of Derbyshire. Outside the city, responsibility is shared between Derbyshire County Council and various district or borough councils, such as Derbyshire Dales, High Peak, Erewash and Chesterfield.

Fifth Labour Government of New Zealand

The Fifth Labour Government of New Zealand was the government of New Zealand from 10 December 1999 to 19 November 2008. Labour Party leader Helen Clark negotiated a coalition with Jim Anderton, leader of the Alliance Party and later the Progressive Party, and New Zealand First. While undertaking a number of substantial reforms, it was not particularly radical compared to previous Labour governments.

Fifth National Government of New Zealand

The Fifth National Government of New Zealand was the government of New Zealand for three parliamentary terms from 19 November 2008 to 26 October 2017. John Key served as National Leader and Prime Minister until December 2016, after which Bill English assumed the premiership until the National Government's defeat following the October 2017 government-forming negotiations.

After the 2008 general election the National Party and its allies were able to form a government, taking over from Helen Clark's Fifth Labour Government. It was subsequently reformed after the 2011 general election with a reduced number of seats, and after the 2014 general election with a reduced share of the party vote but the same number of seats. The Government had confidence and supply agreements with the following parties: ACT, United Future, and the Māori Party – which gave the Government a majority on major legislation. The National Party also signed a memorandum of understanding with the Green Party after the 2008 election, but this lapsed in 2011 and was not renewed.

John Horgan

John Joseph Horgan (born August 7, 1959) is a Canadian politician serving as the 36th and current premier of British Columbia since July 2017. He has been leader of the British Columbia New Democratic Party since 2014, and MLA for the constituency of Langford-Juan de Fuca and its predecessors since 2005.

He was born and raised in Victoria, British Columbia. In June 2006, he was appointed the Official Opposition Critic for the Ministry of Energy and Mines in New Democrat leader Carole James' shadow cabinet, having previously served as the Official Opposition Critic for the Ministry of Education. In January 2011, he announced his candidacy for leadership of the BC NDP in the 2011 leadership election, finishing third.

Following the leadership election, he was appointed the Official Opposition Critic for Energy, and Opposition House Leader. He was replaced by Bruce Ralston as Opposition House Leader following his entry into the 2014 leadership election.

On March 17, 2014, he announced his candidacy in the 2014 leadership election, with the slogan "Real Leadership. For All BC". During the campaign he has talked at length about the necessity of balancing the need for jobs and resource development, while protecting BC's natural environment. Horgan was acclaimed to the position on May 1, 2014 and was officially inaugurated as party leader on May 5, 2014.In the 2017 provincial election held on May 9, 2017, Premier Christy Clark's Liberal government was reduced to 43 seats, one seat short of a majority. On May 29, 2017, it was announced that the NDP and Green Party of British Columbia had reached a confidence and supply agreement in which the Greens would support an NDP minority government for four years. Clark recalled the legislature in the coming weeks to seek its confidence in a Liberal government. Following a non-confidence motion on June 29, 2017, which was won (44–42) by the combined votes of the NDP and Green members, Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon turned down Clark's request for a snap election and invited the NDP to form a minority government. Subsequently, Horgan succeeded Clark as the premier of British Columbia. Horgan is the first NDP premier of the province since Ujjal Dosanjh in 2001.

Milton Keynes Council

Milton Keynes Council is the local council of the Borough of Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire, England. It is a unitary authority, having the powers of a non-metropolitan county and district council combined. The borough is divided into 19 wards, electing 57 councillors.

Minority government

A minority government, or minority cabinet or minority parliament, is a cabinet formed in a parliamentary system when a political party or coalition of parties does not have a majority of overall seats in the parliament. It is sworn into office, with or without the formal support of other parties, to enable a government to be formed. Under such a government, legislation can only be passed with the support of enough other members of the legislature to provide a majority, encouraging multi-partisanship. In bicameral parliaments, the term relates to the situation in chamber whose confidence is considered most crucial to the continuance in office of the government (generally, the lower house).

A minority government tends to be much less stable than a majority government because if they can unite for the purpose, opposing parliamentary members have the numbers to vote against legislation, or even bring down the government with a vote of no confidence.

