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Deal or no deal: What next for Labour?

Nick Robinson | 17:32 UK time, Sunday, 9 May 2010

Three of the architects of New Labour - Gordon Brown, Peter Mandelson, Alastair Campbell - were locked in Downing Street this afternoon discussing what the prime minister should do next and how to respond to the pressures on him.

Gordon Brown walks into the Foreign Office by the Ambassadors StepsOne group in the cabinet is arguing that the Tories won the election, that they could govern as a minority as Harold Wilson did and that Labour should relish going into opposition in such a strong position.

Another larger group argues that if there is a chance of forming a "progressive alliance", Labour should take it. It is clear, though, that the presence of Brown is a block to any such deal. Thus, what is being discussed is for the prime minister to announce his intention to resign after seeing through the transition to a new coalition government, managing the current economic crisis and passing the instant legislation he promised to change the voting system. Those proposing this solution argue that it allows Labour to say that the Lib Dems aren't choosing their leader while meeting their demands for a change.

All this, of course, will only matter if the Lib Dems don't do the deal with the Conservatives and there is a growing sense in Labour's high command that Clegg and Cameron will reach some sort of agreement. Therefore, Messrs Brown, Mandelson and Campbell will also have been talking about how and when Gordon Brown should resign as PM and how to manage the succession.

So, after 48 hours of private talks, the next 48 hours could see the resignation of the prime minister, the arrival of a new one and the start of a Labour leadership contest. Er, or not?


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  • Comment number 1.

    All this, of course, will only matter if the Lib Dems don't do the deal with the Conservatives and there is a growing sense in Labour's high command that Clegg & Cameron will reach some sort of agreement.

    Oh they will Nick, they will.

    Btw, why aren't we hearing about the incoming government? Much more interesting. Or don't you have access to their deliberations.

  • Comment number 2.

    the lib dems will get an agreement with cameron to keep the tories in for 2 years as a minority to deal with the budget deficit. tories will give some concessions on education, banking, tax reform.

    on electoral reform, the understanding will be that lib dems can pursue negotiations with labour, snp, pc and the irish parties. cameron cannot stop this (even if he tries to call an election, that would give the "progressive" parties a legitimate reason to try to form an alternative coalition).

    tories will be free to vote against electoral reform, but if the other parties can agree a package (i reckon alternative vote in commons, pr in lords and a lot more devolution), then the other parties can and will push it through parliament in the face of tory opposition.

  • Comment number 3.

    Brown clearly is just waiting for final confirmation that no deal is possible with Clegg. Desperate to the end (and probably giving Ed Balls extra time to screw in the phone lines for his leadership campaign)

  • Comment number 4.

    Labour and the Lib Dems also face significant problems posed by the very different political directions of Scotland and England. Labour know that Scottish voters would like them to hang on to prevent the nightmare scenario of a Tory Government. English voters will punish Brown's attempts to cling on having lost the election across the UK.

    Scottish Lib Dems must already be looking to the 2011 Scottish elections with dread as they will need to defend their role in Cameron becoming PM. On the other hand if they are to sell PR to English voters they cannot be seen to help the Labour losers to stay in number 10.

    In either calculation the Scottish tail will not be allowed to wag the English dog.

    An interesting backdrop for an independence referendum !

  • Comment number 5.

    The lasst I heard was that Gordon Brown had Issued a statement that he 'Promised' a political reform - provided he can still be Prime Minister !

    This man has no limits to his arrogance - It's his position and not this country's that he is intersted in Nick.
    If this is how he rolls over on Labour Policy (which he got his votes on, the manifesto) just to keep his captaincy ?

    If this was a recorded conversation with a footballer, say an england captain in a london hotel, explaining how someone was willing for things to go a certain way in exchange for something else - say, his continuing captaincy ? It scares me to think that this would be wholly unacceptable, yet Gordon Browns promise is?

    We can do without him, he just refuses to believe it. As Monty Python once said

    "He's not the Messiah...he's just a very naughty boy!!

  • Comment number 6.

