Monday, May 03, 2010

Cameron set to challenge convention over hung parliament.

It says a lot about how well Cameron expects to do this week that he is even setting out this argument in advance.

David Cameron is set to claim victory if Labour comes third in Thursday's election even if he fails to win an overall majority.

His plan, revealed in an interview with The Independent, raises the prospect of a constitutional wrangle in which the Conservatives and Labour fight for the right to form a minority government if neither wins outright.


In 1974, Edward Heath remained in Downing Street even though his Conservative Party won fewer seats than Labour. However, talks with the Liberal Party failed to reach agreement and he resigned as Prime Minister.

Mr Cameron said: "There is convention and there is practice and they are not always quite the same thing." He added: "In 1974 it was clear the Conservatives had lost and therefore they were out of office."

Sources in all three parties agree it will "depend on the numbers" but admit there are grey areas which could draw Sir Gus – and ultimately the Queen – into the controversy.

One can obviously point to Netanyahu in Israel and show that there are times when the party who wins the fewest seats does indeed end up forming the government. So, were Brown to stumble on, it would not be unprecedented.

That said, I really would not want to see Brown do that. It would fatally wound the Labour party if Brown were to take that route.

Far better to allow the public what they appear to want. A change of government, but one which lacks an overall majority, limiting the amount of damage which Cameron is able to do.

But, by stating that he intends to push against the constitutional convention, Cameron is admitting what all of us already know. He has not convinced a majority of the British people that it is time to allow the Tories back into power. He has utterly failed to close the deal.

People want change, but they don't want the change which Cameron is offering. That is why Nick Clegg has become so incredibly popular during this election. And that is why I strongly suspect that the morning after the election it is Clegg who will sit in the position of King-maker.

So, in all probability, we will see Cameron limping into Downing Street with no popular wind behind his back. That's what happens when you fail to sell your policies to a country with an unpopular government.

Click here for full article.

No comments: