Despite a last minute surge in opinion polls to Labour, the Conservatives look set to have the most MPs in a hung parliament. The magic number both parties will fall short of is 323. Not 326, because Sinn Fein MPs do not attend the Commons and a vote that was tied is by convention broken by the Speaker of the House voting for the Government.
A minimum winning coalition is usually the more likely to happen with no outright winner, crucially depending on number of seats won. To put that in perspective, Conservatives need at least 290 seats (with LDs and Unionists supporting) whilst Labour need at least 270 (with SNP and either LD or Unionionists). Some scenarios will work if a party abstains rather than supports.
Under the constitution, we vote for our MPs. It is then their job to form a government. One reason why Ed Miliband has already said that if the Conservatives have the largest number of seats they should have first shot at forming a government. As the incumbent Prime Minister, David Cameron already has that opportunity even if he did not, though naturally if Labour had an outright majority or was able to form a clear majority coalition, Cameron would resign and Ed Miliband would be asked to form a government as Prime Minister.
Some Labour bloggers have feared Cameron trying to hold on, and going for a Queen’s Speech. If the arithmetic is unclear, we would do well to remember he has that right, and a legitimate claim to try if he has more seats than Labour. Let alone as the current Prime Minister he has a constitutional basis to attempt.
Constituencies To Watch
The Times has a very comprehensive guide to seats to look out for. From there they mention “seats Labour must win – and Tories can’t afford to lose”
Did you stay up for … (my personal five)
Nicky Morgan, Education secretary, standing in Loughborough with a majority of 3,744. Since 1974 whichever party has won this constituency has gone on to form the government.The Conservatives won this seat from Labour in 2010. A swing to win this back would suggest Labour were on course to be the biggest party.
George Galloway, Respect, standing in Bradford West. He called his 2012 by election win the “Bradford Spring” and was the biggest swing in a by election (36.6%) since 1983. When he is not busy saying he is not anti semitic, as he tells Israelis they are not welcome in Bradford, or instructing solicitors to sue, he might be found in parliament. Usually earning hundreds of thousands via media appearances. Ready to cheer if he is booted by the electorate.
Nigel Farage, leader of UKIP, South Thanet. UKIP had the media in an uproar following the European Election. Now, a really goodnight would be winning 5 seats, Yet even less than a handful might see a Conservative Party dependent on their support. In a close three horse race this is one to watch.
Nick Clegg, leader of the Liberal Democrats. Sheffield Hallam, Labour may well win unless Conservatives tactically switch votes to prop him up. His decision to form a coalition with the Conservatives may well cost the Lib Dems half their seats – yet they may still be crucial to either Conservatives or Labour. Will he even be in Parliament, much less the leader, following such a cull?
Maajid Nawaz, founder of Quilliam. A photo finish close three horse race in 2010, Hampstead and Kilburn is one to watch. It may be asking much for the Liberal Democrats to go from third to first given national hammering expected. A smear campaign has been launched by the usual suspects against Maajid Nawaz. Whether inside or outside parliament, Nawaz has an important civic society role still to play. Assuming United States does not tempt him away.
Above cartoon from here
Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog