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A late entry

Betsan Powys | 22:16 UK time, Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Elfyn Llwyd put it very bluntly a few weeks ago. Plaid Cymru are already closer to power and to government than Nick Clegg is - or ever will be - was the gist of what he had to say.

Then came the first Prime Ministerial Debate and the subsequent opinion polls that suggested he might want to reconsider.

That was a few weeks ago.

Rumours tonight that the front page of tomorrow's Financial Times says Mr Llwyd might yet be proved right. It suggests that when Plaid showed a bit of ankle at the start of the campaign - quite a bit of ankle you might say - and said that in a close run election their small group might hold the balance of power, those "big London parties" were indeed listening.

The FT, it's been suggested, will claim tomorrow that the Conservatives heard the message loud and clear. Whether the paper will say that they have already come knocking at Plaid's door and the SNP's door, or will say that the Tories would rather strike a deal with the two parties in Wales and Scotland than with the Lib Dems isn't clear. It will be soon when the article appears online.

Clearly the significance of 'have already' is considerably greater than 'would rather'. They would, wouldn't they? A vote by vote deal with a few MPs from Wales and Scotland would be considerably less expensive and "inedible" as Rhodri Morgan once put it, than coalition with Nick Clegg. But let's spell it out once again: that would depend on the maths falling very precisely in Plaid's favour and in Mr Cameron's. He'd have to be just a handful of seats short of a majority.

To be clear Plaid dispute point blank that any talks have happened or that the idea of talks has been broached with them. The Conservatives, they say, have not been in touch. Plaid have said in the past - and Ieuan Wyn Jones says so again in an interview with Huw Edwards to be broadcast tomorrow night - that what Plaid want is the best deal for Wales. If the Conservatives are the largest party, then that deal could be struck with them.

While we wait to see the story and find out just how significant it is, one other thought. To whose ears will this story be beautiful music?

Labour's. If I were them I'd be at the front of the queue to buy the FT tomorrow morning.

UPDATE

The FT's article is now online. It's very much in "would rather talk to" than "talking to" territory. As I wrote earlier: well they would, wouldn't they.

Plaid have responded:

"There has been no discussion whatsoever with the Tories and we would not entertain the idea of holding talks with any party until the people have made their decision and we know the outcome of the election. Given the scale of the cuts the Tories are planning for Wales, we would find it extremely difficult to negotiate with a party that wants to further jeopardise jobs and public services".

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