Saturday 18 April 2015 4:04 am

Is Labour weighing up a coalition with the Liberal Democrats?

Labour party wonks have been scrutinising details of the Liberal Democrat manifesto, looking for common ground on which to broker a deal – if the General Election results in a hung parliament.

The belief among some of Ed Miliband’s allies is that there is a significant overlap between the two parties’ policies, which would allow Labour to form a coalition with the Lib Dems, rather than a more contentious agreement with the Scottish National Party (SNP).

Miliband has ruled out formal coalition with Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP, but any agreement would most likely come with strong demands, which many would see as unpalatable.

Labour’s preference remains for a majority government, but Peter Mandelson a strong Labour player in previous talks with the Lib Dems, conceded:

Obviously Ed Miliband’s first choice would be to have a Labour government, pure and simple, and I would strongly support that. But if needs must, most in the Labour party would put the Liberal Democrats way ahead of the SNP in terms of desirable allies.

Polling projections, however, imply that a Labour Lib Dem coalition would most likely fall short of the 326 seats needed for a majority, leaving Labour scrambling for support from other minor parties.