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What did they mean by that?

Nick Robinson | 16:50 UK time, Monday, 10 May 2010

We are reduced tonight to textual analysis of the Liberal Democrats' position.

Seeking clarification from the Tories while listening to representations from Labour is how . they characterise where they've got to

However, the reference repeatedly made by chief negotiator David Laws which I noted was to the need for "strong" and "stable" government. There is only one Parliamentary solution that has the numbers to be both strong and stable - the Lib Dems combined with the Conservatives. The so-called progressive alliance or rainbow coalition simply does not have the numbers to be strong and has too many potentially warring parties to be stable.

So, Team Clegg still seems headed for a deal with the Tories.

However, it is equally clear that many Lib Dems loathe the idea and want Labour's offer to be looked at seriously. The danger for the party is that it appears to be playing one side off against the other, pursuing its own interests and not the country's.

These negotiations and what follows will settle the public's views of the merits of partnership politics and the prospects of a vote for a change in the voting system much more than what happens between parties behind closed doors.


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  • Comment number 1.

    LibDems can expect a huge backlash if they team up with Labour. Calls for a new election will be heard all over the country.

  • Comment number 2.

    SO Cleggee thinks that he is the Man with No Name, playing both ends against the middle , to gain the spoils,

    Clegge is no Clint Eastwood that for sure , although ZaNu_liebour remind me of some of the "Cowboys" in the Dollar films , miming to Meddslon's spin.

    So what of Graham Spiller's (lab) no to a PR deal with Cleegee no analysis there then ?

  • Comment number 3.

    Just heard the Premier League title will be shared by Manchester United and Arsenal....

    The Conservatives won - End of Story.

  • Comment number 4.

    The Lib Dems wouldn't be able to pursue this tactic if Brown had already thrown in the towel, as some members of the Labour party have short-sightedly suggested.

    If Cameron feels he has to move on electoral reform for fear that the Lib Dems may strike an alternative pact with Labour, then Brown may end up indirectly having made a big contribution to reforming the political landscape of the nation during his last days in power.

  • Comment number 5.

    The astonishing statements coming out today from politicians is outstanding and gets further and further away from the simple fact they keep loosing sight of that they are elected to represent the people. The liberal party seems to be showing how little sincerity they have for reducing the deficit by asking for further answers on Tax reductions and More money for education.

    Now GB has offered his resignation to try and scupper a liberal / conservative deal. even so even if there could be a coalition deal with the liberals and labour it would be very shaky and it would still be propping up a loosing party and the liberals would still be keeping GB prime minister until a alternative that the British people did not vote for again. And then it would require more than a Liberal/Labour pact to get a stable majority, to anyone with an ounce of common sense the majority level a lib/lab coalition would have, would always be shaky on each and every vote.

  • Comment number 6.

    It looks as though 'Team Clegg' may disagree with Mr Robinson's analysis?

  • Comment number 7.

    Gordon Brown hanging on until as late as September??? Give me strength.

  • Comment number 8.

    Gordon Brown has just announced what in effect is his resignation ... to take effect later this year.

    The answer to the PR questions and electoral stalemate is fairly simple - Brown is disingenuous to say that there is a 'progressive majority in Britain'. The 'progressive majority' only exists outside of England.

    The solution to the current impasse is clear - referendums in NI, Wales and Scotland and if they want full PR ... give it to them.. and also...
    a referendum in England with two main questions:

    1) Should England have its own full executory Parliament?
    2) Should England have PR - full, part or and AV variety?

    Based on the current electoral map of Britian - this is the only permutation that can work fairly and effectively for the majority English taxpayer.

    Simples ... let us now have a new Conservative or 'coalition' government and get on with it...

  • Comment number 9.

    Keep typing furiously Nick! Gordon Brown has stolen the limelight!

    As per my previous posts:

    1. GB wants to remain at no 10 at any price
    2. He's been manouvering in the background for this counter attack
    3. Rainbow coalition on the way
    4. Labour remains in government

    I feel so sorry for David Cameron and the Conservatives-outflanked by the slimeball brigade.

    If Nick Clegg goes with this then he looks like a total idiot for not being able to control his party. Both he and Labour will be seen as party political rather than caring about the country's dire straits. This announcement by Gordon has just blown Nick Clegg's credibility out of the water.

    Power at any cost.

    David Cameron can sit back now, give no further ground, take the offer completely off the table and wait for his time to strike back, get a new general election and landslide victory.

    He has been a proper statesman who shows he really cares about our United Kingdom.

    Hold on to your hats folks. The fastest descent into the mire is on its way.

    Going shopping tomorrow to stockpile food and draw my money in cash. Going to invest in gold and non Euro/USD currencies.

  • Comment number 10.

    Fantastic, Brown is going at last. And now the Labour party can have a stitch up with the Lib-Phlegms, so we will have had Gordon Brown unelected PM twice, followed by yet another unelected Labour PM! Remind you of anywhere?

  • Comment number 11.

    How can Salmond's "Rainbow Coalition" produce a strong and stable government when the SNP elect not to vote on matters that do not effect Scotland? Or by this desperate grab for real power are we to assume that this will no longer be the case?

    I fear any attempt to impose such a coalition will not go down well with a large proportion of the English electorate who may justifiably feel their wishes are being ignored.

    What price a sensible answer to the West Lothian question and an English assembly as a means to bring fairness back to British politics?

  • Comment number 12.

