Confidence and supply is the name given to an arrangement between two or more political parties in the event of a hung Parliament.
A hung Parliament is when no party has more than half the number of MPs after a general election, meaning the party with the largest number of MPs didn’t secure a big enough majority to form a workable government.
If this happens, parties can start negotiating with each other to see if they’d be able to work together to form a coalition government.
However, parties can also talk to each other about going into a looser agreement with each other known as a confidence and supply deal.
In a confidence and supply deal, one or more smaller parties would support a minority government in return for some of their policies being given the green light.
The smaller parties would agree to vote for the Queen’s Speech – when the government sets out its plans for the next 12 months. Alternatively, the smaller parties might abstain (not vote either way). If a government loses a vote on a Queen’s Speech, the Prime Minister must resign and a new government must be formed.
The smaller party or parties in a confidence and supply deal would also support the minority government if a vote of no confidence was proposed. Again, if a government loses a vote of no confidence the Prime Minister must resign and a new government has to take over.
They would also vote for, or abstain from voting, on any budget proposed by the minority government.
Unlike in a coalition, the smaller parties in a confidence and supply deal, do not have to agree to support other laws proposed by the government.
And, unlike a coalition, politicians from the smaller parties do not form part of the government and are not ministers.