Posts Tagged ‘Michael Collins’

Ed could be PM even if Labour finishes second and his coalition partners, the Lib Dems, finish fourth

23/04/2015, 01:59:15 PM

by Michael Collins

In the last week or so the polling website May2015 has convincingly put forward the thesis that even if the Tories win the most seats and votes on May 7, Ed Miliband is the likelier Prime Minister. This has significant implications for the stability of Britain’s democracy over the coming weeks.

In fact, the situation may be even more precarious than it seems, with neither Labour nor the Conservatives able to establish a majority, even via coalition. To see why this will be so difficult, we must look not only at the numbers but also the differing ideological leanings of the parties. Europe is the key issue.

Those, such as Dan Hodges at the Telegraph, who are still betting on a Tory-led government, believe that the Tories’ aggressively insisting the SNP will pull the strings if Labour come to power will have a significant pro-Tory impact on English marginals as polling day approaches. This may well happen, though it is still to show up in the polls.

With the Tories coming out as the biggest party in terms of votes and seats, the assumption from those backing Mr Cameron to stay in Number 10 is that “if the seats are there,” the Liberal Democrats will do another deal with Cameron and we’ll have coalition 2.0.

Taking out the anticipated 5 Sinn Fein seats (their elected MPs do not sit in the House of Commons), plus the Speaker, the magic figure for the slimmest of working majorities is 325 seats.

Let’s imagine for sake of argument the Tories reached 302 seats, which is well beyond the highest predictions of any of the main polling indicators, with the Liberal Democrats on a more realistic 23. This would give the two coalition parties 325 seats.

On that basis, can the Liberal Democrats really carry on propping up the Conservative Party? The coalition vote share would have fallen, with both parties losing seats. Looking ahead, the Tories promise much deeper (albeit unspecified) cuts. And most importantly, they have proposed a referendum on Europe. This situation will be very unappealing to the Liberal Democrat membership.

We should also think not only about divisions between but also within parties. A sizable rump of Tory rebels has consistently voted against the coalition throughout this parliament. They mostly detest the Liberal Democrats, and they have turned themselves into a single issue cabal with their fundamentalism over the EU.


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