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'Iain Dale, without the self loathing' - Matthew Fox in The New Statesman

You are a tinker...' - Tim Farron

Monday 23 July 2012

We'd form a government with Labour. Is this really news?

The 'new's that, if in 2015 the electoral arithmetic made Labour the largest party but without an majority, then we would in principle form a government with them, has been greeted with surprise in some quarters.

But is it really news at all? In the 2010 election we agreed to talk first to whoever had the largest mandate after the votes were counted - which we did. We also spoke to Labour. Of course we'd form the most appropriate coalition we could, and if that was with Labour so be it. I can't quite see why this is news?

What IS news is that Labour will only form a coalition with us - should Nick resign first. This is presumably a tit-for-tat move after Nick demanded Gordon Brown resign as part of our own talks with Labour. Which appears a little childish - they'd do better to keep their powder dry until they see exactly where they stand - it would be interesting to see if Ed Miliband was in the David Cameron position next time but that he refused to do a deal unless Nick resigned, would he really be willing to pass up the keys to No.10 as a result?

Although as we know, things are often said in anger but later forgotten...


  1. I think it is more than tit for tat. Clegg has led the Lib Dems away from their heartland by taking Cameron's silver and they need to get rid of him to return to the honest party they once were. The Lib Dems will insist that he goes after a lost election, not Labour.

  2. Rather depends on the election result; while current polling indicates we will lose seats, the local popularity of many LD MPs will return more than many outside the party imagine. If we are in that 'Kingmaker' position I suspect many in the party will see it as something of a turnaround triumph (remember around 50% of members seem to want to keep Nick).

    But lots to happen before then. and of course, he's got to get to the election as leader yet - my current poll indicates this isn't as straightforward as you might imagine...