UK voters left guessing about coalition partners ahead of elections

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By Joanna Gill
UK voters left guessing about coalition partners ahead of elections

Party leaders are on edge as the UK election campaign heads into its final days. The polls show no change with Conservatives and Labour neck-and-neck on 34%.

The last major TV debate seems to have done little to win over the British public. Although some polls are claiming a victory for David Cameron, it may prove to be a hollow one.

With the prospect of a hung parliament, the most pressing issue is who will the parties be making their coalition partners.

When pressed by the studio audience Labour leader Ed Miliband once again shot down the idea of doing a deal with the Scottish National Party.

On track to wipe out the Labour party in its traditional strong-hold of Scotland, the SNP could win every seat north of the border and hold the balance of power in Westminster.

Britain’s newspapers have upped the ante in recent days, with the Sun in Scotland backing a vote for the SNP. This would be a gift to the Conservatives who want to see Labour’s vote diminished in Scotland.

“Newspapers traditionally have liked to see themselves as influential in swinging votes,” explains John McClellan from the Scottish Newspaper Society. “At the same time, they don’t want to be seen to be on the losing side. They want to be seen to be influential but they want to make sure that they are backing a winning horse right from the start.”

The image of SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon as Star Wars character Princess Leia on The Sun’s front cover appeared to amuse her, though she noted that she didn’t suit the hairstyle.

She has argued for a deal with the Labour party on May 8th in a bid to ‘lock the Tories out of Downing Street’ and has repeatedly said the country wouldn’t forgive Labour if they allowed the Conservatives to take power rather than do a deal with the SNP.

The sticking point for Labour is that the SNP are seeking full independence for Scotland and until now they have refused to rule out another independence referendum. However, Sturgeon has said she wouldn’t seek a second vote to split the UK unless the Scottish people called for it.

In any event, prospective coalition partners might take heed of the fate of the Liberal Democrats who did a deal with the Conservatives in 2010 and now face the prospect of coming a distant fourth.

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