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Brown's audacious bid raises questions

Nick Robinson | 19:47 UK time, Monday, 10 May 2010

Gordon Brown has made an audacious bid, not just to keep Labour in power but to reshape British politics by creating the sort of coalition not seen in Britain since the World War II.

The prime minister was told by cabinet colleagues and by senior Liberal Democrats that there was little in the way of policy to stop their two parties working together, but that he was a barrier, in part because he was seen as uncollegiate, in part because his continued presence was regarded as electorally toxic.

This solution still raises a number of problems, however, which the Conservatives and critics in the media are sure to raise:
• is it legitimate for Gordon Brown and Labour to stay in office, having lost this election?
• is it right for a new prime minister to be chosen, not by voters, but by Labour party members?
• and can such a coalition be strong and stable given that in Parliamentary terms it has the equivalent number of MPs to Harold Wilson or John Major's governments, which were hardly strong or stable?

However, the real question tonight is for Nick Clegg. Does he now stick to his chosen path and do a deal with the Conservatives to the fury of many in his party or does he switch to Labour, risking the wrath of those who will accuse him of creating a "coalition of losers"?


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  • Comment number 1.

    The indignation and foot-stamping on display by political commentators on the television is unfortunate (Tom Bradbury was close to inciting a riot – not professional). The Conservatives have, quite rightly, been given the first opportunity to seek to form a government. However, it is clear from the outset that there were gaping policy chasms between the Tories and Lib-Dems, with ample opportunities for the coalition to collapse over issues such as immigration, taxation, Europe or reform of the houses of parliament.

    With those negotiations having failed to be productive, the Lib-Dems turn to Labour, their combined votes forming a majority of the popular vote (52%) and their policies in key areas being fairly close with little scope for coalition collapse, as cooperation between these parties in the Scottish & Welsh governments will attest.

    It is in the interests of the UK, and fundamentally more democratic, to have a government representing 52% of the electorate than a mere 36% (a minority Conservative government). This statement is true regardless of the sound and fury emanating from political commentators with little apparent knowledge of how the majority of the worlds democratic countries (including Scotland & Wales) form governments. It is only unfortunate that the perverse results created by FPTP fail to accurately represent the strength of support for the Lib Dems & Labour vis a vis the Conservatives. That means they have to rely on potential support from the SDLP, SNP and Plaid Cymru. But these are level headed parties of government, not wild cowboys as some in the media seem to regard them. The so-called Progressive Alliance has far more potential to be stable and strong, united by a common opposition to 90% of Tory policy.

    Finally, for the Lib-Dems to accept a Tory offer to have a referendum on voting reform would be ill-advised. Imagine the Tories & Lib-Dems in government campaigning on opposite sides for a referendum (with the Tories wielding the tools of government and their powerful foreign supporters who control the media).

  • Comment number 2.

    Wow, perhaps I should join Unite or gmb - that way at least I can vote who should be the next PM

  • Comment number 3.

    If I was Clegg I would talk to the Free Democrats in Germany and see what Angela Merkels party their coalition partners of 6 months did to them today on their tax cut proposals. (For Merkel read Brown)

  • Comment number 4.


    IF the Lib Dems and Labour form this COAL government (Coalition of all losers) it won't get past the Queen's Speech, as some LAbour MPs will vote against it to protect themselves

    There would then be an election, and Labour AND the Lib Dems would get hammered

    To alter our voting system (or to even promise to) without a referendum is disgraceful

    Brown is a disgrace

  • Comment number 5.

    •is it right for a new Prime Minister to be chosen, not by voters, but by Labour party members? Answer is no as this has happened too often in British Politics. I never agreed when John Major took over from Margaret Thatcher until he won an election and then he could say he was the Prime Minister. Then we had Tony Blair saying he would stay for a full parliment and didn't. Now we have Gordon Brown who ran a campaign for election for a full term parliment but now he could leave within 6 mnths. I've always believed if a prime minister resigns from either party leader or as prime minister then we should let whatever party decide who their next leader is and the go to a general election. This decision feels so undemocratic.

  • Comment number 6.

    What is audacious about resigning 3 days after a general election, when you have been well and truly beaten?

  • Comment number 7.

    "Is it right for a new Prime Minister to be chosen, not by voters, but by Labour party members?"

    That's not how our system works. We don't elect a leader, we elect the party.
    I can't remember the option to vote Blair as PM, or Cameron as leader of the conservatives. Please stop with the "Un-elected PM" nonsense. If they are an MP then they have faced the electorate and won. They are Elected.

  • Comment number 8.

    Brown cannot be sold politically, his continuation would be the end of the process. The real issue is: what will be different? Will things go in a different direction? Will we all be taxed forever while banks charge us and nations interest on our own money. Finding a more acceptable face is not the issue, the issue is about a new approach and new ideas and an end to the mumbling that has taken place for the past two years from all involved. Since the political system is unwilling to change the people will simply make it change....hold on to your hats there could be a big blow coming. Batten down the hatches.

