by Stephen Tall on September 22, 2013
‘What are your thoughts on coalitions? Should the Lib Dems go with Labour or Conservatives – if they are in a position to choose?’ That was the question I was asked by the BBC’s Daily Politics in advance of appearing on Thursday to talk about any future coalition (you can catch my discussion with historian Lord (Peter) Hennessey here for the next few days).
Here’s the answer I gave, one I didn’t actually have chance to discuss during the programme… First, as a flow-chart and then my original email reply:
It depends on 5 key things…
1) is there a hung parliament;
2) who’s won most seats;
3) will the combined parties have a secure majority;
4) can they agree on a programme for government that delivers enough Lib Dem policies to make the compromises worth it; and
5) have both parties signed up to a deal they can each deliver?
If all 5 can be answered then I’m content with either Labour or Conservatives. Fwiw, I think the Tory membership/backbenchers will make it very difficult for a second coalition to be delivered. And I see no evidence yet of Labour wanting to make any accommodation either. But, just like on the morning of 6th May 2010, facts have a habit of changing politicians’ minds!
* Stephen Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, and editor of the 2013 publication, The Coalition and Beyond: Liberal Reforms for the Decade Ahead. He is also a Research Associate for the liberal think-tank CentreForum and writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.