No white smoke yet from the Conservative and Lib Dem teams trying to negotiate an agreed pact. If they fail to reach an understanding, it could be the Labour party’s turn to dance with the Lib Dems. As the BBC’s Stephen Walker points out, even with Sinn Féin’s vacant seats taken into account, the election results show those two parties would still fall short of the required 323 seats. By just 8 votes… From Stephen Walker’s article
The SDLP traditionally takes the Labour whip and their three MPs – Mark Durkan, Margaret Ritchie and Alasdair McDonnell – would back a Labour administration.
The new East Belfast MP Naomi Long would most likely support her colleagues in the Liberal Democrats, which is a sister party to Alliance.
Lady Sylvia Hermon is another MP who would most likely support a non-Tory administration.
Her opposition to the Conservatives is well documented and resulted in her resignation from the Ulster Unionist Party.
Now sitting as an independent MP she is on record as saying she would vote against David Cameron as prime minister.
So Northern Ireland could initially deliver 5 votes for a Lib-Lab administration.
That figure could grow to 13 if the DUP came on board. However all local MPs would seek guarantees about Northern Ireland’s block grant and over other economic matters.
So whilst, as Brian noted, it might seem that the NI parties would sit in rival power blocs, it ain’t necessarily so.