Tag Archives: hung parliament

Preparing for a Partnership Parliament

We now need to prepare for what is almost certain to be a Parliament with no one-Party majority, following a General Election in the next few months. In local government we have a lot of experience in dealing with this sort of situation.

Currently in England alone we are involved in Government in more than 70 Councils. In some we have overall control and at the other extreme in others we have passively let another Party take minority control on the basis of some assurances.
There seem, however, to be five things which make arrangements work:

1. A clear manifesto from the Lib …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 21 Comments

Our worst nightmare? Peter Kellner’s scenario 3: “Lib Dems choose who’s the PM”

cameron clegg miliband 2Just over a year ago I wrote a piece titled Nightmare scenarios: what are the 2015 election results the Lib Dems, Tories and Labour most dread?

In it, I argued that the trickiest prospect for the Lib Dems would be an evenly poised general election outcome in which the Lib Dems held the balance of power:

In the nightmare scenario would have a genuine choice open to us: a second coalition with the Tories or a Lib-Lab pact.

Do a deal with the Tories – if that’s even

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Hung Parliament: what Lib Dem members think will happen… and what you want to happen

Lib Dem Voice has polled our members-only forum  to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. Almost 600 party members responded to this set of questions – thank you – in a supplementary poll run last Thursday and Friday.

(All figures below are compared with the last time we asked this question, a year ago, in September 2013.)

68% of Lib Dem members predict another hung parliament in 2015

Posted in LDV Members poll | Also tagged | 76 Comments

5 things Nick Clegg could do next

Nick Clegg Q&A 8My last piece of advice to Nick Clegg was to stand down as Lib Dem leader. He didn’t, and it’s pretty clear now that Nick will lead us into the next general election.

Two problems remain, though, and we need to find ways of addressing them. First, morale in the party has dipped since the May elections. Secondly, support for the party has also dipped in the polls. Yes, Lib Dem MPs benefit from the incumbency effect but that only stretches so far – we also need to start winning the air war, or at the very least avoid being ignored. As it stands, what Nick says just isn’t getting a listening. However unfair, it’s a reality we need to deal with.

Here are five suggestions from me for ways in which Nick Clegg could help restore party morale and maybe get himself a hearing from the media and public…

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Hung Parliament: what Lib Dem members think will happen… and what you want to happen

Lib Dem Voice has polled our members-only forum  to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. Almost 700 party members responded – thank you – and we’re publishing the full results.

76% of Lib Dem members predict another hung parliament in 2015

What do you believe is the likeliest outcome of the next general election?

    8% – A Conservative minority government

    6% – An overall majority for the Conservatives

    2% – A Conservative-led coalition with parties other than Labour or the Lib Dems


Posted in LDV Members poll | Also tagged , and | 77 Comments

David Steel on the last time there was a hung parliament

Lord (David) Steel recalled his involvement in the various negotiations during the 1970s, the last time there was an election which produced a hung parliament, in a letter to The Times during the campaign – it seemed worth dusting down in the current circumstances …


Your leader today on hung parliaments contained a number of dubious assertions.

First, you say that in February 1974 Mr Heath’s offer of coalition foundered on his refusal to include electoral reform. As a survivor of those discussions I have to say that this was not the most determining factor. One was that even with the

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged | 4 Comments

What the public thinks should happen in a hung Parliament

Only one in five voters think David Cameron should try to form a minority government if his party is the largest but short of an overall majority after Thursday’s general election.

The finding comes in a YouGov poll for The Sun which finds that 37% think in such circumstances Cameron should try to form a “grand coalition” with Labour and Lib Dems and a further 24% think he should “seek to work with the Liberal Democrats”. Only 20% said he should “seek to form a minority government, without doing any deals with any other party”.

Although The Sun has previously …

Posted in Polls | Also tagged and | 5 Comments

“When the public booed Liam Fox for raising hung parliament concerns” – FT

In case you missed this week’s Question Time, here’s how the FT reported it:

Last night’s Question Time ended on an extraordinary note. The public are more in favour of a hung parliament than the Tories care to admit. But I never expected an audience to heckle and boo Liam Fox when he warned of an indecisive election result triggering a run on sterling…

This should be a salutary lesson to Cameron’s team. People seem to like the idea of politicians working together. The worm in the election debate shot up when Clegg spoke about a cross-party co-operation to tackle the deficit.

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The Myth of “Strong” Government

As their hopes recede of using our broken voting system to secure a majority government on a minority of support in the country, the Party most set against reform, the Conservatives, and their media proxies begin to reel out the scare stories.

Lib Dem rules could paralyse government,” warned the Scotsman

Paralysis, indecision and political chicanery,” were the fear of the Daily Mail’s full page editorial.

