BBC News: Election 2010 BBC News

Page last updated at 14:35 GMT, Friday, 7 May 2010 15:35 UK

Plaid leave Tory talks option open in hung parliament

Ieuan Wyn Jones says he will talk to any party who will offer a "fairer funding deal" to Wales

Plaid Cymru have left their options open to do a deal with the Conservatives in the hung parliament.

Their "Celtic bloc" partners in Scotland, the SNP, have ruled out any form of deal with the Tories.

Leader Ieuan Wyn Jones said Plaid were "prepared to talk" to any other parties to get a "good deal for Wales".

A Plaid source said a coalition with Tories had always been ruled out, but would not comment on their position on a possible vote-by-vote deal.

Labour Welsh Secretary Peter Hain has urged a coalition government involving his party and the Liberal Democrats, and including an "arrangement" taking in smaller parties such as Plaid and the SNP.

A relieved Peter Hain
I remain secretary of state for Wales and the prime minister remains prime minister so long as there's no alternative government formed
Welsh Secretary Peter Hain

After the Tories fell short of an overall majority, Mr Hain has said such an arrangement could drive through "fundamental reforms".

SNP leader Alex Salmond has accepted Prime Minister Gordon Brown's offer of civil service talks for parties who want to do a deal in a hung parliament.

Mr Salmond said fate had "dealt a mighty hand" to the SNP and Plaid, but he ruled out his party talking with the Conservatives.

Mr Jones, asked if he would speak to any party giving the assurances he sought, said he had made clear his terms were ensuring such areas as a "fair funding formula" for Wales.

The Plaid leader said: "We knew there was going to be a hung parliament, that's what's happened, and in that situation, of course, clarity will not happen overnight, and I'm sure there will be lots of discussions to see whether a new government can be formed." Asked if he envisaged Plaid playing a role in supporting a future government, he said: "What we have made clear is that we are prepared to talk in order to secure a good deal for the people of Wales.

Labour: 26 seats (net loss 4 from 2005); 36.2% share (- 6.5%)
Conservatives: 8 (net gain 5); 26.1% (+4.7%)
Lib Dems: 3 (net loss 1); 20.1% (+ 1.7%)
Plaid Cymru: 3 (net gain 1); 11.3% (- 1.3%)
Others: 6.2% (+ 1.4%)
Turnout: 64.9% (+ 2.2%)
Source: BBC

"We want to make sure we have a fair funding formula, that the vulnerable are protected, that our economy comes out of recession... and I think those are the kind of discussions that we would be happy to have in order to ensure that the people of Wales have something that they can look forward to."

Asked if he would talk to any party that would give those assurances, he said: "We made it clear during the campaign that those were the terms upon which we would enter into discussions."

Responding to news that the SNP is opening preliminary talks with Labour on behalf of the Scottish and Welsh nationalists, a senior Plaid source said, "Discussions need to take place, both internally and between parties, Plaid will not be providing a running commentary on this".

Mike German
Nick Clegg is absolutely right to say that any coalition is with the party with the clearest mandate
Mike German, ex-Welsh Lib Dem leader

Asked about the apparent discrepancy between Mr Jones refusing to rule out talking to any other party, and Alex Salmond's rejection of any sort of deal with the Conservatives, the Plaid source said a coalition with the Tories had always been ruled out, but would not confirm or deny anything about the party's position regarding a deal with the Tories on a vote by vote basis.

'Glare of spotlight'

Former Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Mike German has been in coalition talks twice in the Welsh assembly. In 2000, his party struck a coalition deal with Labour that lasted until 2003, but in 2007 the Lib Dems failed to do the same, which led to the current Labour-Plaid assembly government.

Mr German said a coalition could only be formed if there was a "good fit" on policies, but negotiations could not be done "in the glare of the spotlight," nor the day after the election.

Lembit Opik concedes defeat to Conservative Glyn Davies
Lembit Opik concedes defeat to Conservative Glyn Davies

Mr German said: "Nick Clegg is absolutely right to say that any coalition is with the party with the clearest mandate. The ball lies firmly with David Cameron to come up with some proposals".

Tory gains included key marginals Vale of Glamorgan, and Cardiff North by just 194 votes as they added five seats, making a total of eight.

Labour's share of the Welsh vote slumped to just over 36%, the worst since 1918, but they held onto key seats.

Labour regained former heartland Blaenau Gwent from independent Dai Davies and remain the dominant political party with 26 of Wales's 40 parliamentary seats, down three on the previous election.

While Welsh Labour fought off Lib Dem challenges in Newport East and Swansea West, as well as Plaid Cymru on Ynys Mon, they also saw much reduced majorities in seats like Bridgend, Gower, and Alyn and Deeside.

The Lib Dems had a difficult night, missing out on target seats and losing Lembit Opik in Montgomeryshire but they held Ceredigion and Cardiff Central.

Plaid Cymru's share of the vote held up but they failed to take Labour-held target constituencies of Ynys Mon and Llanelli and failed to retake Ceredigion from the Liberal Democrats and came fourth in Aberconwy, a seat they hold in the Welsh assembly.

The smaller parties failed to make a breakthrough.

The UK Independence Party, who fought all 40 constituencies, won 2.4% of the vote, up 1%, and the British National Party, in 19 seats, had a 1.6% share, up 1.5%, while the Greens' 13 candidates had 0.4%, down 0.1%.

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