Author Archives: Sally Pearson

Opinion: Could there be a National Government by the end of the year?

Many readers of Liberal Democrat Voice may have missed the Financial Times’ prediction that 2015 “will see the creation of a national government in the UK.” It sounds deeply implausible. But activists who remember the coalitions between Labour and Conservative that have operated in local government over the past 25 years will recognise that these two deeply self-interested parties have more in common than they admit – including a strong reluctance to share power with Liberal Democrats.  So here is a New Year fantasy on how the FT’s prediction might come true.

No-one was surprised that the General Election of May 2015 was inconclusive but the degree of uncertainty was even larger than expected. Labour won the most seats – some 279, on 30% of the vote.  33% voted for the Conservatives, but this gave them only 267 MPs.  UKIP came third in terms of votes, but won only 6 seats. The Liberal Democrats, with 38 MPs, were the third largest party in the Commons, but with 4% less votes than UKIP. The SNP won 36 MPs, claiming that with a loose alliance with the 3 Plaid MPs it now outweighed the Liberal Democrats.  3 Greens, and 18 Northern Ireland MPs (9 DUP, 3 SDLP, 5 Sinn Fein, 1 Alliance), completed the tally.

With three or four parties polling over 20% in many seats, nearly 50 MPs had been elected on less than a third of the vote; 15 were returned on less than 30%, including 2 Greens and several Liberal Democrats.  Newly elected MPs who had scraped small majorities in hard-fought contests had little enthusiasm for an early second election.

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