Mirek Topolánek's First Cabinet

Mirek Topolánek's First Cabinet was Cabinet of the Czech Republic from 4 September 2006 to 9 January 2007. The cabinet consisted of members of Civic Democratic Party (ODS) and non-partisans. On 3 October 2006 the cabinet did not pass through Confidence and supply in Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic by 96 to 99.

New Zealand First

New Zealand First (Māori: Aotearoa Tuatahi), commonly abbreviated to NZ First, is a nationalist and populist political party in New Zealand. It was founded in July 1993, following the resignation on 19 March 1993 of its leader and founder, Winston Peters, from the then-governing National Party. It has formed governments with both major parties in New Zealand: first with the National Party from 1996 to 1998, and then with the Labour Party from 2005 to 2008 and from 2017 to present.

The party's platform is characterised by its strongly restrictive immigration policies, as well as its emphasis on law and order and on popular referenda. New Zealand First takes a centrist position on economic issues, and a social conservative position on social issues. The party is also associated with benefits for senior citizens.

The party held seats in the New Zealand House of Representatives from its formation in 1993 until 2008, when it failed to gain enough party votes to retain representation. However, in the 2011 election, New Zealand First gained 6.59% of the total party vote, entitling it to eight members of parliament (MPs). The party increased its number of MPs to eleven at the 2014 election. During the 2017 election, the party's number of MPs dropped to nine members. In the weeks following the 2017 election, New Zealand First formed a coalition government with the Labour Party.

Next New Zealand general election

The next New Zealand general election will be held after the currently elected 52nd New Zealand Parliament is dissolved or expires. The current Parliament was elected on Saturday, 23 September 2017. The last possible date for the next general election to be held is Saturday, 21 November 2020.

Voters will elect 120 members to the House of Representatives under New Zealand's mixed-member proportional (MMP) voting system, a proportional representation system in which 71 members are elected from single-member electorates and 49 members are elected from closed party lists.

After the previous election, the centre-left Labour Party, led by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, formed a minority coalition government with the New Zealand First party, with confidence and supply from the Green Party. The main opponent to the Labour–NZ First government is the centre-right National Party, led by Simon Bridges. The single-member ACT Party is the sole other party in Parliament.


Supply may refer to:

The amount of a resource that is available

Supply (economics), the amount of a product which is available to customers

Materiel, the goods and equipment for a military unit to fulfill its mission

Supply, as in confidence and supply, the provision of funds for government expenditure

Narcissistic supply, the way in which a narcissistic individual requires affirmation, approval, and admiration from others in the same way as the infant requires an external supply of food

Swedish Social Democratic Party

The Swedish Social Democratic Party (Swedish: Sveriges socialdemokratiska arbetareparti, SAP; literally Social Democratic Workers' Party of Sweden), contesting elections as the Arbetarepartiet–Socialdemokraterna (The Workers Party – The Social Democrats) and usually referred to just as the Social Democrats (Socialdemokraterna), is the oldest and largest political party in Sweden. The current party leader since 2012 is Stefan Löfven, who has also been Prime Minister of Sweden since 2014.

Unitary Democratic Coalition

The Unitary Democratic Coalition (Portuguese: CDU – Coligação Democrática Unitária, PCP–PEV) is an electoral and political coalition between the Portuguese Communist Party (Portuguese: Partido Comunista Português or PCP) and the Ecologist Party "The Greens" (Portuguese: Partido Ecologista "Os Verdes" or PEV). The coalition also integrates the political movement Democratic Intervention (Portuguese: Intervenção Democrática or ID).

The coalition was formed for the first time in 1987 in order to run to the simultaneous legislative election and European Parliament election that were held on July 19 of that year.

Since the beginning of the coalition, the member parties have never participated separately in any election. The Communist Party is the major force inside it and has the majority of places in the electoral lists, however, the Greens also have an important presence and elected 2 members of parliament among the 17 elected by the coalition in the last legislative election. Each party has its own parliamentary group and counts as a separate party in official issues.

At a local level, the coalition usually presents lists in almost every municipality and both Communists and Greens may occupy first place on the lists. As the Greens have a smaller structure, the offices of the Communist Party are used as offices of the coalition.

The coalition supported the minority Socialist Costa Government (2015–2019) with a confidence and supply agreement.

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