Wednesday, March 3, 2010

UK to get a taste of minority parliaments?

The opinion polls are starting to look that way:

A ComRes survey for the Independent showed the Tory lead over Labour narrowing to five points in the past month. A YouGov survey for the Sun gave the Tories a seven-point margin, well up on the weekend's low of two but still short of the double-digit lead David Cameron needs to be confident of a Commons majority.

Both surveys were conducted before the Tory peer and fundraiser Lord Ashcroft revealed he had "non-dom" tax status yesterday.

The polls reinforce the recent trend showing Labour gaining ground on the Tories as the election, expected on 6 May, approaches.

The Independent survey was taken over the weekend, when Cameron admitted to his party's spring conference that the Conservatives faced a "real fight" to win power.

While the findings give the Tories a bigger share of the popular vote, the poll rating suggests Labour would be returned to government with the most MPs under the first-past-the-post electoral system.

This would leave Labour short of an outright majority, however, and so it would be forced to strike deals with the smaller parties for support on controversial issues.

Fears of a hung parliament sent sterling temporarily to a nine-month low against the dollar yesterday following another YouGov poll at the weekend suggesting the Tory lead was down to just two points.

From the Guardian. Depending on how far short Labour falls, who would be the most likely partner in a coalition or accord? I'm thinking the Liberal Democrats (if Labour isn't too far short of a majority, Respect is a theoretical possibility, but that seems like too much to hope for). What kind of concessions might the Lib Dems extract? This could have interesting consequences, especially if electoral reform is on the table.