  • Comment number 9.

    Thank you Gordon, the conditions are now in place for Tory capitulation on electoral reform.

    Not only are the Conservatives missing a majority in the current House, they are now threatened by an increasingly-electable Labour party.

    This will make their job a lot harder if a new election is called.

    Therefore, they will be extremely keen to avoid the calling of a new election.

    This will in turn cause them to accept whatever terms the Lib Dems insist upon. Their partial capitulation to a position of supporting a referendum on AV is evidence of the weakness of their position. Yet it is weaker still; in fact it is so weak that they are currently powerless, and without an agreement, this situation will continue indefinitely.

    The Lib Dems are now free to choose the mode of government that suits them - although a coalition is available, it might be politically expedient to avoid that, while still insisting upon a binding referendum on the voting system, by way of a confidence and supply agreement.

    Perhaps the Lib Dems can avoid an internal backlash by insisting upon the full implementation of their electoral reform policies?

  • Comment number 10.

    All the parties were losers - it's just that the Tories were first among the losers. For some Conservatives to claim that they in fact won, and that the Lib Dems should go along with it is just arrogant, bullying nonsense.

  • Comment number 11.

    The amazing thing is that Brown would STILL remain PM until Septmeber or so, when the new PM would be chosen by the Labour Party. I still can't see the Lib Dems having the nerve to foist that on the UK. Especially no foisting it on England.

  • Comment number 12.

    Why is no one raising the issue that the Conservatives have a majority of 62 in England with as near as 40% of the vote? Surely, if Labour and the LibDems work out a deal between themselves and the other parties they need, it is clear that the people that are the majority financial support for the UK are being ignored and taxed to fulfil the wishes of a party that they clearly don't want.

  • Comment number 13.

    At last, the true face of british politics .... Brown doing everything to save his legacy; Clegg sitting so high on the fence he cannot see the ground, and Cameron giving away his party's history just to be PM.

    Let's hope for another election soon - where I will create a political party that can lead the country, and not hold it to ransom.

  • Comment number 14.

    Do these people know what "in the national interest means"? I suspect they really can't tell the difference between "national interest" & their own narrow party interest, or am I being naive? Or maybe they're just insulting our intelligence!

  • Comment number 15.

    Labour and the Lib Dems would have over 60% of the vote so why not a Labour-Lib Dem coalition that reflects these voters?
    The Conservative party could have run the country with a little over 40% of the vote with no regard for the other 60% of voters.
    It is about time the BBC and all other media began reporting this election process without a clear editorial bias in favour of a Conservative controlled government.
    This is happening despite the fact that Labour and the Lib Dems (hence the British majority voted for them) are ideologically closer to each other. The Conservatives do not have a mandate to govern. They are also a minority party.

  • Comment number 16.

    Nick, if you're going to comment on politics then at least learn how the UK system works please.

    NONE of the Party leaders were elected to be Prime Minister. They were elected to serve as MPs for their constituency. The Parties choose their leader. The leader of party who has the majority of support in parliament is asked by the Queen to form a government.

    It's the same for all the parties.

    It's not complicated so please stop bleating on about unelected leaders.

  • Comment number 17.

    "is it right for a new Prime Minister to be chosen, not by voters, but by Labour party members?"

    Yes. That's how all Prime Ministers are chosen. I didn't vote for a party leader. No voter did. We voted for our constituency MP. Why don't you know this?

  • Comment number 18.

    This shows the Lib Dems in their true colours. They only have their own interests at heart, not have the country's. Clegg is no better than a snake charmer. How can the Tories trust the Lib Dems when they were wooing defeated Labour whilst, at the same time, negotiating with the Tories. The markets will show their disapproval tomorrow - financial meltdown here we come.

  • Comment number 19.

    The UK voters do not vote for a Prime Minister - they vote for their MP and party. The Prime Minister is not our President.
    Don't we vote for what the party stands for and states in their manifesto? Who the leader of the party is shouldn't really matter.

  • Comment number 20.

    John Reid has just spoken on SKY about how Labour need to accept the result, and stop being in denial about the result

    I was surprised at the honesty

    He said, we may not like the result, yet we have to accept it

    Well spoken

    Hague also very impressive

    To all the Labour fans, and Lib Dem peeps on here who said the Conservatives would never off a referendum on voting change, I say...........I told you they would

    Please at least one of you admit that you were mistaken

  • Comment number 21.

    So Gordon Brown offers to fall on his sword to keep the Tories out of majority government.

    Now tell me he's not a man of the people, gone up in my esteem considerably. I bet Tim Nice But Dim and the rest of the Tory pratt pack are a tad squeaky bottomed now.

  • Comment number 22.

    Are any of these politicians really acting in the nation's best interests or are they all sneaking about to gain advantage for their party and for their own personal causes? I have to say that I'm pretty disgusted at the lot of them.

