|Embassy Barometer Embassy 25 May 2010
Who will win the UK elections?
Hung Parliament 56%
Diplomats debate hung parliament
In what was the most unpredictable general election in a generation, diplomats called the election outcome, forecasting a hung parliament, with the Conservatives winning most of the seats.
According to a poll conducted by Embassy magazine, over half the respondents (56 per cent) correctly predicted that no political party will win an overall majority of seats in parliament, with 30 per cent expecting an outright Conservative victory and 15 per cent betting on Labour retaining power.
One diplomat summed up the mood of his colleagues, saying: “I think the Conservatives will win overall in percentage terms and maybe even seats but I wouldn’t bet a penny on it.”
Diplomats will now be keenly watching the ensuing debate over which party will form the next government. Constitutional convention dictates that the incumbent Labour party will have an opportunity to form a coalition government that commands the support of parliament most likely with the Lib Dems, but many diplomats expect the size of the Tory victory will enable them rule with a minority government or with the support with one of the smaller parties, such as the Ulster Unionists.
Diplomats remain deeply divided over the impact of a hung parliament, with one European Ambassador predicting “a total disaster in the current climate” while another European Ambassador said: “Coalition governments are common in Europe and it hasn’t stopped these governments from being decisive.”