The IMF could have to be called in,” thundered Ken Clarke!

Far from making a positive case to earn your vote, they resort to the desperate tactics of …

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LibLink: Chris Huhne – Voters should not give in to Tory blackmail

Writing for the Financial Times, Lib Dem shadow home secretary Chris Huhne exposes the Tories’ scaremongering that a hung parliament will be a disaster for the economy. Here’s an excerpt:

is to scare the voters witless about the prospect of multi-party democracy and a real change in our corrupt political system. All manner of pestilence is threatened to befall the British people if they vote other than Tory. … Of the 14 countries that enjoy the top AAA rating for creditworthiness with all three rating agencies – Fitch, Moody’s, and Standard and Poor’s – 10 have coalitions or minority governments

Posted in General Election and LibLink | Also tagged | 2 Comments

Opinion: Gordon must resign if he loses his majority

There is a strange bit of spin being put out by the Tories that a hung parliament with a large number of Lib Dem MPs returned would mean Gordon Brown remaining as Prime Minister. Well, they would say that, wouldn’t they? This assumes that somehow the Liberal Democrats who clenched their teeth throughout 13 years of Labour violation of civil liberties, corruption, and senseless war, are suddenly going to fly to Brown’s rescue. That’s playing fast and loose with the facts.

For a good precedent, look no further than the last hung parliament in 1974, when Ted Heath’s Tories …

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Vince in talks with Treasury, ready to serve as Chancellor

In what’s believed to be unprecedented in recent times, Vince Cable has held talks with Nicholas Macpherson, the big cheese at the Treasury, about Lib Dems economic policies and what might happen in the event of a hung/ balanced parliament.

Cable was unaware of such meetings having taken place with Lib Dem shadow chancellors before previous general elections. The talks were a sign that the Treasury was “taking seriously” the prospect of his party playing a leading role in economic policy in what could be the first hung parliament since 1974.

Vince has also declared himself ready …

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Daily View 2×2: 16 March 2010

Good morning, and welcome to Daily View. I’m standing in for your usual Tuesday host because Sara was rushed into hospital yesterday. Get well soon, Sara.

March 16th in history saw the resignation of Harold Wilson in 1976; in 1995, Mississippi finally ratified the 13th Amendment and officially outlawed slavery in US.

Today is the birthday of Isabelle Huppert and Jimmy Nail.

2 Big Stories

Police investigate Labour MP Ashok Kumar’s death

Police and doctors are investigating the death of a Labour MP whose body was found at his home yesterday.

Dr Ashok Kumar, 53, had been working as normal, with major commitments as parliamentary private secretary to Hilary Benn, the environment secretary. He was also campaigning for Corus steelworkers’ jobs in his Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland constituency. His body was found after anxious staff failed to rouse him by phone and called emergency services, who broke into his home.

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A reply to Tom Harris: Lib Dems wait for the voters to speak. (It’s called democracy, and we kind of like it).

Labour MP Tom Harris, bless him, is clearly feeling a little bit insecure, as the Lib Dems enjoy a successful conference with a spring in their step and the full glare of the media spotlight. Tom’s blog is a good, fun read – but like his Tory equivalent Iain Dale, he has a bit of a tribal blind spot when it comes to the Lib Dems.

Here’s what Tom has to say about Lib Dem shadow schools secretary David Laws declining to take the media bait asking whether the party would back Labour or the Tories in the …

Posted in General Election and Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 33 Comments

The Clegg coalition line emerges

Very sneakily, Clegg’s team have found a neat way to turn questions about hung parliaments into a positive message about Lib Dem policy. We saw it on the news today, and I’m sure we’ll see it wheeled out again – and again, and again, probably until journalists get bored of asking the question.

When asked what the Lib Dems would do in the event of a hung parliament, Nick’s strategy is to say what the Lib Dems would want to get from any sort of deal, which mysteriously matches closely with the four key themes. Nick says we would …

Posted in Conference and General Election | Also tagged | 4 Comments

Tom Baldwin and the “triple lock”: you could have read it here Tom

Today Tom Baldwin in The Times reports on its exciting persistent investigative journalism into the party’s “triple lock” rule for deals with other parties:

The exact wording of this rule, disclosed only after repeated inquiries to Liberal Democrats headquarters this week, sets a high bar for clearing “any substantial proposal which could affect the party’s independence of political action”.

A pedant would point out that it was “disclosed” here back in November. Then it was Steve Richards I took to task (for calling the rule – which was debated in public at party conference – “secret”).

