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PostPosted: Sun May 02, 2010 3:17 pm 
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http://www.walesonline.co.uk/elections- ... -26362463/

Plaid would welcome hung parliament

May 2 2010 WalesOnline

Plaid Cymru has put what it calls a balanced parliament at the centre of its election campaign.

While bigger rivals make dire warnings about instability and chaos, the Welsh nationalists relish a hung parliament.

With opinion polls predicting that aspiring prime ministers after May 6 will have to trawl the House of Commons for every vote they can get, Plaid thinks it has spotted a rare opportunity.

By siding with the Scottish National Party to seek concessions for Wales and Scotland, they would offer support on a vote-by-vote basis.

The seven priority policies in Plaid’s manifesto are effectively a shopping list of what the nationalists want from a minority government.

Top of the list is a bigger state pension and protection for the Welsh Assembly Government’s budget, which Plaid says is short-changed £300 million a year through the Barnett formula.

Party leader Ieuan Wyn Jones, Wales’s Deputy First Minister and not a candidate in this election, says Plaid would refuse to do a deal with any party threatening to slash the Welsh budget.

His party also wants UK troops withdrawn from Afghanistan and better services for veterans returning from the front line.

Since inconclusive elections in 2007, Plaid has helped run the devolved administration in Cardiff Bay as Labour’s coalition partner.

Plaid is using the prospect of a similar result in the General Election to counter the argument that it is too small to achieve anything in Westminster.

The influence of Plaid MPs – there were three in the last Parliament – will be enhanced if Labour and the Tories fail to get an outright victory, the party says.

Its share of the vote in Wales’s three Assembly elections has never been below 20.5%, but its share of Welsh votes in general elections hit a high of 14.3% in 2001.

The nationalists have been pointing to compensation for sufferers of industrial disease which they helped negotiate with James Callaghan’s minority government in the 1970s.

It is a example, they say, of the kind of role Plaid MPs could play in a hung parliament in 2010.

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