    "Three of the architects of New Labour - Gordon Brown, Peter Mandelson, Alastair Campbell"

    And not one of them was elected. Doesn't that say soemthing about the desperate state of NuLabour...

  • Comment number 7.

    The end-game is approaching but New Labour isn't going to give up without a last spin of the dice.

    Brown though was never an original architect of New Labour as you state - that was the Gang of Four: Blair, Mandelson, Campbell and Gould.

    The original New Labour spinners are at the centre of a last ditch bid to salvage something of their beloved project.

    But the spin of a "progressive alliance" from Blairites is a non-starter. Such a cunning plan as you outline here is so unstable and complex voters won't stomach it and will see through the sham.

    The country seems to be heading for a new era of 'liberal conservatism'.

    The task now is to try to make sure Brown can quit with dignity?

  • Comment number 8.

    If, as now seems a distinct possibility, Nick Clegg & his advisors agree to support the creation of a Tory government (either to run a minority administration or a coalition) despite a clear alternative offer from Labour being on the table, then they can look forward to the following:

    i) Being associated with the most severe austerity cuts in over a generation (and possibly since WWII). You cannot gain political capital with the general public in such circumstances, you can only lose.
    ii) Missing a once in a lifetime opportunity to reform the House of Lords and the FPTP voting system.
    iii) A return to political obscurity thanks to FPTP at the next UK general election (the Lib-Dems are kidding themselves if they think they can usurp Labour under FPTP).
    iv) Political paralysis if any unforseen issues arise in terms of immigration or Europe (where the gaps between the Lib-Dems & Tories are arguably widest).
    v) Substantial anger from a sizable part of their core supporters who would regard the Labour party as a much more natural alliance (see the comments of former Scottish Lib-Dem leader Nicol Stephen for instance).

    Its not the most appealing cocktail is it?

    Fundamentally, there is absolutely nothing that the Tories can offer the Lib-Dems that Labour can't also offer. I'm sure Labour would offer cabinet posts, plus Labour have made it clear they'd be willing to reform the archiac constitutional issues facing the UK.

    Any deal with the Conservatives will make many Lib-Dem voters question why to bother voting for them in the future if, when they got a gilt-edged chance in the penalty box, they wilfully missed an open goal.

  • Comment number 9.

    Poor old Brown, its all a bit sad really. He's going to have to resign whatever happens, and he's being noble by waiting to see what happens. However, if the Conservatives fail to sort anything out with their new friends, and Labour somehow manage to sort out a new Government - Gordon's job is still untenable. I would have liked Mr Brown to stay, but it looks like we're going to have a Tory government. Shame.

  • Comment number 10.

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

  • Comment number 11.

    Manage the succession when Brown resigns? But I had a post removed by the moderators as it may have been defamatory when I suggested that a succession plan already exist. How could such a plan exist when the Labour leader has to be democratically elected? You mean to say the bretheren go for stitch ups? Surely not. I thought they were all for democracy - as long as you vote for the one person we tell you to of course.

  • Comment number 12.

    Dear Nick

    First we were told by Lib-Dem leader Nick Clegg that he couldn't wouldn't enter into a Lab-Lib deal with Gordon Brown as leader of the Labour Party.

    That tells a lot about Clegg's lack of respect for party democracy.

    Now you tell us the unelected of the Labour Party Messrs Brown, Mandleson and Campbell to quote your words:

    "...will also have been talking about how and when Gordon Brown should resign as Prime Minister and how to manage the succession."

    Some might say that confirms what we know about Brown's lack of respect for party democracy. Alternatively, the words could just reflect a 'political class' view that members and supporters don't matter. I look forward to the day when you as a public service broadcasting political editor start reporting this sadly neglected aspect of our parliamentary democracy.

    Peter Kenyon

  • Comment number 13.

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

  • Comment number 14.

    It would be nice to know if Gillian Duffy voted Labour.

    I bet she did !


  • Comment number 15.


    Cameron should not give way to Clegg but think strategically. LetBrown sort out the mess he put this country in and that'll be the end of the labour party in a years time.....

  • Comment number 16.

