New parliament will first sit on 18th May
Government sources are indicating that the timetable to be proposed by the Privy Council for the dissolution of Parliament on Wednesday 12th April are that the General Election will be held on Thursday 4th May and that the new Parliament will sit for the first time on Tuesday 18th May.
If this date proves to be correct, it is approximately a week later than would normally be proposed, and is believed to recognise consent amongst leading Civil Servants, and leaders of the main political parties that there is a high probability of the General Election delivering a hung Parliament.
By deferring the first date of the new Parliament to 18th May, Gordon Brown will have almost two weeks following the election to attempt to form a Government in coalition with the Liberal Democrats and/or other minority parties.
If he is unable to form a Government several days after the General Election it is thought likely that he will stand aside and the Queen will ask David Cameron to attempt to form a Conservative led minority Government.
All parties recognise the need to conclude this process as rapidly as possible to prevent a collapse of the financial markets.