  • Comment number 23.

    Labour and the LibDems together got a majority of the votes and they have far more in common than the LibDems and the Tories. The Tories only got as many seats as they did because their friends in the press told porkies about Nick Clegg and the LibDems. There is no way they would be a legitimate government.

  • Comment number 24.

    Everything everyone is moaning about about such as broken societies, working for nothing and so on has all become fact during the last 13 years of a Labour government. I am amazed everyone can only focus on Maggie Thatchers mistakes to be negative towards the tories and not focus on the mistakes i.e. immigration, false wars (many dead and still dying soldiers), unelected prime ministers, the flaws of the human rights act (which just made Blairs wife very rich as a human rights lawyer) of the the much more recent labour rule. And lets not forget the SNP and DUP have made it very, very clear all they are about and represent is their own countries (scotland and ireland) and as such will not give a flying fig about great britain (deliberate small g and b) or england and what is good for us as a whole.
    If the runner ups get in then democracy in this country is well and truely dead, fairest thing is a new election and then we can decide now we know what a mess the hung parliment will be with Liberals selling their backsides to the highest bidder.

  • Comment number 25.

    I am getting fed up of the Scottish MP's saying they have not voted for a Conservative Government and that they only hold one seat. If you look at the English votes we had a Conservative landslide, winning by over 100 seats! So why should England not have a Conservative Government? After all the English are the largest population!
    Both Scotland and Wales have their own houses yet the English have been ruled by a foriegn PM and Chancellor for the past 13 years. If we excluded the Scottish and Welsh votes then the Conservatives would have been in power before now. How many times have the Scottish and Welsh MP's voted in Westminster for one thing and then the opposite in their own houses. Tuition fees, presription charges, etc. And to cap it all more is spent per head on the Scots and Welsh than use poor English. It is about time the English voice was heard!

  • Comment number 26.

    If Nick Clegg believes that a coalition with labour will lead to a strong and stable Government I suggest he goes back to school and learns how to count.

  • Comment number 27.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 28.

    Is it right that the Labour party choose our new PM ,do you not get it we did not vote for a PM we voted for a party this isnt the US where we vote for a president.

  • Comment number 29.

    I just wonder if in a world of PR Labour, Conservative and LibDems will remain as identifiable parties. They are themselves coalitions of the Left, Right and Radicals. In particular I can see the Eurosceptic wing of the Conservatives joining UKIP. If that is the case no wonder Cameron does not want to flirt with PR. There will be a massive realignment and no one knows what will happen over the course of two or three post electoral reform elections.

  • Comment number 30.

    This feels like a cynical, last-ditch attempt by Labour to stay in power. The numbers of seats mean that it won't be stable and bringing in other parties will weaken, not strengthen it.

    Even more disgusting are the assertions from Alistair Campbell (and others) that we don't have presidential politics. It's their focus on spin, being on-message combined with Blair/Brown's contempt for parliament that create the perception of presidential leaders. To throw this back as a reason why a second, unelected Labour PM would be acceptable shows the contempt with which they regard the electorate.

    I voted Lib-Dem and would be disgusted if they went down this path. The latest Tory offer is more than reasonable and surely the electorate should decide on electoral reform. The Lib Dems are in danger of over-stretching their influence which they'll pay for when this farcical coalition with Labour falls. So much for Nick Clegg's new politics.

  • Comment number 31.

    Whatever Nick Clegg does it will be declared wrong by many.

    However, what is very clear, is that Clegg has shown he is as duplicitous any other politician.

    At least we will be at the ballot box again soon.

  • Comment number 32.

    Just heard John Reid - who knew he was so sane!
    Nothing like leaving politics I guess.
    Reid made solid, coherent point after point.
    I hope some of the politicians, especially the Labour ones, to pay him some heed.

  • Comment number 33.

    Unbelievable that Nick Clegg can be so two faced! After spending four weeks taking about the parties of the "old politics" he ignores the will of the voters and looks to create a coalition of losers that imposes both an unelected prime minister and an unfair voting reform without the consent of the electorate.

    Quite simply, he's a bigger liar than blair was!

  • Comment number 34.

    Nick, surely you should have added the rather salient point that *everybody* has lost this election, and that any coalition is by definition a coalition of losers.

  • Comment number 35.

    The simple fact is that most LibDem supporters would prefer a coalition with Labour to a coalition with the Tories.

  • Comment number 36.

    Coalition of the Progressives?
    Labour as "progressives"?
    The same party that has restricted civil liberties so severely?
    Forget the depreciation of the pound - look at was has happened to the language.

  • Comment number 37.

    Can any party govern on the basis of such dubious legitimacy? As reported on the Six o Clock news even some Labour cabinet ministers have their doubts about the ethics of 2nd and 3rd party rule.

  • Comment number 38.

    I am appalled by the thought that the lib dems may prop up the losing party and we will still have the labour party in power. THEY WILL NEVER GET MY VOTE AGAIN!! A coalition of losers who do not want to give up power!! This is not democracy and not in the national interests. The SNP and fringe parties will be looking out for their interests. The whole of England is blue!!!

  • Comment number 39.

    The Labour negotiating team says it all

    Mandleson(not an MP)
    Adonis (not an MP)
    Miliband E

    I really hope they are stupid enough to do a deal

  • Comment number 40.

    The LD's are about to commit electorial suicide.

    Still see GB in charge at the next election.

    the Rainbow alliance take us into the double dip of a recession and still fail to tackle the big issues.

    Another election 14/10/2010 with GB at the helm

  • Comment number 41.

    I hope this happens. Labour and the Lib Dems will be doomed. The country will take a long while to recover from the prospect of the parties who finished 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 7th and 9th running the country with the party who came first with 2,100,000 more votes having no say.

    Political Titanic currently at 45 degrees and about to go under.

    Goodbye Labour / Dems you are 5 degrees away from oblivion....

  • Comment number 42.

    With regard to the second point that you raise,
    The voting system in the UK is not to elect a "presidential" style candidate. We vote for policies and parties, not for individual party leaders.

  • Comment number 43.

    As a former dutchman I find it rather amusing how everyone responds to the idea of a coalition government. It works quite well in most cases in other countries. And since british politics hasn't really worked that well for decades with all the ping pong politics between two main parties, isn't it time to give it a try and do something radical? It might just be what the country needs :-)

  • Comment number 44.

    I am very disappointed in the continual assertion of Nick about someone being "not elected as PM". - Nobody is! We elect members of political parties, it is up to those parties to form a government and to elect their own leaders. Please stick to the correct constitutional position, not any "presidential" format.

  • Comment number 45.

    A Lib Lab alliance would still not provide a clear majority. This would in my opinion lead to an even greater period of political instability, with minority parties holding the nation to ransom.
    In all the indepth coverage I have not noticed a 'what if' scenario of what result PR would have given.
    The Green party got a seat with the current method.
    How many would this have given the BNP!

  • Comment number 46.

    I've Just heard John Reid on BBC News (TV) I couldnt agree more with him, I don't believe any of the electorate, irrespective of who they voted for last week, ever thought they would be voting for the ability of nationalist parties like the SNP or Plyd Cumry to severely bend the arm of our government to thier specific, non country interests !! It seems simply wrong and unfair that Labour who have just lost over 100 seats can even be considered to be a stable offering !!! It seems to me also that Labour will give up anything, values and principals and just about everything to stay in some sort of power, how is that in the countries interest ??????

  • Comment number 47.

    Nick - I thought for much of the today you were confusing the Westminster system with the Presidential system. In this country the PM is the person who can command a majority in the House of Commons. The country does not vote for the Prime Minister. Maybe not so much West Wing in future.

    I am also very disappointed that you seem to have missed the key story of this election. It has been clear from the start of the campaign that Mandy's strategy has been to position for a hung parliament. That is why there was the commitment to a electoral reform referendum in the manifesto. That is why Labour helped to stoke Cleggmania with the I agree with Nick lines. In so doing drawing the fire of the Tory press and blunting the appeal of Cameron as the youthful candiate of change.

    Did you really think the Conservatives would ever be able to offer the Lib Dems enough? Seems to me you are almost as naive as those poor old Cameroons - nice people just not very good at politics.

  • Comment number 48.

    Typical Robinson, state the obvious and ask a few questions and provide no anwsers.

    •is it legitimate for Gordon Brown and Labour to stay in office, having lost this election? - Until Cameron has the support of parliment (after all parliment elects the PM) YES!
    •is it right for a new Prime Minister to be chosen, not by voters, but by Labour party members? This is how all labour PMs has been chosen, unlike the tories who were anointed from on high by some blokes in the background! Voters chose MPs, MPs choose PM, it's not hard Nick, so try to keep up and learn about the British Parlimentary system.
    •And can such a coalition be strong and stable given that in parliamentary terms it has the equivalent number of MPs to Harold Wilson or John Major's governments, which were hardly strong or stable. - We don't know do we? Major managed to cling on for a while! And would a tory one be any more stable? If they go in with the lib dems we'll have rebels before the first vote! And it won't take many rebels on either side to unseat them! Having done the math you should know this.

    However the real question tonight is for Nick Clegg - Why don't you go and ask him? You are a journalist, it's your job, so why don't you do it and report back?

  • Comment number 49.

    What a load of nonsense about resigning! Well, the UK could be stuck with Gordon Brown as Prime Minister until the next General Election(5 more years of Gordon Brown)! He used the words 'if' and 'hopefully' and to me this casks a matter of doubt over his resignation.
    In my opinion, once he gets the 'Confidence of Commons' during the Queen's speech later this month, he could hold the Country to 'ransom'!
    The position as Prime Minister in return for:
    1.'The Economic Recovery' which can take years.
    2.'Election Reform' which can also take years.
    Gordon Brown offers an unstable government in a rainbow coalition government (somewhat a matter of a few seats), therefore one has to ask himself whether he taking the tactical position 'If I can't run the Country, then no one else will'.
    Lets say, Lib Dem will not get 'Election Reform' and the 'Economic recovery' will take forever.

  • Comment number 50.

    For me the key phrase in your blog is 'coalition of losers' It seems to me post-election that this is suddenly but curiously an old-world way of looking at things.

    A coalition is by definition going to consist of 'non-winners' So, it is equally true to call a Conservative-Liberal deal a 'coalition of losers'

    While that would be an inherently more stable one than a Lib-Lab deal, if the leading minority party cannot compromise to form a stable government then it falls to others to do so, does it not?

    Once you appreciate that the concept of a winning or losing party has now gone (perhaps for ever with voting reform) then you can start to imagine a world where the nationalists can put little Englander hearts at rest and work out, along with the Lib-Lab centre, a deal for the UK economy, perhaps even a 'fair' one?

  • Comment number 51.

    The losers?" ,sic, are the Tories.
    The winners are the 63% of the voters who do not want the Tories.

  • Comment number 52.

    Nick Robinson should stick to reporting, not trying to influence the electorate with his comments. This is a parliamentary deomocracy, we do not vote for a Prime Minister, they represent the party who received the vote. Who knows how many unelected grandees are involved behind the scenes on behalf of the tories?

  • Comment number 53.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.

  • Comment number 54.

    Brown's 'rainbow coalition' applies only to Scotland and possibly Wales and /or NI... and not England.

    English Parliament please

  • Comment number 55.

    The answer to all 3 of Nick's questions is no. Time for Labour to concede defeat instead of this pathetic attempt to cling to power at the expense of the party with the most number of seats. It would also destroy the Lib Dems-the voters would never forgive them for propping up a Labour government. Surely common sense has to prevail-either aminority Tory government or some sort of deal between Dave & Nick Clegg.

  • Comment number 56.

    I consider this a sad day for British politics. A leader who actually did surprisingly well electorally given the disastrous state of the economy he'd presided over has been driven out not by his party but by the imagined ire of an electorate of whom only 36% voted for his only serious challenger. If Brown was so electorally toxic the premiership would be Cameron's without having to seek deals with a party whose grassroots largely hate everything he stands for.

    For all his failures to reverse the economic vulnerabilities accumulated over the past three decades, history will pass a far kinder verdict on Brown than some of the hysterical vitriol posted by his less rational critics. He'll leave Labour if not in government - an almost incredible thought mere days ago - at least well-placed to come back from Opposition after a spell of Tory cuts backed by the only other major national party claiming centre-left credentials. Frankly, after a disastrous premiership and an almost disastrous campaign he did astonishingly well to even be in contention, if only for days. Good luck to him.

  • Comment number 57.

    I am disgusted about the recent events. i did not vote for a hung parliment I voted for someone to win. I therefore didn't want a 'rainbow government.' Once again we have a bunch of politicians grappling to have power. This country is a sham. I will never vote lib,lab again.

  • Comment number 58.

    The coalition of losers is also just a silly phrase that does nothing to help explain to your readers what is going on. Perhaps a few to many dinners with the Conservative boys over the last few nights? I guess you thought they were going to be important.

    The fact is that all coalition governments are made up of parties that by themselves do not have enough seats to form a government on their own. Does that mean every coalition government in the world should be labelled a coalition of losers.

    I challenge you to write a blog explaining how the use of the phrase can be justified.

  • Comment number 59.

    This solution still raises a number of problems, however, which the Conservatives and critics in the media are sure to raise:

    * is it legitimate for Gordon Brown and Labour to stay in office, having lost this election?
    * is it right for a new Prime Minister to be chosen, not by voters, but by Labour party members?

    This is a Red Herring that the Tories along with their Allies in the media are perpetuationg. Electorates do NOT vote for Prime Ministers. They vote for Members of Parliament who then decide who the Prime Minister will be. There is nothing constitutionally or democratically wrong with having Prime Ministers who were not voted into government while they were leaders of their particular parties. They must only have been elected as MPs. If this were not the case, there ought to have been a huge rumpuss about John Major becoming Prime minister the first time around, and assuming he had lost the election in 92, no-one would ever have questioned the legitimacy around his Premiership - certainbly not the Tories who are creating the most fuss at the moment.

    * And can such a coalition be strong and stable given that in parliamentary terms it has the equivalent number of MPs to Harold Wilson or John Major's governments, which were hardly strong or stable.