Perhaps you should add us …

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5 reasons Nick Clegg should rule out a coalition now

With most polls showing the next election could result in a hung parliament, there has been various speculation about what the Lib Dem position would be. I think it’s time for Nick Clegg to make an unambiguous statement that the party would not enter a coalition with either Labour or the Tories. Here are my five reasons why Nick should spell this out clearly and simply now …

1. A coalition is a non-starter, so let’s just rule it out now

It’s quite simple: the majority of party members will not for a single moment entertain the idea of a coalition with …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 31 Comments

LibLink … Stephen Tall on hung Parliaments

It’s a mark of a good piece of analysis that it is still sound even if the particular news story that prompted its publication doesn’t stand up for long. And so it is with Stephen’s piece over on Comment is Free, triggered by the Guardian story – firmly rubbished by the party – about the party’s attitude towards coalitions.

So although The Guardian story has been ridiculed – after all the paper has variously reported that the party wants a coalition with the Tories, wants a coalition with Labour or doesn’t want a coalition at all – Stephen’s three tests …

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged and | 4 Comments

Clegg to rule out any form of Lib Dem coalition

The Guardian has the story:

The Liberal Democrats are planning to rule out forming a coalition government with either the Conservatives or Labour if Nick Clegg holds the balance of power in a hung parliament after the general election. … senior Lib Dems are making clear that Clegg has no interest in taking cabinet posts and would focus instead on winning support for four key Lib Dem demands.

Clegg would be prepared to throw a lifeline to the Conservatives or Labour by allowing either party to pass a Queen’s speech if the aspiring government makes concessions in the four areas, described

Posted in News | Also tagged | 33 Comments

Boris and Wolf: The two best arguments in favour of a hung parliament

Two articles by broadsheet columnists on the prospect of a hung parliament bookended this week. In their contrasting ways, both made a convincing pitch for the attractions of neither Labour nor Tories ending up with an overall majority at the next general election.

First up is Martin Wolf from the Financial Times, writing today that Britain can love hung parliaments:

The bogeyman of a hung parliament is being used to terrify British voters. What is needed, it is argued, is a government with a strong majority, to rescue the UK from the threat of national bankruptcy. This is nonsense. The UK

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Hung parliament – 63% of Lib Dem members back equidistance from Labour and Tories

Ah, the question the media loves, and Lib Dems hate: just who would the party back if there were a hung parliament?

Now we’ve asked this question before in an attempt to get the media to understand the position of Lib Dem members (despite the wilful attempts of BBC2’s The Daily Politics to mislead viewers with flawed polls). But we’re going to try it again to see if this time the media will listen to what LDV’s sample of Lib Dem members actually think about what the party should do in the event of a hung parliament.

Some 200 members …

Posted in LDV Members poll | 11 Comments

LibLink: Lembit Öpik – Notes on a progressive decision

Lib Dem MP Lembit Öpik has written an article for the Progressive London blog based on his speech to their recent conference on the topic, The Tories are not Progressive. Lembit reveals himself to be a “left-leaning libertarian” with deep scepticism that the Tories under David Cameron have actually changed. There’s lots of eminently quotable material, but here’s just a few excerpts:

I’m a practical kind of person. I don’t like the high levels of dogma which seems to attach itself to party politics and elections. There are good people in every political party, and no major grouping is

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Is this the laziest piece of political journalism ever?

Well, no, it’s probably not. But it must at least qualify for the laziest piece of journalism this decade. I refer to today’s Independent article, ‘Clegg faces party backlash over Tory alliance’, by Nigel Morris and Michael Savage. Oh, go on, then, here’s a link if you must; though I begrudge handing them the traffic. The opening para gives a flavour of the kite-flying, unsourced speculation:

Nick Clegg faces a backlash from grassroots Liberal Democrats if he moves his party too close to the Conservatives in a hung parliament.

Well, yes, he probably would. Which is why he won’t. Unless the …

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LibLink … Nick Clegg: The Liberal Democrats are not for sale

Over at The Times, Nick Clegg has penned an article setting out, perhaps in the clearest detail yet, exactly how the Lib Dems will respond in the event of a ‘hung Parliament’. He begins by noting the heat-without-light debate that the new year has brought:

Much of what we have heard so far is unsurprising: absurd pledges on spending, vitriolic attacks on cuts. But one development is new: both the old parties now claim to be almost identical to the Liberal Democrats. David Cameron and Gordon Brown are ostentatiously flirting with Liberal Democrat voters, clumsily trying to woo them —

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged and | 7 Comments

Daily View 2×2: 1 January 2010

Happy New (General Election) Year!

On this day in 1973, the UK joined the European Community, along with Denmark and the Republic of Ireland. On January 1, 2002, Euro coins and banknotes became legal tender in twelve of the European Union’s member states.

