Four reasons why another Conservative-Lib Dem coalition may happen

May's election is incredibly unpredictable, but the UK could be heading towards a repeat of the current coalition.

The coalition of the last five years has had its downs, but it has managed to last the full parliament.

Here's four reasons why another Con-Lib coalition may be on the cards.

1) The rise of the SNP

If the SNP do manage to gain an incredible number of seats from Labour, then Labour's chances of becoming the largest party in parliament will be diminished significantly. The Conservatives only have one seat in Scotland, whilst the Liberal Democrats have eleven, so even if the SNP gain from them too it would have more of an impact on Labour.

Of course, the SNP and Labour may be able to cobble a deal together, but if the Conservatives are the largest party then another Conservative-Lib Dem arrangement looks more likely.

2) The rise of UKIP, and the failings of FPTP

UKIP will gain votes in May. Polling suggests that they could get well over 10% of the vote, mostly at the expense of the Conservatives. However, the number of seats the party will get will not compare to their share of the vote, due to the restrictions of the UK's first-past-the-post system.

UKIP's rise could affect the Tories' performance in key marginals, but the party is unlikely to gain more than a handful of seats. At any rate, they look unlikely to take as many seats from David Cameron's party, as the SNP could take from Ed Miliband's. This will benefit the Conservatives.

3) The betting markets

As of the 9th of February, William Hill suggests that David Cameron will be Prime Minister on August the 1st this year. The company gives odds of 4/7 for Cameron remaining Prime Minister, whilst it also gives odds of 11/8 for Ed Miliband taking the job. This suggests that Cameron could have a slight edge.

Additionally, the company also gives odds of 4/1 for there being a Conservative-Lib Dem coalition after the general election. On the other hand, the odds given for a Lib-Lab coalition are 11/2. Whilst betting markets are no-where near a perfect guide, they indicate that a Conservative-Lib Dem deal could happen once more following the election.

4) Lack of a complete Liberal Democrat wipeout

Another reason why a Con-Lib deal could be on the cards again is that the Liberal Democrats are unlikely to be wiped out. Whilst the party's share of the vote will likely plummet, the party will benefit from the electoral system it hates - FPTP - and will do well in areas where its support is strongest.

William Hill suggests that the party could get between 21 and 30 seats at the election (odds of 6/4). Such an number could still keep them as king-makers in the House of Commons. On the other hand, if the numbers do not add up then the party could do a deal with Labour instead.

Diminished coalition?

One thing feels almost certain: if the two parties renew their vows under a new coalition agreement then the number of seats the parties have will likely be smaller than before. The current coalition has 363 members. For the numbers to add up for a Con-Lib coalition, the parties will need more than a total of 325 seats in the Commons. And if the numbers do not add up minority coalition government could still be possible depending on the make up of parliament.

For the coalition to return to power it will need to do well in marginals and rely on Labour losing out to the SNP. If they can do that then the same coalition - yet a smaller one - could lead the country once more.


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