    It will be stronger than a minority Tory government so therefore it is not the weakest option available. Besides, strength can come from numbers, but only if those numbers form some sort of compatible grouping. Strength also comes from belief and conviction, which in this case a Lib-Lab coalition (Progressive Alliance) can easily claim to be the stronger.

    The Tories and the Media are resorting to dissimulating the truth of things in their attempt to grasp onto the remains of their defunct political superstructure that has held them in power for too long.

  • Comment number 60.

    Apropos of's exactly 70 years to the day that Neville Chamberlain resigned too!

  • Comment number 61.

    After the aftermath of the MPs expenses surprise surprise! talk about a double whammy. Why do we as a nation keep on accepting this. The election was won on votes.

    Funny how things are looking now. We must enforce another General Election and show them how we feel and not vote.

  • Comment number 62.

    It will be seen at the next General Election, whenever that might be, that Mr Clegg succeeded in supporting a Labour government which was unpopular in 2010 and continued to be. It is difficult to see from his 57 MPs who would be good enough to hold a Cabinet position when compared to established holders such as Alan Johnson and Alastair Darling who, discounting their politics, cannot be regarded as lightweight. While that argument could be applied in a Tory-LibDem pact, there are few of the Tory party with 13 years Cabinet experience and thus there would be a more level balance. A Tory-LibDem pact might seem harder to work in, but it could gain future LibDem votes at the expense of Labour.

  • Comment number 63.

    #7 but we had the TV debate , which more and more made it presidential so your point no longer holds any weight

  • Comment number 64.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.

  • Comment number 65.

    I feel deceived. Its a disgrace that lab/lib were all for cleaning up politics, yet they are doing deals behind the tories backs. I never thought I would see UK politics go this low. Labour are so desperate to cling to power its a joke.
    I hope it happens so that Lab/Lib get hammered in the General Election to follow in 12 mths. The people won't forget this episode in a hurry!!!

  • Comment number 66.

    The LD would be crazy to try to have a "rainbow" coalition; it could fall at the Queen's Speech and deserves to;they would be joining a group without knowing or being able to influence who the PM was; the country would have another PM foisted on us , not elected - GB said he was standing for 5 years, OK if he had died, but to leave under pressure from his party for their survival trying to hang on to power. Our voting system should not be changed without a referendum - The Lib Dems will need to remove the D from their name!

  • Comment number 67.

    The country has voted and polled to remove the Labour Government and Gordon Brown from power. We have in Gordon Brown a Prime Minister that none of the British public voted for. It is not right that we could end up with a Lib-Lab government with yet another PM that we have not voted for.

    The Conservatives won the most votes and are only 20 seats short of an overall majority and should be allowed to form a government with or without the Liberal Democrats!

  • Comment number 68.

    I am absolutely furious that a man who won such a small number of seats in the general election is completely subverting the democratic process and effectively, on his own, picking the next prime minister.

  • Comment number 69.

    12 Because it is the UK we all live in, not England.
    Queen Victoria is dead, geddit?

  • Comment number 70.

    Listen to what Lord Reed has just said, now that he can talk freely, what a sensible man. The electorate did not vote on PR, the important thing is the economic crisis. Don't the labour party have an ounce of decency and humility left? A coalition of losers is not stable and the electorate won't let this mistake happen a second time. Concentrate on the big issues or get out of the way and let someone with true leadership get on with it.

  • Comment number 71.

    Nick - An attempt to make sense of your questions.
    Legitimacy - was it legitimate for, Churchill, Alec Home,
    Callaghan or Major to become prime minister. If so what is the problem?
    All parties are surely allowed to choose their leaders. We do not elect P M's in this country. I thought you would have known that.
    Stable government? There is a large anti Tory majority in the new House of Commons.
    Have a word with Sir Richard Wilson if you are confused.

  • Comment number 72.

    21. At 8:19pm on 10 May 2010, NorthSeaHalibut wrote:
    So Gordon Brown offers to fall on his sword to keep the Tories out of majority government.

    Now tell me he's not a man of the people, gone up in my esteem considerably. I bet Tim Nice But Dim and the rest of the Tory pratt pack are a tad squeaky bottomed now.


    I want a Lib dem Labour deal, as it will ensure a big Conservative majority next time under any voting system

    Frankly, I am not even sure it would get past the Queen's speech

  • Comment number 73.

    1. No party has won the election; if Labour were to go into coalition with LibDEms, SNP etc, it would be a coalition of parties whiich have c.60% of the vote all told... i.e. it is NOT Labour continuing in power... 2. We do not vote for a president; we vote for the party with whose policies we agree; any number of times over the years leadership of the ruling party has changed and the new leader has become PM; why has ex-chairman of the Young Tories NIck Robinson not complained in the past when such a situation occurred with Tory leaders? Given everyone and his dog, led by Robinson, has called for Brown's head because he didn't win a majority, he can hardly complain if Brown now resigns and allows the opportunity for a coalition to be formed under a new leadership.