    A slightly more on topic point - classic poker playing by Clegg and the Lib Dems.

    They've raised the stakes, now it's time for the Conservatives call their bluff and come back with better sounding proposals in the areas the Lib Dems seek "clarification" or call their bluff and allow them to thrash out a deal with Labour and whoever else may be required to form a working majority.

    They alternative is a Conservative re-raise and an attempt to stake a claim for minority government.

    Nervous times ahead for everyone it seems.

  • Comment number 13.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.

  • Comment number 14.

    Do the Lib-dems see the irony of currently exercising more power than they have done in living memory with the smallest share of the vote amongst the mainstream parties? Are they sure they want PR?

    Each party is talking up the necessity to act for the common good, but there is every danger that prolonged political wrangling will be seen as self-serving. I hope none of them forget they are likley to be asking for our votes again before too long.

  • Comment number 15.

    So we hear that Lord Mandelson and Lord Adonis are two of the team trying to convince Team Clegg of the merits of their form of democracy. Two unelected ministers with no democratic base are presuming to effect the democratic outcome of the election. No wonder they wanted to keep it secret!

  • Comment number 16.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.

  • Comment number 17.

    If the Liberal Democrats are prepared to prop up this New Labour govenrment after their appalling record spanning 13 years have they learnt nothing?

    It will be the end of the LibDems as a credible political force and will go down a long way in my and millions of peoples' estimation.

    They have argued for change and there will be very little change should they get into bed with New Labour and a travesty not only for LibDem supporters but also this nation.

    Any coalition is a recipe for disaster and no doubt we will being having another General Election within months.

  • Comment number 18.

    This smacks of a coup d'etat of a Conservative Government not in power yet. Well behind this coup is Labour Lords still clinging to power along with an ex-press secretary and Labour would be prime ministers that did not have the sphericals to take Brown on before the election.

    You have Clegg putting personal politics before national politics, all this will lead to a resistance movement that will cast the Lib dems into the wilderness for ever, PR or no PR as you have to have the trust of voters something the Tories failed to do in majority this time but Clegg/Mandelson/Adonis/ Cambell will ensure nobody trusts the Lib Dems again.

  • Comment number 19.

    Still reading the majority of comments posted here, so are most. The Tories did not win because they did not get past the winning post. Libs and Labs can form a coalition. There is nothing illegitimate about this as NR keeps on repeating. Is NR reflecting public opinion or trying to shape it?

  • Comment number 20.

    This is nothing to do with stable government and all about power. Labour has failed - pure and simple - yet cling to it for all they are worth. As Diane Abbot said ''failure must have consequences''

  • Comment number 21.

    A dog flap for the pet poodle will ruin the front door.
    Tories won....... end of story.

  • Comment number 22.

    In the National Interest? Surely he means SELF INTEREST - what a farce!

  • Comment number 23.

    #9 perhaps this is part of the DC master plan, to sink the LibDems on the lance of the labour party.

    Next election 14/10/2010 just after labour elect a new leader, there would be riots if an election was not called straight aways.

    DC to do a deal with the UKIP for referendum on EUROPE so they stand
    aside, no more tactica voting with tory landslide and LD's sunk and labour split asunder.

    Change the oil, filters and plugs in the qautro DC, needs to be fit and ready for october

  • Comment number 24.

    "The so-called progressive alliance or rainbow coalition simply does not have the numbers to be strong and has too many potentially warring parties to be stable."
    Nor does Cameron-Clegg have the ideological cohesion to be strong or stable, despite the numbers. If we're to imagine possible SNP rebellions (a centre-left alliance can survive even without Plaid, so let's not even worry about them), shouldn't we also be considering just how far Tory instincts can be reconciled with LibDem commitments on "social justice"? That's assuming LibDem grandees can stomach what little's likely to be on offer in the way of electoral - oops, "political" - reform.

  • Comment number 25.

    They appear to have badly overplayed their hand and engaged in some rather silly meetings which give all the appearance of duplicitous behaviour.
    If they wanted to meet Labour they should have been upfront with Cameron, it would be natural and a valid negotiation strategy.

    Stupid stupid stupid - I trust whichever braindead advisor thought it was a good idea will shortly be joining the ranks of the unemployed, only shortly before his employers will. Has it not crossed any LibDems minds that they cannot afford to fight another election let alone have one without being wiped off the map.

    I cannot express how disappointed I am with this turn of events.

  • Comment number 26.

    For all the rhetoric about the interests of the voters, commentary is completely absent about the voters for the Party who are in 4th position, behind the Lib-Dems, namely UKIP. Our family voted to show that we Want-to-Be-Taken-Out-of-Europe. The UKIP vote represents 1 million voters. The Tories might very well have won enough seats but for the UKIP vote by people who put integrity and conviction before strategic voting. There is so much talk about a New Style of Government ~ come on, let's have one. A poll since the election showed that the British population is interested in Proportional Representation by 62% and interested in being consulted about membership of Europe!

  • Comment number 27.

    #12 think you have that wrong, DC is finsessing the LD in fine bridge style, like a true English man, Poker is for the yanks.

    Rules and style for bridge much more complex, well done DC.
    LD and Lab to burn at the next election

  • Comment number 28.

    This reeks of the Lib Dems playing politics rather than doing things in the national interest.

    - Mathematics dictates that any deal with Labour will be based on empty promises.
    - Fair play shows that the Conservatives won (bar the shouting).
    - Common sense screams that the country does not want Gordon Brown and doesn't want Labour either.

    It would be a very attractive proposition to see the Conservatives and Lib Dems working constructively together to form a workable "Strong and stable" government.

  • Comment number 29.

    The fact is that the English voted overwhelmingly for a Conservative governemnt and are prevented form having one by MPs from the other three countries of our supposedly United Kingdom who all have their own parliaments. It is a disgrace.

  • Comment number 30.

    I love the Tory bloggers. They are close, they feel right is on their side, but yet the majority of the country did not push them over the line. 13 years of Opposition. The worst global economic climate for a generation, a war on two fronts and they still can't win outright. You can see why they are frustrated. Calling Brown a 'slimeball,' is shameful and does the poster no credit. The man has resigned to move things on. The post from Nick doesn't add up either. It is almost as though he doesn't want it to happen. The bare fact, despite Cameron's smoothing, there is no mainstream party in the UK that has anything in common with the Torries. Now what does that tell us...

  • Comment number 31.

    I do despair about people like dukeofearl.

    What part of "no party has got a majority in the House of Commons" do you not understand?

    There are 650 MPs, so 326 needed for a majority. Do the Tories have 326, are they almost there, can they get there with a few votes from smaller parties?

    Answer to all 3 questions: No. The Conservative did not "win - end of story" and they got 36 per cent of the popular vote, not 51 per cent!

    And for Kneeslider 1, do you know what Neville Chamberlain, Harold MacMillan and Sir Alec Douglas-Home have in common? They were all "unelected" Conservative Prime Ministers who carried on in office before facing a general election - except for Chamberlain, who went before he could face one. Were the Tories and Conservative press howling about that?

  • Comment number 32.

    Taxi for Brown!

  • Comment number 33.


    He is reflecting it.......

  • Comment number 34.

    You have not said one positive remark when debating Gorden Brown's stand down. A typical tory. all rhetoric no substance. Who on earth chose you as the BBC's political editor. What did Ali campbell say.... backward looking , no vision, no intellect, bout sums you up also!!!!!

  • Comment number 35.

    oooh Nick, I am getting mightily sick of all this talk about PR - why is it getting so much priority when we have a massive deficit that is going to take a generation to resolve?? I have no doubt that PR is important in the longer term, but I do not wish my country to be run by the parties that came second and third in the election just because their agenda is to push PR through whilst they have 'the opportunity'. More talk from these party leaders on the debt situation and how they are propose to maintain our credit rating would be much appreciated - perhaps you could pass that on to them!!

  • Comment number 36.

    I feel excited, this a very decent gesture by Gordon Brown. It could mark the beginning of something rather special for the UK if politicians from the progressive parties can put their country first. Look, little Davy Macaroon and the regressive conservatives are simply not up to the task so please (LDP & LP politicians) put your egos aside and try to do something great for our country - we really need it.

  • Comment number 37.

    11. At 5:23pm on 10 May 2010, Michael wrote:
    How can Salmond's "Rainbow Coalition" produce a strong and stable government when the SNP elect not to vote on matters that do not effect Scotland? Or by this desperate grab for real power are we to assume that this will no longer be the case?


    Every man has his price!

    The problem is that the UK economy can't afford Salmond. Not that affordability has ever bothered Labour.

  • Comment number 38.

    re #7,8,12
    Yep, socks back to half mast. Not for Brown but through a quick shiver on behalf of the country. But don't panic too much, there will be a 'caretaker' PM, who might take no part in but instead oversee the leadership contest. Hilary Benn? Harriet Harman would be good as it would then rule her out. But I suspect there will be pressure on her to stand. Here comes another shiver.

    Tories have nothing to lose now by playing hardball. Especially if they heard the Labour people in R4's PM: all of them in total denial. About the election. About the economy. Even about the Party.

    I do hope the Tories have offered a fully elected Lords as part of the coalition deal.

  • Comment number 39.

    Hmmm!! So Clegg's the 'Big Changes' this Country needs are, in fact, more of the same.

    Why am I not surprised?

  • Comment number 40.

    Having watched the BBC for most of the election for what I have always believed to be an impartial account of events, I have been increasingly irritated by Nick Robinson's inability to hide his Tory loyalties. His body language on this evening's news over the announcement of Gordon Brown's resignation and talks between Labour and Lib Dems was laughably his worst attempt to hide his feelings. As a licence payer I expect a better standard of journalism.

  • Comment number 41.

    What happened to democracy and the will of the people. During the election we were all made to feel that our votes counted and in particular because of the political debates and the inclusion of the electorate. We know have no say in who will form a government and what policies are being traded between politician's who just want power and not what is in the best interest of the country. Why should we have the party that had least votes of the three main parties have the final say over who governs the country. Why should 23% of the electorate who voted now have the power to determine policy in parliament. We should now have a second election, as it is clear that the country has been deceived.

  • Comment number 42.

    Bye Bye Lib Democrats - Hello Lab Democrats! Surely not!

  • Comment number 43.

    Nick Clegg has sadly already gone down enormously in my estimation. Can no politician ever put the country's interest before their own? Do they not realize what the country will think of them if they land us with several more months/years of a Labour government which will promise ANYTHING to stay in power - not for our benefit, but for theirs? Have we not just voted them out?!

  • Comment number 44.

    Writing from a professional negotiator's point of view, it is right that Nick Clegg makes sure he knows what is offered from both the Tories and Labour before finalising a decision. His team has to maximise the position by using this information responsibility. Strong government will come if the Liberal Democrats know that they have put together the best deal without regret(or ignorance of what might have been available). They have to cover all the bases.They are doing this in a good professional and orderly way. Pity the Press do not understand the processes properly.
    The Prisoner's Dilemma (or the Leberal's Dilemma) is one of the most common negotiator's face. They have to take advantage of what they can control and offer. PR is not under their control - stable Government and Power is.
    Negotiating is the Art of the Possible.

  • Comment number 45.

    Labour have played their trump card. Brown has been tossed into the discard tray.
    All bets now off on Tory - LibDem coalition.
    Time to imagine Lord Mandelson as Prime minister.

  • Comment number 46.

    Clegg has now lost any credibility he had by sidling up to Labour to see if he can get a better deal from them than he can from the Tories. Its got nothing to do with our country's best interests - it is all about self interest - both on a personal level and party political level. Unless the Tories take a lead and do something decisive to help the Lib Dems realise they are about to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, we will end up with the despicable outcome of the scraggy tail wagging the flea ridden dog.

  • Comment number 47.

    30. At 6:06pm on 10 May 2010, thechildrensreporter wrote:
    I love the Tory bloggers. They are close, they feel right is on their side, but yet the majority of the country did not push them over the line. 13 years of Opposition. The worst global economic climate for a generation, a war on two fronts and they still can't win outright. You can see why they are frustrated. Calling Brown a 'slimeball,' is shameful and does the poster no credit. The man has resigned to move things on. The post from Nick doesn't add up either. It is almost as though he doesn't want it to happen. The bare fact, despite Cameron's smoothing, there is no mainstream party in the UK that has anything in common with the Torries. Now what does that tell us...

    That you should stick to children

  • Comment number 48.

    Tomorrow's Guardian may mention a National Government

  • Comment number 49.

    It's pretty obvious the deal with Labour has already be done.

    There is no way Brown would step down unless it had been signed, sealed and delivered.

  • Comment number 50.

    #30 what do you expect when GB has "brought" a fair slice of the electrate out of taxpayers monies.

    This is not called the wallet election for nothing.

    1) brown picked their wallets they voted tory
    2) borwn stuffed their wallets they voted anti-tory.

    its that simple , but it cannot go on.

    between 2002-2007 he borrowed £167B over and above the income, at the hight of a boom, where did that money go then well it was not on pro-buisness opportunities, it was "creating" kingdoms reliant of GB patronage.

    This is the crux of the problem, turkeys did not want to vote for christmas, but in doing so will bring down the WHOLE UK.

  • Comment number 51.

    The people want a strong government to deal with recession. A tory-LD coalition would likely be the best choice for this. If a tory-LD coalition cannot be formed, this will not be the fault of the LDs, who want a strong government, and are perfectly aware that they will be damaged if they are part of an ineffective one.

    The fault will be entirely with the tory hard-liners who are 100% against any kind of coalition, and any kind of referendum on PR. They are certainly not acting responsibly, or for the good of the country. If they continue to block the formation of a strong government they will alienate the majority of their voters.

  • Comment number 52.

    As someone who voted Liberal, I completely agree with jimair in post 29. It would be outrageous for a Lib-Lab coalition to be at the mercy of the nationalist parties against the will of the English voters - particularly on devolved issues such as education.

    The Conservatives have to decide. Do they want a minority government where their more devisive policies such as tax relief for millionaires are voted down?... or do they accept that first past the post is grossly unfair and we need something better?

    For me this is unlikely to be full PR. The local link between an MP and his or her constituents and the thought that parties such at the BNP getting seats is abhorent.

    The Conservatives shouldn't be afraid of something like a single transferrable vote though. If their views and policies are really unacceptable to more than 50% of voters in a particular constituency then should they really have the right to the MP?

    Time for the Conservatives and Liberals to compromise and sort out the Economic mess and deficit, in part created by Labours spending spree in the growth years and not saddle the country with years of instability.

  • Comment number 53.

    Thanks for the update, Nick. I find the rumours of Brown et al offering the Lib Dems an AV system without consulting the electorate pretty disturbing. As we know, Labour could have held a referendum on voting reform any time in recent history, but didn't either because (a) they did not perceive it to be in the party interest; or (b) it was not one of their priorities (which, given their thirteen year domination of parliament, comes to much the same thing). In my view, any politician who tries to change the voting system without consulting the electorate (and for what are transparently reasons of political expediency) does not deserve a seat in parliament. Given that all the political parties have a vested interest in the question of electoral reform, they should put it to the public as a two-stage referendum (Stage one: Do we need reform? yes/no. If yes, then as Stage Two a cross-party commission should be set up to recommend a particular system that the public can then vote yes or no to). It's clear there are significant arguments for and against electoral reform and any decision we make here has far-reaching implications for Britain's future governments more than the present one. It should be the electorate that decides this issue -- not Cameron or Clegg or Brown.

  • Comment number 54.

    New scenario: Libdems + Labour, preferably with Ed Balls at their head, civil unrest in the country, new election with hugely increased majority for Conservatives, voters having been rendered near speechless with fury.

  • Comment number 55.

    This is what comes of talking about Change without meaning it. The verdict is as clearly against Tory domination as it is questioning of Labour's legacy.

    However, the reference repeatedly made by chief negotiator David Laws which I noted was to the need for "strong" and "stable" government. There is only one Parliamentary solution that has the numbers to be both strong and stable - the Lib Dems combined with the Conservatives...

    One cotton-picking minute, Nick this is your verdict and not that of the Electorate. One question, Nick Robinson, who elected you??

  • Comment number 56.

    #36 and you thin kthey will be able to sort out the debt?

  • Comment number 57.

    It sounds as if Clegg is insisting on PR being 'forced' through Parliament as one of his conditions for coalition. Why?

    If PR is so popular, what's wrong with a referendum? He'd be bound to win it, wouldn't he?

  • Comment number 58.

    What happened to 'if you want real change - vote LibDem' or even 'we are not making any promises so you can believe what we say'?

    I understand that Mr Clegg speaks many languages - clearly also one he learnt from Lord Mandelson.

  • Comment number 59.

    # 39. Zydeco wrote:
    Hmmm!! So Clegg's the 'Big Changes' this Country needs are, in fact, more of the same.

    Why am I not surprised?

    Not surprised? 23% of the vote, 8% of the seats, no majority for any party and Tories the only ones unwilling to compromise? Of course it's more of the same, only 23% voted for change.
    Why not a Lab/Con alliance? They're like Zaphod Beeblebrox, anyway. Whichever one you vote for, Murdoch and the bankers always get in.

  • Comment number 60.

    In the words of Victor Meldrew, I simply don't believe it. It being the astounding news that Clegg and co as well as continuing talks with the Conservatives are also speaking to Labour about forming some kind of Lib-Lab pact (which hasn't worked in the past). The conservatives have the greatest number of votes and the greatest number of seats. David Cameron has come of age as a leader and has been, as far as I know, the only one to declare his love for our country and the desire to re-build it. Nick Clegg has shown how two-faced he is - could anyone trust him on anything? Do Labour think that by sacrificing Gordon Brown they can somehow stay in power? I think not. Only the Conservatives have shown any honour post election and only the Conservatives have the right to be given the chance to lead this country. Devious Liberals and Labourites beware, you are coming very close to making the Conservatives appear the underdogs and you know how this country loves the underdog!

  • Comment number 61.

    This 'losers' coalition will not last. Cameron should sit back and let them all commit the inevitable political suicide that this would be - Brown may actually end up looking smart for going..... !!!

  • Comment number 62.

    why are the libdems now the prostitute party ?

    Because they will sell themselves to anybody

  • Comment number 63.

    31. At 6:06pm on 10 May 2010, cardicam wrote:

    And for Kneeslider 1, do you know what Neville Chamberlain, Harold MacMillan and Sir Alec Douglas-Home have in common? They were all "unelected" Conservative Prime Ministers who carried on in office before facing a general election - except for Chamberlain, who went before he could face one. Were the Tories and Conservative press howling about that?

    That's mainly because it would hardly have been appropriate in any of the circumstances. I think you really need a history lesson old son, or a sense of perspective and circumstances at the very least wouldn't go amiss. Jeepers.

  • Comment number 64.

    Frankly, Clegg and Brown have acted badly today, amazingly the Etonian Cameron has once more acted with dignity, as he did throughout the campaign

    Well done Mr Cameron

  • Comment number 65.

    Am I the only one getting tired of the Lib Dems?

    This ridiculous "triple lock" system they have is really dragging out the whole process, Clegg is like a child desperately seeking all 3 of his parents' permission!

  • Comment number 66.

    NOBODY voted for a hung parliament.....this is another spin from Labour

    People voted for whom they did, and it ended up as a hung parliament

    Quite different

    I am not sure how the AV could be imposed without a referendum

    IF the Lab Lib Dems go ahead, then I don't think they will get past a Queens speech, and the voters will remember this farce in the forthcoming election

    It is getting close to a national disaster

    Watch Sterling in the next few days....


    The Lib Dems could end up truly regretting this

    As I said the Conservatives offered a referendum

    Frankly if the Lib Dems say no now, it proves they are even worse than New Labour

  • Comment number 67.

    hows can it be fair for the lib dems to team hope with labour and every other loosing party to keep the tories the queen must step in and sort this mess out or go to the polls for the 2nd time

  • Comment number 68.


    Parselmouth indeed

  • Comment number 69.

    Just wanted to ask how come we've not heard from David Cameron yet? He seems very quiet on this as both Brown and Clegg have both made statements. I would love to hear what Cameron thinks right now.

    Personally and morally I think the Conservatives should do what the SNP is doing is Scotland and go for a Minority Government and let the people see how Lib Dems and Labour behave in parliment towards it.

  • Comment number 70.

    53. At 7:07pm on 10 May 2010, Liz Evershed wrote:

    ......It should be the electorate that decides this issue -- not Cameron or Clegg or Brown.


    Yes it should. But the public might give the wrong answer and that, as we all know, that is not allowed!

  • Comment number 71.

    If the Liberal SDP form a coalition with Labour, this will be the 2nd & 3rd parties joining in a power grab. This will confirm the view of the public that MPs are just as self serving as the expenses scandal demonstrated last year.

  • Comment number 72.

    58. At 7:30pm on 10 May 2010, gac wrote:
    What happened to 'if you want real change -


    Well, we've certainly got that! A Government absolutely no-one voted for.

  • Comment number 73.

    I just hope that the new Labour leader is someone equally as unacceptable as Brown.

    They'll be off to a good start by having no mandate, but then what?

    These blogs are gonna get pretty boring without Gordon to pillory!

  • Comment number 74.


