Brown's audacious bid raises questions
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"?