  • Comment number 74.

    Just seen Lord Reid on BBC - it's as if the poisonous Blairites are seeking to sabotage the Labour Party, and the countries future, from beyond their electoral grave. We all knew the level of poisonous spite they felt for Mr Brown, but now they are willing to pour their scorn all over the media in an attempt damage one man - and to hell with the consequences. Mr Brown was tragically undermined by Mr Blair, who being drunk on the power of his position, found himself incapable of letting go the levers of power when he should. Mr Blair's, whose last big idea was to introduce super casinos, left Mr Brown with a coven of acolytes whose sole purpoose was to undermine him.

    Now Mr Brown will fall on his sword for the benefit of the whole country, even though he has done the most to mitigate the international banking catastrophe, and all the Blairites can do is crawl out from their holes and continue to spread their malice. With friends like that, who needs enemies.

  • Comment number 75.

    #35 quite simple to prove call an election with GB at the helm, with LD support, that would be interesting

  • Comment number 76.

    . At 8:13pm on 10 May 2010, Gregg wrote:
    "Is it right for a new Prime Minister to be chosen, not by voters, but by Labour party members?"


    There's nowt wrong with that. What is wrong however, is if the new leader doesn't then call an election to give him/her a new mandate to govern.

    Be interesting to see how many votes a new party - The LibLabs - could attract.

  • Comment number 77.

    I think what Nick Clegg is doing is shocking, the man is basically pimping himself out to the party who will take on board his policies, does he need reminding that he was nowhere in the election.

    The whole expenses scandal was bad enough but this is an absolute joke.

    What's the point in voting

  • Comment number 78.

    Don't you think it is time for the pensioner like Reid, Darling, Johnson to step aside and let a dynamite young labour MP bring the party into 21st century.
    If the members had a vote iam sure David Millaband would be the next leader.

  • Comment number 79.

    There is another option that does not seem to have been mentioned. Imagine a coalition or agreement between Conservatives and Labour.

    It would seem to be most unlikely but is still technically a possibility as Brown stated that he would talk to the heads of any party. It would freeze out the LibDems and allow the present election system to continue if that is important to them.

  • Comment number 80.

    If all these labour supporters are so keen to tell people how stupid they are for not knowing that we don't vote for a leader, why are labour in such a rush to get rid of Gordon Brown...surely it doesn't matter?

  • Comment number 81.

    Why do you persist in describing Brown as an 'unelected' PM? PMs are appointed, not elected. Lloyd George, Churchill, Douglas Home, Callaghan, Major, Brown - all became PM without an election. And Cameron, as the leader of a party with a minority of seats, would be no more legitimate.

  • Comment number 82.

    Me thinks that Mandelson is behind this !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 83.

    BraveMartin47 @ 27

    Slagging off Nick may make you feel better, but do you have anything intelligent to add to the blog?

  • Comment number 84.

    25 Get yourselves your own English parliament,but this was a UK election not an English one.
    What next ,the Rutland Independence party?
    And the Libdems and Labour have an English mandate by share of the popular vote if not in actual seats.
    Scotland had 18 years of Tory rule, so far England has only had 13 years of Labour....another five to go?
    Let us pray for the sake of the Economy, for the sake of anyone in need, for the sake of anyone who is working, for the sake of everyone who has a mortgage....that the Progressives stay in power for a full term.

  • Comment number 85.

    Nick asks (again), 'is it right for a new Prime Minister to be chosen, not by voters, but by Labour party members?'

    When was it ever different ?
    The following PMs (in my lifetime) were 'un-elected'.

    Gordon Brown, John Major, James Callaghan, Sir Alec Douglas-Home, Harold Macmillan, Sir Anthony Eden.

    Why do Nick, Laura Kunnsberg and various other BBC and SKY commentators continue to mis-inform the public by repeating this misinformation ?

  • Comment number 86.

    I heard Dr John Reid, ex labour home secretary,making an impassioned plea for somebody from the current cabinet to stand up and be counted as one of the really honest Labour politicians, by refusing to carry on with this Gordon Brown- Mandellson charade as soon as possible. Otherwise, In his view, they were guaranteeing the mutual destruction of both Lab and Lib-Dem at the next general election, which was inevitable and very soon, because the electorate does not forget such a snub easily.
    What a change to hear an honest politician with a concience and the best interests of the country at heart.

  • Comment number 87.

    The mathmatics of this election make for some very bizarre outcomes it you move away from the obvious.

    If the Lib Dems look like switching to a Labour coalition, following their promised move to introduce AV, the Tories need to do some creative thinking of their own. How about a Tory, PC, SNP coalition underpinned by a Tory commitment for Scottish and Welsh devolution during the life time of the parliament.

    It also has the advantage of permanently removing the Celtic labour safe seats thus ensuring a Tory government in England for a generation.

    It could never happen - Could it?

  • Comment number 88.

