With polling showing a very close contest between the Conservatives and Labour, where every vote will count, the Liberal Democrats are in serious decline in the region.
The latest forecast from Electionforecast .co.uk (as used by the BBC) predicts the Conservatives will lose 27 seats and the Liberal Democrats 32. Many Liberal Democrat seats in our region will be won by the Conservatives – which doesn’t help the Coalition’s overall total of MP’s. Yvette Cooper,
Shadow Home Secretary, said that a Labour government was ‘in touching distance’.
The maths however will be complicated as the Conservatives are forecast to be the largest Party with 279 seats, with Labour currently polling 270, neither Party is close to the magic number of 326 seats to form a majority government. Constitutionally the largest Party gets the first opportunity to form a government, so it could take a while for Mr Cameron to come to the conclusion he cannot command enough support from the other Party’s to form a government, The Queen would then invite Mr Miliband to form a government, and Labour believes it can command the support of the majority of MP’s.
The SNP will be the second largest Party with 51 seats, followed by the Liberal Democrats with 25 – down from their current 57. Despite the unprecedented election coverage UKIP and the Greens are forecast to have just a single seat each, neither will play an influential part in deciding the next government. The Welsh Nationalist and Northern Ireland parties together have a total of 15 seats, which roughly balance in total in their support for Labour or the Conservatives.
Mr Miliband has stated forcefully that he will enter into no coalition or arrangement with any other Party and that the Labour manifesto will form his programme presented in a Labour Queens speech to Parliament. This may appear to be unworkable, but the reality is that the SNP have stated publicly they will not support the Conservatives under any circumstances. They will face the choice of supporting Labour, or walking through the voting lobby with the Conservatives. They will not have any Ministers in the government in the way the Liberal Democrats were in the last Tory/Liberal Democrat coalition.
In addition, the more progressive Liberal Democrats (those most likely to keep their seats) would probably vote with Labour as government bills pass through the House of Commons.
Former Liberal Democrat Coalition Ministers may not even be re-elected. Mr Danny Alexander is almost certain to lose his seat to the SNP, Mr David Lawes is under significant threat from the Conservatives in Yeovil and some polls show that even Mr Clegg will lose his seat to Labour in Sheffield.
Labour should strengthen the number of MP’s in our cities, Plymouth and Exeter. In Newton Abbot we can see the difference Ben Bradshaw’s Labour makes to the lives of the people of Exeter, our plan is to share similar prosperity and facilities in the future with a Labour MP.
All polling and forecasts are a ‘snapshot’ of time, and, as everybody who has played sport knows, the result is not certain until the final whistle is blown and the line is crossed. Every Labour vote will count in deciding the future direction the country takes, because we know that ‘Britain only succeeds when working people succeed’.
It has to be Labour on Thursday.