In 2010, when Labour lost its majority, the incumbent Prime Minister Gordon Brown floated the idea of a “rainbow coalition” including Northern Irish, Welsh and Scottish nationalists, the Lib Dems, and the Greens. It failed.
However, the idea is being resurrected in the wee hours of election night 2017.
Theresa May, the sitting Tory Prime Minister, called the snap election in order to boost her majority. But instead, the exit poll is pointing towards a hung Parliament.
If the poll is right (and there’s serious doubts about it), the Conservatives could be on 314 seats, Labour on 266 seats, the Scottish National Party on 34 seats, the Liberal Democrats on 14, Plaid Cymru taking 3, the Greens 1 and 18 other (Northern Ireland).
So could the opposition parties band together and form a government?
If Labour and the Liberal Democrats joined together, on the basis of this exit poll, the combined parties would have 280 seats – not enough to form a coalition government.
However, add in the SNP, and the Greens, and there’s 315 seats – just enough to beat the Conservatives.
Unfortunately, the Conservatives could then call on their Northern Irish allies, the Democratic Unionists. At this point, it would be a question of which of the main parties could rally enough of the small parties to their side.