    I think this is truly fantastic - that the country can run an election, have a clear majority vote and potentially end up with a motley crew of all the losing parties. We've had to enjoy the jeers from other countries in Europe about the fact that we inherited our last Prime Minister and yet again it looks as though, in a country which is supposedly democratic, we will end up with a team of politicians leading the country that weren't chosen. Perhaps I have misunderstood all of this but quite frankly I think we are starting to look like a complete joke!

  • Comment number 89.

    All of the comments seem to be based on the assumption that the leader of the Labour Party would be PM in the event of a Lib\Lab coalition. Is anyone aware of any constitutional barrier to Nick Clegg being PM at the head of the coalition?

  • Comment number 90.

    I'm really sorry, but I just don't get this 52% against the Conservatives.

    The fact of the matter is, 29% voted for Labour and 23% voted for LibDems.

    As convenient as it might be to lump those figures together to aid a flawed argument, it is nothing short of nonsense and irrelevant.

  • Comment number 91.

    Allow me to help, Nick, by answering your 3 questions:

    1. Yes, as the 'first past the post' system failed to produce a clear winner, it is their duty to maintain government.
    2. Yes, this is a parliamentary democracy - we do not elect a President because we have a constitutional monarchy. The Queen is our Head of State.
    3. Perhaps: time will tell, for history cannot predict the future.

    I have a question for you, Nick: do you think you are earning your huge salary by asking these questions? Frankly, I don't - I would expect more of a 14 year old at the start of a politics GCSE course. You should be more than a little embarrassed with yourself.

  • Comment number 92.

    This seems simple to me, correct me if I am wrong:

    Lots of people are saying that the democrats and labour policys fit better than the democrats and the Conservatives, however well these policies fit together, they are not the policies that the British electorate have voted for. The Conservatives received almost 2 million more votes than Labour and thus we have obviously agreed with Tory policy.

    It seems preposterous that labour should form a government.

  • Comment number 93.

    Nick you know full well that we don't have a presidential system in this country. People vote on party lines for a local MP. It is up to Parliament and its inhabiting MPs to decide who governs the country as Prime Minister. There is nothing illegitimate about this situation whatsoever.

  • Comment number 94.

    So the sordid truth behind Labour and the LibDems is revealed in the 'national interest'....

    I see the LibDems are meeting again tonight 22:00 - let's hope they see sense.

    And good on Adam Boulton on Sky for putting Alistair Cambell in his place. The simmering anger shown by Boulton I think is reflective of a very silent majority that may not stay silent too much longer with the current status quo.

    We await the 10:00 LibDem meeting with interest to see if they finally go with the Conservative government in waiting.

    The LibDems can't be that collectively stupid to reject it now, surely?

  • Comment number 95.

    29. At 8:24pm on 10 May 2010, Boilerbill wrote:
    I just wonder if in a world of PR Labour, Conservative and LibDems will remain as identifiable parties. They are themselves coalitions of the Left, Right and Radicals.


    I love that word 'radical'

    Franklin D Roosevelt once described a radical as 'Someone with both feet firmly planted in the air'

    Sums up Nick Clegg to a T methinks.

  • Comment number 96.

    1) Why do you keep banging on about an unelected PM - we do not have a presidential system. I voted for my local MP. The net cumulative effect might be that this leads to one person being in overall charge, but if we want a presidential system then lets campaign for that. Personally I don't want it. So that point in itself is meaningless.
    2) Cameron was also a loser - just the most successful loser. More people voted for Lab & Lib combined together than for Tories, so it is not a coalition of the losers. A Con-Lib coalition would also be a coalition of losers in that respect.
    3) This is an incredibly positive move for a proper democracy in this country. If the political commentators keep moaning about its legitimacy then we could end up with another election before a referendum occurs and a dreadful scenario of a conservative government. Let's hope the countries sake that does not occur.
    4) Many many people said they wanted Labour but not GB - he has done the honourable thing so that the country can have an alternative. A bit of praise for the man who has kept this country in a very healthy economic state for many years, would seem more appropriate.

  • Comment number 97.

    Genius or madness? Between just two BBC bulletins NC manages boots GB out and gets AV referendum from DC. i though it was political suicide for NC to make a pass at GB but it seems DC really REALLY wants NC more. this could end the Lib Dems forever OR could re-shape british political architecture for ever. Seems DC and GB both agree with Nick (no, not you, NR)

  • Comment number 98.

    I have now made up my mind.....if John Reid is against a Progressive Alliance I am all for it ........ even Celtic went to the dogs with his support.

  • Comment number 99.

    bring on a new election.

  • Comment number 100.

    Let's get the definition of a "coalition of losers" right.
    A coalition involving the Conservatives is not a coalition of losers because the conservatives won the election. i.e. They came first. They got more votes than any other party.
    Any coalition not involving the largest party is a coalition of losers as it does not include "the winner".


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