Will a national newspaper endorse a hung Parliament rather than a party this election?

By Jonathan Bartley
April 15, 2010

Following the launch of the campaign yesterday (in which we are involved) to make the case for a hung/ balanced Parliament, two national newspapers carry favourable articles about the prospect of a hung Parliament today.

Both Reuters and the Press Association covered the launch of the campaign yesterday. Today the Telegraph draws attention to yet another economic analyst - Amit Kara from UBS - who says financial markets and investors have "nothing to fear" if there is no clear clear winner after the General Election.

The Independent also carries a leader today: “The dividing lines are clear – and there's no reason to fear the prospect of a hung parliament”

It raises the prospect that a national newspaper may at this election choose to endorse a hung Parliament rather than a political party.

One newspaper actually came close at the weekend. It’s not one of the big ones, but The Sunday People said this under the headline “Why you shouldn't be scared of a HUNG PARLIAMENT”:

“What it COULD mean is a whole new way of conducting politics in this country.

“The big beasts of the political jungle put it about that a hung Parliament will lead to uncertainty and economic instability as investors desert us, plunging Britain into another recession.

“Yet it need not be so. International markets are comfortable with coalitions in Austria, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Switzerland and Turkey.

“It is true coalitions can collapse but usually only when too many political parties are involved as in Belgium. Or when there is fundamental disagreement as there was in Holland over Afghanistan.

“But that can happen with single-party governments too if there are enough rebels on the backbenches.

“And perhaps talk of a hung Parliament and the unfortunate image it conjures up is in itself misleading. Which is why Nick Clegg prefers to call it a balanced Parliament.

“So there should be nothing to fear from a balanced Parliament. And there may be much to gain as we face the greatest economic challenge in our history.

“The price the Liberal Democrats would demand of a coalition is Vince Cable as Chancellor. The price the British people would demand of the Liberal Democrats is that they lock themselves into the new government for at least two years.

“No grandstanding. No throwing toys out of political prams. In short, politicians would have to grow up.

“They would need to learn the novel lesson of pulling together when all they have ever known is how to tear each other apart.

“It is not for The People - now a politically independent newspaper - to tell our readers how to vote.”

It's not out of the question that in the next few weeks a bigger newspaper might make the step and suggest people vote for a hung Parliament come May 6th.

[Update: 20 April 22.21 Independent newspaper deputy editor @AdamLeigh confirmed on BBC's Campaign Show tonight that the newspaper is supporting a hung parliament]

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