Page last updated at 12:21 GMT, Tuesday, 11 May 2010 13:21 UK

Peter Hain says he 'expects' Plaid to back coalition

Peter Hain interviewed near the Houses of Parliament
Peter Hain paid tribute to Gordon Brown's leadership

Welsh Secretary Peter Hain says he would expect Plaid Cymru to back a potential Labour and Lib Dem coalition.

He said were the nationalist parties to vote down a partnership it could result in a Conservative government.

Plaid had said previously they had left the option open to do a deal with the Conservatives in the hung parliament.

Plaid parliamentary leader Elfyn Llwyd said his party could also play a part in any Labour-Lib Dem agreement, but not as part of a formal coalition.

Welsh Conservative Leader Nick Bourne urged David Cameron "to keep at" negotiations with the Liberal Democrats and said the UK Conservative Leader remained in a powerful position.

Speaking on the BBC's Good Morning Wales programme Mr Hain paid tribute to Gordon Brown and said he agreed with his decision to step down as Labour Party leader.

Mr Brown's statement on Monday was seen as a move to smooth the way to a deal between Labour and the Liberal Democrats to form a government.

Mr Hain said it was "Labour's duty" to negotiate with the Liberal Democrats to see if they could form the next government.

"If [the electorate] wanted a Conservative majority they would have voted for it," he added.

"We have an obligation to see if we can get a partnership government which I think reflects the instincts of the people which is not for the Conservative's right wing policies."

Elfyn Llwyd MP
If there is an understanding between the Labour party and the Liberals then clearly I would hope that we can play our part as well
Plaid Cymru's Elfyn Llwyd

He said a coalition with the Liberal Democrats would leave the two parties just a few seats short of a clear majority.

"It is very clear [with] the DUP, the SDLP in Northern Ireland and others including the Green MP . . . we get towards that position.

"I hope the nationalists, whether Welsh nationalists or Scottish nationalists, would not want to bring down a Labour Liberal government because it would immediately mean the Tories coming in and a Tory cuts programme that would devastate Wales," he added.

"I think we have to say to the other parties including the nationalists 'you are anti-Conservative like us - if you are going to fulfil that submission to stop the Conservatives . . . I would expect you to support us'."

Mr Llwyd said Plaid could be involved informally in any agreement between Labour and the Lib Dems.

"If there is an understanding between the Labour party and the Liberals then clearly I would hope that we can play our part as well," he said.

"Informally, not in a coalition sense, but in the sense of signing up to an agreement in various policies and then looking at things issue by issue.


"I think it's perfectly workable. We have been there before - there's nothing new about it.

"The only complicating feature perhaps is that there would be numerous players this time."

Welsh Conservative Leader Nick Bourne's parliamentary arithmetic suggested that the only possibility of attaining a secure government would be through a deal between his party and the Liberal Democrats.

Mr Bourne said: "Labour and the Liberal Democrats working together - that isn't a secure government. They would need others. They would need many others - the Scottish Nationalists, Plaid Cymru, the Alliance, the SDLP, the know, the Green MP.

"I mean, are we really suggesting that all those individuals can make demands, hold a government to ransom?

"It would be absolutely totally insecure and not what the country needs and craves, I think, particularly at the moment when we have all this economic uncertainty."

"Progressive" deal?

Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Kirsty Williams said the next government would need not only to provide stability, but also to respond to what she called the electorate's "call for change".

She urged Nick Clegg to continue discussions with both the Conservative and Labour parties to this end.

She said she believes the votes are there for a left-wing "progressive" deal between Labour, the Lib Dems and other parties but the arithmetic means it would present challenges.

She said: "There is potentially definitely a progressive amount of MPs that can sit in the house to deliver such a programme.

"But undoubtedly its more challenging to do so than what we would have alternatively with a much larger inbuilt majority."

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