    Cameron will offer MPs a free vote on a voting reform referendum. Difficult for Clegg to reject, but with a significant number of Labour MPs and virtually all Tories likely to vote against, very unlikely to succeed.

  • Comment number 17.

    The BBC must surely see that politics make hugely watchable television and that by hiding you and your department between UK elections in the attic has been the wrong policy. Everyone looks for your input as the others are frankly either not serious when they ought to be and serious when they ought to be totally flippant! Everyone will breathe a sigh of relief when the conservative party eventually get their removal van over to No. 10. I think will be all-party sighs since frankly the British public and the politicians are less than delighted with Gordon Browns performance. Everyone wants a change.. The Labour party will be a better party as will the Conservative. It will be interesting to see how this affects the Libdems going forward, however, it seems their leader has the interests of the country at heart. On the subject of television the BBC would be advised to consider a full political show with yourself at the head thus pumping up the ratings. Does my letter win the five quid?

  • Comment number 18.

    I'm a lifelong Labour supporter who views the prospect of another Tory government with dismay. I tactically voted SNP this time in a successful attempt to prevent the Tory candidate winning here. However, it's clear from the size of the vote and the number of seats won by the Conservatives that the view of the country is that they should have a chance to form a government. I believe that the Lib Dems will be doing the right thing if they can come to an agreement that will allow them to support the Tories, even if it's only an impasse is reached and another elction is called.

  • Comment number 19.

    I'm with the cabinet ministers that think it's time to go into opposition. That way the party can refresh itself elect a new leader and be ready for the next election.
    After all can you imagine Lib Dem voters who voted for a progressive government actually voting for them again if they prop up a tory minority government or worse if they go into a coalition.
    Actually the tories could form a minority government -put in place the deep cuts in the public sector (i.e.make loads of people redundant). Opposition could just abstain as the tories are so sure they have the answers. If the economy survives and grows rapidly I will applaud their foresight in doing something no other government in the world thinks is a good idea. There would be loads of jobs in the companies led by the business leaders against the jobs tax -because without it they must be ready to expand mustn't they? Therefore the private sector will mop up the unemployed which will fall dramatically. The tories would then deserve to carry on governing.
    However, back in the real world we all live in if the cuts mean that we have a double dip recession then like the blessed Margaret in '79 Labour should table a 'This house has no confidence in HM's Government' motion and seek to form a rainbow coalition without having a general election. As long as the new coalition commands a majority in the house of commons the Queen does not have to agree to an election -especially not from a PM who does not have an overall majority. Please don't say we won't have elected a PM because we have never elected a PM yet otherwise they would be called president!
    It's all to play for and if I was Labour leader I would play the long game. It's the future tory PM who has the most to lose with this result and not just from his own MP's who are dissenting in the press today before Parliament has even returned! It's John Major's government take 2.

  • Comment number 20.

    1. At 5:45pm on 09 May 2010, TallyHo wrote:

    Btw, why aren't we hearing about the incoming government? Much more interesting. Or don't you have access to their deliberations.

    Try this one TallyHo

  • Comment number 21.

    I want to know what clagg is playing at now meeting Brown.

    I hope the markets show him who is Boss tomorrow.

    This man came a distant 3rd Cameron was 16,00 votes short of a majority.

    And now Clegg is holding the country to ransom to get his pet project that was rejected at the election.

    I think Cameron should call his bluff and let him go down to disaster with Brown.

    Do you think the Labour party will vote for PR remember Nick the Cons only need 20 votes from Labour.

    I find this whole panto sickening

  • Comment number 22.

    # 7. theorangeparty wrote:

    "The task now is to try to make sure Brown can quit with dignity?"

    Now that would make a change from how he usually conducts himself.

  • Comment number 23.

    1. At 5:32pm on 09 May 2010, Nick Robinson wrote:
    "It is clear, though, that the presence of Brown is a block to any such deal."
    Is it? I don't see any evidence that the identity of Labour's leader is a deterrent for LibDems any more than the thought for many of alliance with the Conservatives, and nor is it anyone's business but Labour's. