There was an interesting piece over at Political Betting last week which I didn't really pick up on at the time. But the latest round of polls got me thinking about scenario that they outlined:
According to their swing calculator, Gordon Brown could find himself 5 points down in the popular vote whilst emerging as the largest party in parliament - by just three seats.
In the event of no overall control the Queen typically invites the leader of the largest party to form a government. Such a result would put the Head of State in a difficult position acording to Nick Anstead – would she go with the seat split as produced by the first past the post system, or break with established practice and ask the popular vote winner?
The Liberal Democrats have apparently said:
The line that has come out of the Lib Dems is that they “wouldn’t oppose” the party with the most seats being able to form a minority government.
This would create a serious dilemma for the Liberal Democrats. Who should they negotiate with first? Ideologically they are still more aligned with the Labour Party, but would they want to prop unpopular government that had been voted in to office with less than a third of the popular vote?
Of course this is a fairly far fetched scenario - and the British voter has a habit of decisively kicking a government out of power. But it's food for thought.