THE BLOG

Should We Be Preparing For a Lib-Lab Coalition in 2015?

16/01/2014 09:23 GMT | Updated 17/03/2014 09:59 GMT

In 2010, there appeared to be only one option for the Lib Dems. With a hung parliament swayed in favour of the Conservatives, Nick Clegg and his party jumped over to join the Tories in a Coalition, dismissing Labour in an attempt to "work together in the national interest". Pictured together happily content in Downing Street's rose garden, the Lib-Con partnership appeared promising.

However, over three years later and with the luring threat of another hung parliament in the upcoming 2015 general election, the smiles have vanished, along with the idea that the Lib Dems could continue to work with the Tories for another five years in power.

Currently, there are three key areas where the Lib Dems and the Tories majorly disagree. The Lib Dems have openly criticised David Cameron's plans for further welfare cuts, and they do not support the PM over his policy on immigration.

Most significantly, Clegg is strongly against the prospect of the UK leaving the EU, believing it would be "suicide" for the fragile economic recovery. Although the Deputy PM has aired his reasons for Britain to stay in the EU, including the security of millions of UK jobs and the necessity of continuing a flourishing free trade market, the Tories are intent on changing EU treaty terms, even it appears before their original promise of a referendum in 2017.

Following the revelation that over 90 Conservative MPs have written to Cameron in a quest to urge him to give Parliament a veto over current and future EU laws, it seems that aside from the concerns over their relations with the Lib Dems, the Europe question may have the potential to destroy the balance within their own party, a problem which they will need to be spun out of by CCHQ in time for 2015.

So, should we be preparing for a Lib-Lab Coalition in 2015? Possibly. Given their current problems and the added strain of preparing an election campaign whilst being tied into an unhappy government, the idea that the Lib Dems could work with the Tories again seems unlikely. If they sided with Labour, Clegg and his party would have the opportunity to press ahead for their ever desired mansion tax, and it is conceivable to see them working together under the 'cost of living' slogan along with Clegg's plea of governing for a "fairer" Britain.

Indeed, Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls has publicly commented that Labour could work together with the Lib Dems and although Balls may not be Clegg's ideal choice for Chancellor, such a partnership is not hard to contemplate. However, dismissing the suggestion that it would be impossible for the Lib Dems to work with the Tories again, Clegg stated on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show at the weekend that it would be up to the British people to decide which party they most want to see in power at the next election. In other words, if Labour gain the most support in 2015 but fail to win a majority, a Lib-Lab alliance may be the only way forward. The question is, which side will they fall on if the Conservatives gain more support in 2015?