Opinion: UK Elections 2010: Candidates Await Their Fate

The Conservatives, headed by David Cameron, lead Labour in the seat count in the House of Commons, but exit polls suggested that Conservatives would fall short of the 326 seats needed to form a majority by about 20 votes.

Guest blog from John Lee, publisher of The Trade in London.

(May 7, 2010; London, 1:30 p.m. local time) — The story of the UK election is that Nick Clegg is inclined to speak first to the Conservatives, and has said as much, the party with the largest number of seats expected to reach 306, some 20 seats short of an overall majority and not enough for the Tories to simply cut a deal with the Right leaning Ulster Unionists.

Concurrently, Labour are trying to woo the LibDems by making all the right noises that they intend to accede to electoral reform on PR, the main plank of any LibDem bargaining position. The question is whether David Cameron and the Conservatives, who are opposed to PR and favour the current system of first past the post as the recipe for strong one party government, can get anywhere close to reaching an agreement with Nick Clegg on this issue.

With around 26 seats to call, all the parties are waiting for the final count. For the Tories this means waiting and seeing whether they will have sufficient seats to govern without LibDem support through a loose coalition of minority parties; and for Labour it means seeing whether they will win enough seats which, once combined with the LibDem’s, will give them a viable working mandate that gets anywhere close to the 326 winning line.

It seems that all the parties will fall someway short of the desired number of seats to form a strong coalition government, with it now looking increasingly likely that either a Conservative minority government will be called, assuming that Gordon Brown as the incumbent PM takes the dignified route and stands down, or a minority Labour/LibDem coalition will be formed. In either case, history tells us that a second election is on the cards in 2011 and if that doesn’t produce a clear one party majority then PR (proportional representation) will be an inevitable outcome changing the shape of the British political landscape forever.

To contact the writer of this story: John Lee at <a href='mailto: john.lee@thetrade.ltd.uk'> john.lee@thetrade.ltd.uk</a>