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Daily View: Coalition talks

Katie Fraser | 11:30 UK time, Monday, 10 May 2010

Commentators discuss how the next government will be formed as talks between the Conservatives and Lib Dems continue.

The Independent's Andrew Grice says that on many of the big issues - such as cutting the deficit, climate change and Europe - the Lib Dems have far more in common with Labour than they do with the Tories:

"Even if the Lib-Con negotiators reach a deal, MPs in both parties fear trouble ahead. A significant number of Tory MPs will not feel comfortable with getting into bed with the Liberal Democrats and the feeling is mutual."

In the Times William Rees-Mogg, who was editor of the paper at the time of the hung Parliament in 1974, notes a significant similarity between the talks that took place then between Edward Heath and Jeremy Thorpe and those now between David Cameron and Nick Clegg:

"The party leaders can reach a deal with each other with relative ease, but they are limited by the reluctance of their own supporters, now and in 1974. And this internal opposition will always include MPs as well as party activists."

The Telegraph's Benedict Brogan agrees, saying that David Cameron is prepared to go further than many in his party would like in order to gain power:

"Officially, there has been no offer so far on electoral reform but he also wants certainty that his Lib Dem allies will vote with him in the Commons when it matters.
 
"He wants to bind them in to the hard decisions ahead. To that end he is prepared to go much further than his party perhaps realises."

Julian Glover in the Guardian reckons that for the Lib Dems to refuse to do a deal with the Tories would simply confirm a fact about the British political system that they have long criticised:

"A prissy standoffishness would consign them to irrelevance and confirm the very fact that they hoped this election would prove wrong: Britain still cannot escape its old political tribes."

Alex Stevenson at politics.co.uk warns the Tories and Lib Dems to manage the public perceptions of any talks to avoid uncertainty in the markets:

"If the current talks collapse there will be a price to pay on the markets, with all parties seeking to blame another. With the prospect of another election within 12 months now a very real possibility there really is all to play for."

Jon Snow at Channel 4 News says that the most likely scenario is a deal between Tories and Lib Dems where Nick Clegg's MPs will only support the Budget and Queen's Speech.

In the Mail, Melanie Philips argues that for the Tories to be taken seriously in future, the party needs to go it alone as a minority government:

"[C]oalitions mean backstairs deals which are not transparent at all. They mean weak governments held to ransom by tiny political parties."

Andrew Grice | Independent | Lib Dems must talk to Tories
William Rees-Mogg | Times | Leaders want a deal. Their followers may not
Benedict Brogan | Telegraph | Cameron's PR coup to wrong-foot Labour
Julian Glover | Guardian | The onus is on Lib Dems
Alex Stevenson | Politics.co.uk | Uncharted waters for British politics
Jon Snow | Channel 4 News | A pig flying down Whitehall?
Melanie Phillips | Mail | Forget these shabby back-room deals
BBC | Bloggers' review on the hung Parliament

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