It’s a quarter of a century since Britain’s first mobile phone call was made. In a seemingly random intersection of the Fates, comedian Ernie Wise was calling from St Katherine’s Dock to a room above a Newbury curry house – the then office of a little company called Vodafone.

2 Interesting Stories

Is a Labour-Tory coalition unthinkable? Only until you think about it
Martin Kettle muses in the Guardian on a hung Parliament:

It seems innocent to assume that either Labour or the Tories would automatically turn first to the Liberal Democrats in those circumstances – or that the Lib Dems would necessarily deliver. The big parties could calculate that they would be better off in a marriage of convenience with a historic enemy they respected, from which they could withdraw with dignity when the moment was right, rather than to embark on a more permanent entanglement with a Lib Dem party which at bottom they each despise.

The more one looks at the evolutionary dynamics of British politics, the more serious the grand coalition option may one day become. Is a Labour-Conservative deal really unthinkable? Only until you start thinking about it.

At least the next government won’t be decided on the toss of a coin… or will it?

Coin tossing through the ages

The Telegraph has an interesting history, including this:

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Lib Dems and Labour neck-and-neck on 28%, says voting study

Today’s Times publishes a study by Professor Colin Rallings and Professor Michael Thrasher of Plymouth University based on actual votes cast in the dozens of by-elections that take place for council seats each month. Here are the headline findings:

It shows that although David Cameron’s Conservatives have a 10-point lead over Labour as the year draws to a close, the gap has been narrowing since the summer. The by-election model, which has been reworked to take account of different patterns of competition between the parties, has the Tories on 38%, with both Labour and the Liberal Democrats on 28%.

The calculations

Posted in Polls | Also tagged , and | 13 Comments

LibLink … James Graham: Lib-Con pact, or just a Marr moment?

Rather belatedly* The Voice is delighted to highlight an article by Lib Dem blogger James Graham over at The Guardian’s Comment Is Free site, the subtitle of which is a neat, Tweet paraphrase of his argument: ‘The idea that the Lib Dems want to jump into bed with Cameron is a fantasy. But multiparty politics is likely to be the new norm’. But as ever with James the article is well worth reading in full. Here’s an excerpt:

There is no enthusiasm within the party for co-operation with the Conservative party, but working with Labour is almost as unenticing a prospect.

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged | 1 Comment

Since when is something debated in public, in front of journalists called “hidden”?

Since yesterday, in fact. Because in an otherwise thoughtful piece on hung Parliaments in The Independent, Steve Richards made this comment:

If there is a hung parliament there will almost certainly be no formal coalition government, even if Nick Clegg and Vince Cable would like to join one. Clegg is trapped by what is known as his party’s “triple lock”, a hidden rule that might become of vital relevance. Before entering a coalition he is bound to secure the agreement of his MPs, other national representatives and the membership.

Credit to Steve Richards for knowing about this rule. But “hidden”? It …

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Lib Dem HQ: read what Nick said, not what the press reported!

An email pings into LDV’s email inbox from the Lib Dems’ director of election communications, Jonny Oates, stating categorically that Nick Clegg did not express a preference for dealing with the Tories over Labour.

Now it has been known, just occasionally, for Nick to speak a little faster than he thinks. But, as I posted here, yesterday Nick really was crystal clear about how he would approach the vexed question of a ‘hung Parliament’ – and still the media managed to distort his remarks! In rebutting today’s inaccurate press reports, all Jonny had had to do is reproduce the …

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 69 Comments

Clegg asserts Lib Dems’ ‘hung parliament’ equidistance. (The headline you won’t read in today’s papers).

It’s a long time since LDV has carried a ‘Media Moron Watch’ feature … but if we were still running it, the spoils today would be shared by pretty much every newspaper. Here are the headlines from the so-called quality press today:

From which headlines a disinterested reader would conclude the following: Nick Clegg has categorically ruled out doing a deal …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 30 Comments

Recent Comments

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    @Graham Jeffs - yes, I am fortunate to be living in a target seat, although I was campaigning for about 20 years before we won it. It's a long game. My point...
  • Alex Macfie
    The mistake made by Clegg & co wasn't going into coalition, it was the way they did it, going in too quickly and conducting it as a "love-in" rather than a ...
  • Mark
    I wouldn't normally encourage people to spend time reading Conservative Home website, but this article is well worth a read: https://conservativehome.com/2024/...
  • David Garlick
    Given in his speech his dismissal of action of climate change, so appropriate that the climate chose to give him a good soaking. A drip being dripped on....
  • Peter Martin
    @ Steve, "Might it help.if our party were to assertively oppose Neoliberal socio-economics...." Of course it would. It's unlikely any establishm...