Friday, February 19, 2010

What happens if there is a hung parliament?

Martin Kettle has an interesting piece in today's Guardian looking at what might happen after a hung parliament:

The idea canvassed by Armstrong and Lord Crowther-Hunt in 1974 that the Queen might consult some national elders – Harold Macmillan and Manny Shinwell were suggested – and might even invite Willie Whitelaw or Roy Jenkins to form a government was fanciful even then.

Today such a "Miliband option", as it is optimistically dubbed, would be even more for the birds. If Brown was persuaded to step down in order to enable Labour to govern, there is no way the palace could invite any Labour politician except Harriet Harman to form a government.

In earlier times, private soundings might have produced consensus prime ministers like Churchill or Douglas-Home. Today parties are encumbered with more rules. If Brown goes, Harman automatically becomes Labour leader until a party leadership election is held. The Miliband option is a non-starter.

In short, the idea of a Miliband option is bananas.

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