James Forsyth

What happens if this is the result?

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Tonight’s YouGov poll has the Lib Dems three point ahead. They are on 34, the Tories on 31 and Labour on 26. In terms of working out what this would mean in seats, I doubt that uniform national swing is that useful. But for the sake of argument, let’s imagine that did occur. These poll numbers would leave Labour as the largest party in the Commons and the Lib Dems as the third party. One wonders what on earth happens then.


The Palace would pretty much have to summon Brown, he’s the sitting Prime Minister and would be the leader of the party with the most seats. But I can hardly imagine the Lib Dems, if they had the most votes, agreeing to serve as junior partners in anyone’s coalition let alone Brown’s.


It is hard to see how the politicians would get out of this mess. The only solution that comes to mind would involve Labour going in as junior partners to the Lib Dems. But would the Labour party really swallow this?


I imagine the Tory strategy in these circumstances would be to sit tight and hope for a second election in which the public might support them in an attempt to get clarity. But I imagine the issue of voting reform would dominate any second election which would cause massive problems for the Tories.