Time to push the numbers around:
Total seats in Parliament, 650
less non participating: 6 (5 Sinn Fein & the Speaker)
Participating Seats 644
Votes required for an effective majority = 644/2 : 322+1
Conservatives Seats announced 305 (BBC 306 figure includes Speaker)
plus expected to win in 1 Thirsk by-election
plus Ulster Cons & Unionists 0 - that was a great idea!
plus DUP 8 - here's to the pork barrel
Total poss. Conservative Camp 314 - 19 Short
Alliance party of NI 1
Sub total 319 (representing 52% of the vote)
- 4 short of a majority
Scottish Nationalists 6
Plaid Cyrmu 3
Total Nationalist 9
Maximum Total non-Tory camp 329
(Check 329+314=643 – this compares to 644 effective votes: the difference is an Independent (anti-Tory link) Unionist who I have not allocated to either Camp)
- Conservative 306, trumps Labour 258, but …
- Labour/Liberal (and associates) 319, trumps Conservative 306, even
- Labour/Liberal (and associates) 319, trumps Conservative + DUP 314
It comes down to how you measure legitimacy.
Does “winning” with 36% of the vote give you a “better legitimacy” than second and third place with a combined 52% of the vote?
Or does a coalition representing 52% of the popular vote have more legitimacy than any other combination?
How much weight to you give to someone who has come first? If you argue that 36% in a predominantly three way fight is OK, is 27% legitimate in a predominantly four way fight, and 23% in a five way fight? The Scottish Nationalist minority administration in Scotland (a predominantly four-way fight) had ~32% popular support. Of course in Scotland the 68% non-nationalist element could (if they got their act together) vote out the Scottish Nationalist administration – because they have an approximately proportional voting system – so they hold power with the tacit consent of the representatives of the people.
36% of the popular vote giving you 47% of the seats just does not feel legitimate. It could land us in the grease.