Political campaigning continued in the UK Monday, as the parties make a final campaign sweep ahead of Thursday’s general election. But at the center of the campaign lies the possible question of a hung parliament, with recent opinion polls conducted over the weekend suggesting the possibility of no party’s MPs reaching a majority of seats in the House of Commons.
Polls indicated that the Conservative Party, led by Prime Minister David Cameron, and the opposition Labour Party, led by Ed Miliband, are neck and neck, with a result too close to call. There are also other considerations, most notably from the Scottish National Party (also known as the SNP) and the UK Independence Party (also known as UKIP).
The SNP may look to take Labour in many areas that had been guaranteed wins for the party in the past, while UKIP, which favors the UK not being a member of the European Union, may split Conservative voting in England, according to a report from Reuters.
Indeed, some have acknowledged that there will be a hung parliament as the debate for the next government takes place on Friday, and the next question would be whether such a coalition could command the confidence of the Commons.
They include Nick Clegg, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, which entered a coalition government with the Conservatives in 2010 after the first hung parliament since 1974 was declared, after a Parliament which included expenses scandals by some MPs. The party too is under pressure, especially with younger voters, when it comes to university tuition fees.
“No one is going to win,” Clegg said in a Sunday interview with the BBC, as quoted by Reuters. “I know David Cameron and Ed Miliband go around robotically that they’re going to win. They’re not, and they know it.”
Yet, as the Monday public holiday ended, speculation emerged of the Liberal Democrats entering into a minority coalition with Labour. The BBC reports that senior sources with Labour have contemplated entering a coalition with the Lib Dems, adding that such a coalition would allow voters to see a government led by Miliband as credible and stable. Yet, the report quotes a Labour spokesperson as saying the party is looking to focus on a majority win on election night.
The Lib Dems, for their part, say no party will win the election outright, and said that the party with the most seats won that night should reach out to other parties. The spokesperson for the party added that they would work for the national interest and ensure a stable government would be in place.
The Conservatives have also made the point that they too can be able to govern without the need of a coalition agreement. They have advocated for the economy, saying a Labour government would have economic consequences for the UK. Labour says the Conservatives would risk the future of the funding of the National Health Service. The Conservatives had faced much criticism over its plans regarding the NHS over the course of the Parliament.
Whatever happens after Thursday’s vote, questions will likely continue on the subject of governance, and what the best way forward is. For the moment, the biggest question is what box the British electorate will check come polling day.