The Coalition scenario is emerging

Andrew Neil looks ahead to the prospect of real political upheaval.

Even with Labour coming third in the popular vote — it could come third and still stay in power!
I doubt if our voting system would survive such an outcome… Labour would probably give them what ever PR system they wanted if it meant it could stay in power (at least for a while)..

I’ve just been given this dramatic scenario which I’m told is being secretly considered. Labour will offer any form of PR the Lib Dems want. (say our own dear STV) and the fixed term parliament already promised. But the Lib Dems are terrified that if they simply gifted Dowing St to a Labour party rejected at the polls, they the Lib Dems would be hammered next time out.. So the Lib Dems insist on a new Labour leader right away as the price of support. Labour oblige; Harriet Harman becomes acting PM for three weeks while Labour’s internal election process unfolds. The fixed term parliament guarantees stable government – no snap second election is allowed to scare the markets and threaten the deal. PR ushers in a long era of centre left coalition governments and bars the Conservatives from power indefinitely. Neat , but with lot’s of big assumptions. For instance, PR would have to go to referendum. Just imagine the campaign. What happens if it’s rejected?

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London