    It is a shame, I thought we had got the strong and stable government

    Ie Conservative and Lib Dems

    Numerically nothing else works

    If this isn't put to bed, there will be another election imminently and Lib Dems and Labour will pay the price

  • Comment number 75.

    Let's look on the bright side for a change: Labour is now going to have to sort its own mess out! That could be fun - but very expensive.

    BTW What happened to Gordon's 'No time for Novices' How much experience of Government does Clegg have?

  • Comment number 76.

    So the Lib Dems are considering an alliance with Labour. All parties promised a new style of government prior to the Election in order to win votes.
    Evidently the Lib Dems have more in common politically with the Labour party than the Tories.
    That makes it more important that we, the people, have a marriage between the Tories and the Lib Dems so that there is a wide spectrum of opinion and reasoning in the policy making. Looking backwards is costing the Tories the elegance of this dance.
    We do not need more of the same that we have had under the Labour government. One hundred seats lost by them demonstrated that.
    Nick Clegg would do well to check out his integrity as well as the voice of his constituency parties.

  • Comment number 77.

    Kneeslider1 needs the history lesson not me.

    Why would it have been inappropriate to have a general election in 1963 as soon as Home became PM?

    Why would it have been inappropriate in 1937 with Chamberlain? (Pre-Munich and annexation of Austria)

    1957 and MacMillan is of course more arguable - because of Suez - but HM still chose to hang around for 2yrs9mo as an unelected PM.

    And I'd forgotten John Major who held on for 18 months until the 1992 election.

    Further explanation required please, "old son"

  • Comment number 78.

    dear nick, firstly i am middle aged and is the first time i have done this i'm dead excited and sad!
    i want to know what certain people mean when they say the country has decided to have a hung parliment and nobody has won the election. I voted for the first time conservative because i wanted them to win and i didn't consult with anybody fome the country. I am a simple house wife and dont claim to understand alot about politics but i thought the conservatives did win and the thought of somebody from labour as pm doesn't make me jump for joy. i know david cameron didn't have a majority but he is the most popular. another thing why do mp's always look at the bad and not the good. i heard that conservative mps are saying or murmering about his performance and why he didn't have a big victory, well where i work they didn't care. not because of scandles of any sort but because we live in a society where what you wear how you look and getting smashed and finding a person to spend the night with is what is important. why dont we fine people if they dont vote like austrailia (i think that's where.) i am a beginner like i said but hope to blog again soon.

  • Comment number 79.

    I have spent the entire evening since I came home from work(I am a nurse) watching News 24. I have to say I'm furious that the labour party who were voted out in the recent election felt able to promise the liberal democrats who lost seats in this election- a fast track by passing the electorate to electoral reform - if they form a coalition govt. with them. How dare they! Who on earth do they think they are kidding that they are working with the welfare of the nation in the forefront of there minds! they simply want to hang on to power!
    I am hugely disappointed in Nick clegg who I thought was a decent honest man- he so clearly was not telling the truth when he was interviewed after Gordon Brown offered his resignation - he knew what gordon brown was going to announce before he announced it and has been having secret talks with Gordon Brown all along.
    I think the whole lot of them are power hungry and are not working with the needs of the nation driving them on. It makes me want to quit Britain and just reinforces the politicians underhand way of working and cheating the electorate like the expenses fiasco! I did not vote for electoral reform in this election I voted for the best way out of the economic mess Gordon Brown has got us into!!! who has the moral high ground here?

  • Comment number 80.

    The comments about unelected Tory PM's above may be factually correct - there is a significant difference to the current situation - I believe the incumbent Tories at the time enjoyed good majorities at the commencement of their terms. The current case would be an unelected PM in a coalition of 'losers' appointed in the aftermath of a general election which rejected his party. Cameron is right that the electorate should be allowed to consider new voting systems - this should not be a matter for Parliament only - it is too fundamental. This is progressive.

  • Comment number 81.

    Nick, What would happen if The Lib Dems walked away from Labour and the Conservatives - could labour still govern.

  • Comment number 82.

    Can you explain for us why, when using the BBC Election Seat calculator, Labour on 36.1% would have 372 seats, Tories on 29% 180 seats and LibDems on 23% 69 seats, please?

    Also, if all parties, except Others had 33.3% the split would be L-318, C-209 and LD-99 seats. Why?

    Please help.

    Many thanks nd kind regards,

  • Comment number 83.

    With all the media intensity and opinions being thrown at people from all sides, it is little surprise people will begin to feel tired, let down and hurt by all of this.

    I doubt very much the world is going to end tomorrow if a decision is not made, or that the markets will suddenly crash.

    A coalition between the tories and lib dems may give a numerical advantage in parliament, but fundamentally they are apposed on so many issues. How can this result in a stable government? It is audacious and desperate of the tories (in my opinion) to come back to the lib dems with a petty offer for referendum on AV. The lib dems dont even really want AV, they want full PR, which is something quite a bit different i.e. single tranvsferable vote.

    Now with first past the post, we have a hung parliament, and remember this is a system designed to give a clear winner! So we have a marginal winner, a definate looser and the biggest looser of all, the Lib Dems.

    No wonder the Lib Dems are dealing between both parties, I would if I was them. They have been campaigning for PR for years and years, why? They gain more votes in an election and loose seats. This is fair? We have an unfair voting system, fundamentally. How can a country be run fairly with a fundamentally broken election system? Get the core issues right first, the rest falls into place. Make our country a fairer place to be, allow and force dialogue between parties, move on and move forward.

