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Has there ever been a situation where a modern Westminster parliament (national/federal/state/provincial) has ended up with more independent lower house MPs than MPs belonging to the second-largest party/coalition? In particular has there ever been a case of an independent MP being designated as Leader of the Opposition?

It appears that the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly, following the 2016 election, will end up with the Country Liberals (one of the two traditional major parties) having only 3 seats, compared to 4 independents. I'm curious as to whether there is much modern precedent here.

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    How are you defining independent in this situation? Party registration methods differ from country to country and have changed over time, so I'm not sure whether you'd consider e.g. the former Westminster MP Richard Taylor, who stood for the Independent Kidderminster Hospital and Health Concern party, as an independent? – origimbo Aug 27 '16 at 23:55
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    The parliament in Westminster (among others) has existed longer than political parties have. Of course, there were factions before that, but nothing as organised or formal as a party. In other words, all MPs were once independents. – Steve Melnikoff Aug 28 '16 at 10:36
  • @SteveMelnikoff Hence the term "modern" in the question. I didn't really elaborate, but I suppose by "modern" I mean after the development of a strong party system. – ajd Aug 29 '16 at 1:34
  • @origimbo I probably would include parties which have no reasonable prospect of ever electing more than a single MP - the Australian media certainly tends to refer to senators from parties such as the Jacqui Lambie Network or the Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party as "independents". – ajd Aug 29 '16 at 1:36
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    I cannot think of any such case in a modern British parliament of the last two centuries. A couple of instances come to mind where the Leader of the Opposition was not of the opposing party but of the same party as the Prime Minister. One was in 1916 when David Lloyd George, at the head of a coalition replaced Herbert Asquith, the Liberal Prime Minister. Asquith became Leader of the Opposition to his Liberal colleague. Similarly in 1931 when Labour's Ramsey MacDonald headed a National Coalition, his Opposition was principally Labour, led by Arthur Henderson. – WS2 Sep 1 '16 at 20:49
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Has there ever been a situation where a modern Westminster parliament (national/federal/state/provincial) has ended up with more independent lower house MPs than MPs belonging to the second-largest party/coalition?

In the 1921 Saskatchewan provincial election, the winning party took 45 seats, independents took 7 seats, and the next closest party took 6 seats.

has there ever been a case of an independent MP being designated as Leader of the Opposition?

Following the aforementioned election, two independents would serve as Leader of the Opposition before the next election restored an official opposition party in 1925.

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