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Strictly speaking, there is no law dictating the government has to leave when receiving a "motion of distrust", although it never happened they did not.

is that in theory where the queen steps in?

Not sure; it has never happened yet and it would certainly get ugly, so she might. She does usually step in at a few other places, though. We're getting off-topic here; for a very nice but not yet complete overview, see http://www.quirksmode.org/politics/ .

Hmm, I may have misunderstood adavies42 slightly here; I thought (s)he meant what would happen if a motion of no confidence were ignored, which has never happened and would be quite a shock. When a motion of no confidence is passed by parliament, either against the entire government or against one or more of its members, which has happened several times, usually the target of the motion goes to the queen to resign; the governmental parties then seek a replacement who has to be officially appointed by the queen. If the entire government resigns, the queen usually asks for advice from all political leaders, and then there are several options, all of which involve her, since she officially appoints the members of the government. In practice, power is in the hands of the political parties; she does have some possibilities to influence the process, but not very much.

> I thought (s)he meant what would happen if a motion of no confidence were ignored

yes, that's what i meant. thanks for the info!

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