What are the options in the General Election?

The Conservatives say that there is a simple choice for electors in the General Election. Do you want a government led by Mrs May, or one led by Mr Corbyn? Given the state of the polls and the current disposition of Parliamentary seats the most likely alternative to the current government is a coalition led by Mr Corbyn, including the SNP and the Lib Dems, rather than a majority Labour government.

It is true that various Opposition parties have said they do not want a coalition. They have to say that to seek to maximise their support and to get people to look at their unique party agendas. It is also clear, however, that were the arithmetic to fall in the right way for them,  b0th the SNP and the Lib Dems would be willing to do a deal with Mr Corbyn.

There are no other likely outcomes. We see and hear a lot of Nicola Sturgeon, but we know for sure she cannot become the Prime Minister leading a UK coalition, as she will not be contesting a Westminster seat herself. We know that the SNP, the Ulster parties and the Welsh Nationalists cannot hope to be the second largest party in the Commons, let alone the largest, to be able to lead a government because they are all contesting fewer than 10% of the total seats.

Only Mr Farron leads a party with a few seats in Parliament today and with a wide spread of candidates. However, the current poll ratings show Labour at more than double the ratings of the Lib Dems. UKIP  may field a lot of candidates. They have only ever secured the election of one MP in a General election, and he has now stood down and is supporting the Conservatives. His argument is that UKIP’s main proposition has been achieved thanks to the Conservative government’s referendum and the vote of the UK people.

This is why I agree with the Conservative proposition that the election is a simple choice between a government led by Mrs May and one led by Mr Corbyn.  The added risk that the SNP could be an important part of any coalition that Mr Corbyn might need adds to the muddle and chaos such an outcome would cause. It is difficult to see how a party, the SNP,  that wants out of the UK  Union can help govern it fairly, and difficult to see how a party which does not in effect accept the result of the EU  referendum could help secure the UK a good future relationship with the EU.

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  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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