Factbox: Smaller UK parties who could work with a Labour govt

LONDON (BestGrowthStock) – British Prime Minister Gordon Brown pledged on Monday to stand aside as Labour leader in a last-ditch bid to keep his party in office.

Labour won the second highest number of parliamentary seats in last week’s election, with 258, and would need the support not only of the third-placed Liberal Democrats with 57 but also smaller parties if it is to have a majority in parliament. The Liberal Democrats — who are also in talks with the biggest party, the Conservatives — suggested before last week’s election they may be willing to work with Labour in a so-called “hung parliament” but would be reluctant to do so if Brown remained in office.

Critics warned a Labour-Lib Dem-others coalition would be a “coalition of the losers” and lack credibility with voters or financial markets.

However, most of the smaller parties are, like the Liberal Democrats and Labour, left-leaning politically so might be able to offer support for a limited legislative programme.

Below are the smaller parties with whom Labour and the Liberal Democrats could align. The numbers of seats they won in last week’s election are in brackets:

SCOTTISH NATIONAL PARTY (6)

The SNP describes itself on its website as a left-of-center party committed to Scottish independence.

It has had experience of collaborative government, having had to get cooperation from opponents as a minority government in the devolved Scottish parliament.

Key planks of the SNP 2010 general election campaign included:

– Scrapping Labour’s identity card scheme;

– No replacement for the Trident nuclear deterrent (the Liberal Democrats also campaigned against like-for-like replacement);

– Abolishing parliament’s upper House of Lords.

PLAID CYMRU (3)

Plaid is the Welsh nationalist party and the second biggest party in Wales’s regional National Assembly. Since 2007, it has worked in a coalition with Labour in the Welsh Assembly.

The SNP and Plaid Cymru said during the campaign they would not enter a formal coalition with any of the main Westminster parties but would work together as a bloc to push for concessions from them.

These were:

– To fight for “fair” funding for Wales and Scotland;

– Protect local services and the most vulnerable from the cuts;

– Press for action to help the green economy;

– Work to support business growth across Scotland and Wales.

SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC AND Labor PARTY (3)

The SDLP is the more moderate of the two so-called “nationalist” parties in Northern Ireland, which ultimately seek to unite the UK’s Northern Ireland with the Republic of Ireland in the south of the island.

OTHER

Labour could also look for support from the GREEN party, which won its first ever parliamentary seat in last week’s election, and possibly Northern Ireland’s ALLIANCE party which also has one seat and is a cross-community party.

Northern Ireland’s SINN FEIN, which supports a united Ireland, won five seats but its MPs do not take their seats in Westminster so would not offer the government any assistance. The province’s DEMOCRATIC UNIONIST PARTY won eight seats, making it the fourth largest party in Westminster, but is traditionally allied with the Conservatives.

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Factbox: Smaller UK parties who could work with a Labour govt