    This has shown to me that people are afraid as ever of change. It seems to me a lot of people in the media, instead of opening their eyes to the reality, are caught up with winner and looser mentality. First past the post. Even the way some if this has been commentated on the BBC (sorry Nick) points to that attitude, that we in the UK are incapable of anything else, anything better?

    If a Lib-Lab pact forms, along with nationalist parties, talks will go on for a lot longer. Looking positively at it, that could be a change for good, in itself. Afterall, a government that has huge majority needs pay no heed to others, needs not to consult or deal to move on. I can't imagine you could even pretend to claim that is democracy?

  • Comment number 84.

    Zydeco -- I think you're right that there is a wariness of trusting the electorate to make the 'right' decision. Personally, I'd be more inclined to vote for PR if our politicans first demonstrated they were able to sustain a stable coalition govt in the present conditions than to vote for a furore like this every four years. And at present I think a coalition between the Tories and Lib Dems makes most sense: while I can understand why many Lib Dems would prefer a political coalition with Labour it is not as though they would have a majority if they did so. A rainbow coalition would give disproportional power to minority parties and the rallying cry would be... what? A government united by self-interest and with the aim of Tory-bashing would be no government at all.

  • Comment number 85.

    How can a Lab/Lib coalition even be countenanced?
    The negotiators on labours side are nearly all unelected and on the other the party that came last.
    How can any of this be constituently legitimate?

    If such a coalition was formed the markets and the voters who had the majority will crucify the politicians as they demanded change and voted to reflect that.

    I have to say I am extremely worried about civil unrest if a lab/lib fudge was announced.

  • Comment number 86.

    I believe its what the country wants. Gordon needs to step down as soon as possible.
    For me I have two things already from this election I wanted; pledges from both parties on electoral reform and the Prime Minister's head. Yes I know he left the door open should there be no alliance, but that we all know his present position as both PM and Labour leader is unsustainable.
    I think this time for reflection facilitated by the mandate for compromise the voters have given the parties is positive. Yes the pound may be falling at the moment, but as market confidence is reality, so long as talks are not deadlocked and progress is made (as it is), markets will recover and be even better off with a coalition not hastily assembled, built on a solid base. I have to hand it to the Lib Dems. They have behaved and acted responsibly and are showing some real government promise already.
    Watch out for the Tory leaning papers and the Liberal traitor smears tommorrow. This is getting seriously tired. It is destabilising and irresponsible not to mention an intrusion into the democratic process. Don't say properganda doesn't work as Murdoch's people do.
    Is it not time we started looking to the make-up of a future cabinet and likely policy arrangements and polling the people? Aunty has the funds.
    It would make the whole horse trading scenario more transparent and help those living in the Westminster bubble negotiating for the country have a real idea of what people really think.
    I would ask first, who do you trust with our country's economy? Darling, Osborne or Cable? I know where my vote goes on that vital question. Not to the incumbent, not to he who is chums with money masters and foreign oligarchs (Deripaska + Nat Rothschild)not to mention Labours own Dark Lork Mandy, but to the man the economists have faith in, who is an economic expert, who assembled the better of the Parties manifesto pledges for the elimination of the national debt, who won the chancellors debates, who holds the respect of the people.
    There can only be one Vince Cable.

  • Comment number 87.

    David Steel repeatedly stated yesterday that "David Cameron did not win the election". He didn't score a knock-out but he assuredly "won on points". Many coments have been made by Labour supporters that "Labour and Lib-Dems between them had more votes than the Tories: indeed, but Tories and Lib-Dems had even more than that! I agree with Nick Robinson's impression that it is important to not only analyse the words, but also to read between the lines: it seems to me that Clegg favoured the only stable coalition would be the one he's pursued for several days, but the left-wingers in his party have overruled him - they'd rather have the approbium of the electorate for the present chaos. The idea of Gordon Brown sitting there until September is almost as ridiculous as is his "resignation speech" stating "in the interests of seeing into office a stable government - pigs might fly by then. By the way, I have voted Labour, Liberal, UKIP and Conservative at different elections so am a real "floater"!

  • Comment number 88.

    I voted Lib Dem at this election but if Nick Clegg gets in bed with Brown, his spin doctors and the Labour Party then that's the last time we vote for this party! His theme through this election has been for change! What change propping up a discredited Labour government! My vote is now for the Conservatives and, this evening, this is the view of all my many friends and family! It would appear that the Lib Dems are running towards a bloody nose at the next election! No principals or credibility! As for "proportunate representation" Nick Clegg may have a sobering reality - does he not realise that at recent elections many Tories have voted strategacally to keep Labour out! He will now lose a significant number of votes in a PR election! Think again Nick before it's too late!

  • Comment number 89.

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

  • Comment number 90.

    The English now need to stand up and be counted!

  • Comment number 91.

    What is all these fuss about uncertainty? The LibCon Pact is inevitable. The key word on the various statements are "national interests" and "Stable Government". Electoral reform does not necessarily count as national interests nor is it in the best interests of the Conservative Party or the Labour Party. A LibLab pact now will work against Liberal Democrats as that would be an unstable government against national interests. Which a second election in 18 months time will completely wipe out the Lib Dem as voters will turn against them. So if you are Nick Clegg what would you do? You get your best deal out from the Tories ( which they have by getting the referendum on electoral reform ) and be seem to be prudent to have a little talk with the Labour Party to satisfy grass roots that they had looked at the options. My bet is by tomorrow afternoon it is all over.

