Britain votes: Parties react to prospect of coalition govt

Ballots are tallied at a counting centre for Britain's general election in Boston, June 8, 2017.
Ballots are tallied at a counting centre for Britain's general election in Boston, June 8, 2017.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (Reuters, AFP) - An exit poll earlier suggested Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservative Party would fail to win a parliamentary majority, a shock result that would require her to enter into coalition talks with smaller parties.

Here's a look at how they have reacted to that prospect:

SINN FEIN

Northern Ireland’s Sinn Fein will maintain its policy of not taking seats in Britain’s parliament, the nationalist party’s president said on Thursday, a position that will cut the number of seats needed to win a parliamentary majority.  

If Sinn Fein, as expected, at least retains the four seats it won in 2015, the winning party would need 324 seats for a majority, rather than 326. “If we are fortunate enough and privileged enough to have our candidates returned as MPs, it will be on the basis that we will not be going to take our seats in Westminster,” Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams told reporters.

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“There is no danger of us taking our seats in the Westminster parliament.”

LIBERAL DEMOCRATIC PARTY

The poll showed the Liberal Democrats on track to win 14 seats, potentially giving them a significant role when negotiations start on who will form the next government.

But the party would find it very difficult to join a coalition again after suffering severe damage from its deal with the Conservatives after the 2010 election, former leader Menzies Campbell had said earlier on Thursday.

"(Party leader) Tim Farron made it very clear. He said no pact, no deal, no coalition. We've had our fingers burnt by coalition, I don't need to tell you that. I find it very, very difficult to see how Tim Farron would be able to go back on what he previously said," Mr Campbell told the BBC.

 

NORTHERN IRELAND'S DEMOCRATIC UNIONIST PARTY (DUP)

The prospect of no clear winner emerging from Britain's election is "perfect territory" for Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and they would be willing to negotiate with Mrs Theresa May's Conservatives, a senior MP said on Thursday.

Prime Minister May's Conservatives will fail to win a parliamentary majority in the election, according to an exit poll, meaning that the like-minded DUP, who won eight seats in 2015, could potentially play a key role in a future government.

"This is perfect territory for the DUP obviously because if the Conservatives are just short of an overall majority, it puts us in a very, very strong negotiating position and it is one we would take up with relish," Mr Jeffrey Donaldson told BBC television.

"We will be serious players if there is a hung Parliament. We will talk to whoever is the largest party, it looks like the Conservatives. We have a lot in common, we want to see Brexit work, we want to see the Union strengthened. I think there is a lot of common ground."

 

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