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Daily View: Hung Parliament

Clare Spencer | 09:06 UK time, Friday, 7 May 2010

Commentators discuss the prospect of a hung Parliament.

The Telegraph editorial commends David Cameron's achievement:

"It is highly unlikely that Mr Cameron will seek a coalition with other parties and he would be wise to avoid doing so. As he said in the early hours during his count in Witney, the country needs stability and leadership. The results suggest that can only be provided by the Tories. When all the votes are counted later today, the Tory leader should have enough seats to form the first minority government since 1974 and get a Queen's Speech through Parliament with the informal support of the minor parties, who will not wish to trigger another election by voting it down. Such a result would mark a signal personal triumph for David Cameron, who has demonstrated throughout the campaign the qualities of unflappability and stamina that will be needed in the months and years to come. The scale of his achievement cannot be overstated."

Gary Gibbon at Channel 4 News says if David Cameron does end up leading the country, his position could be relatively weak:

"There is much that could be done without legislation and that includes a lot of the main narrative of the next government - how you cut the deficit. There would be many opportunities when it comes to legislation to frustrate his will.

Very importantly for the future election, which may not be a long way off, David Cameron would not be able to redraw the parliamentary boundaries and cut the number of seats the way he wanted to - a reform that would have benefited his party."

Simon Jenkins says in the Guardian that a hung Parliament means the Lib Dems have a short moment of power:

"Nick Clegg and his Liberal Democrats now have their moment of power, but it will be just a moment. They have failed to win enough votes to carry an overwhelming moral case for electoral reform, yet they have not supplanted Labour on the centre-left. They may pray for the Tory lead to be big enough to leave the decision in the hands of the nationalists, but that seems unlikely. Whatever they decide they may well split over it, and may have to defend at an early re-election. Their recent ecstasy will swiftly turn to agony."

Political blogger Phil Hendren says in his blog Dizzy Thinks that it's not over yet:

"Nigel Farage is in hospital and his count hasn't started yet, and other counts will begin shortly, but it seems likely that the Tories will be the largest party with also the largest popular vote. This presents Clegg with a dilemma.

Clegg was very careful to not define whether a mandate for him was most votes or most seats, if the Tories have both he's either got to go with them or break his word and prove he's not 'something different' at all."

Rachel Sylvester says in the Times that this election was about antipathy as much as apathy:

"After the MPs' expenses scandal, the war in Iraq, bullying spin-doctors and dodgy statistics, trust in politicians is at a record low, compounded by the behaviour of the bankers who are to many people part of the same elite. A hung Parliament is the result that many voters wanted. It was effectively a cross in the box for 'none of the above', a plea for a more co-operative, grown-up dialogue between the parties in what was an anti-politics election. The politicians should listen humbly and learn. This is a very British sort of revolution."

London correspondent for Germany's Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Wolfgang Koydl, is critical [link in German] of the UK's two-party system:

"Labour-Tory, Tory-Labour: Reliably, like the chimes of Big Ben, Britain's political pendulum always swung to and fro between the two dominant parties. If one party dominated for too long, the other replaced it.
"But this time the pendulum has not swung far enough. It has got stuck in a grey zone, where there is plenty of room for speculation, arrangements, deals and ultimately no doubt coalitions. Just the normal state of affairs after a parliamentary election in Germany, Italy or Belgium. But new territory for the British... Now nobody can rule without help from the Lib Dems, and Brown and his social democrats have not wasted a second in making overtures."

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