  • Comment number 92.

    73. At 8:32pm on 10 May 2010, Zydeco wrote:

    I just hope that the new Labour leader is someone equally as unacceptable as Brown.

    They'll be off to a good start by having no mandate, but then what?

    These blogs are gonna get pretty boring without Gordon to pillory!

    Dont you worry Mr Z, unless it's Frank Field, you can guarantee they're going to be tainted by association at minimum and despised at worst.

  • Comment number 93.

    You lucky, lucky, lucky people. You get the progressive centre-left government you voted for in your millions..... dont forget to hoover off that red carpet for the IMF when they come visiting next month!


  • Comment number 94.

    I really wish all the Tories would open their eyes and accept that no party won this election and no one party have a mandate to govern this country. They also complain about the Lib Dems holding out for their manifesto commitments to be implemented what is strange about that these MP's where elected on those promises are the Tories now saying that every one should just dump their promises just to let the power mad Tories back into Downing Street because that is what it sounds like.

    As for the constant comments about the Tories having the most votes that is true but they do not have the majority of votes and yet again these people want this country run by a party with a minority of support of the british people a coalition would have a majority of votes cast.

  • Comment number 95.

    Nick Clegg wanted "strong" and "stable" government in his statement to us before the negotiations began.
    No mention of PR. He only wanted what was "best for the country" in these difficult economic times.
    Those words and assurances now seem hollow.
    What the LibDems want IS PR. Nothing less!
    How is that good for the country now?
    How can a rainbow alliance be stable or strong? The SNP, Plaid Cymru et al, to prop it up?
    What the country now needs is that he drops Labour like a hot brick.
    Only a coalition with David Cameron will work and probably work in his favour.
    A coalition with Brown, Mandelson and Campbell will be a disaster for him and the LibDems AND the country.

    Les, Sevenoaks

  • Comment number 96.

    Allan Petrie (94).
    Go on to the BBC Election 2010 page and find the Election Seat Calculator. Play around with changing the vote share. I did and :-
    Labour on 36.1% would have 372 seats, Tories on 29% 180 seats and LibDems on 23% 69 seats.
    Also, if all parties, except Others had 33.3% the split would be L-318, C-209 and LD-99 seats.
    How fair is that? There has been a bias to Labour in our present system for years.
    When we get a different government in power we will see the true state of our economy. It's in a far worse state than Labour will admit.
    They are desperate to retain power to continue to cover this up.
    Les, Sevenoaks.

  • Comment number 97.

    The fact that Labour and the Lib Dems are so eager to join together so that the Tories don't get into power demonstrates they don't care about the state of the country, but in effect are becoming the school gang of bullies. I also continually hear the argument from the Lords, who are unelected, that together Labour and the Lib Dems got more votes than the Conservatives, yet they received fewer seats, but the number of votes for the two combined is the will of the nation. When I voted, the ballot paper had individual parties, not coalitions. To argue that this combined number of votes is overiding is fatally flawed. A simple analogy would be the nations favourite sandwich filling. 45% vote Tuna, 30% vote ham and 25% cheese. If you then declared ham AND cheese was the nations favourite because they garnered 55% of the vote is wrong, tuna would be the winner. Ham and cheese was not an option. What really angered me last night that we had Lord Steel, Lord Adonis and Alistair Campbell together, with the Tories unrepresented. The BBC seems to have a love in with these two parties at the moment. I am not saying the Tories are what is best for the country, but they quite clearly received the highest individual party popular vote and to suggest otherwise is churlish to say the least

  • Comment number 98.

    Chamberlain was continuing in a government with a policy of rearmament with a majority of 255 seats, after Balwin's resignation. He was going to be a caretaker leader ready to step down, and this was public knowledge. The war rather intervened and the international situation leading up to it would hardly have been the right time to be calling elections. He did not in any case stand over Baldwin asking him to resign so that he could have the keys to number 10 himself. Blair/Brown -compare and contrast.
    MacMillan you've explained yourself, and he went on to win an election with an increased majority. I don't think he stood over Eden badgering him to resign either.
    Douglas Home never sought to be PM, he was quite happy in the Lords and only took over after MacMillan reigned after fearing he had terminal prostate cancer.
    John Major did call an election after a year or so, and won it.

    The difference here is really that, John Major excepted, the others stepped in to the breach as opposed to badgering out a sitting PM who had promised to serve a full term.

    Now, just in case you decide your point was actually about the "conservative press", remind me again how they hounded Callaghan to call an election when he was the unelected PM.

  • Comment number 99.

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

  • Comment number 100.

    No matter who the Lib-Dem's choose to work with, they will have difficulties at the next election. I would also like to say to all those who continually say that Labour has lost the election, neither did the Tories win, they simply got more votes. The press and the political pundits have all come out on the side of the Tories and, i suspect, this is the reason they are using continually the sound byte "Labour lost the election/mandate" at every opportunity, after all, if you had put your money on the favourite wouldn't you play down the runner up? The election result was party got an outright majority. Yes, yes...i know you've heard it all before. The political system in this country needs we have the chance, horse trading has begun, arguments on live television between pundits and spin doctors are "news"(Metro news paper this morning). If we are to have a coalition, let's stop all this jiggery-pokery and start working together for the good of the country. That won't be happening any time soon, i don't suppose...


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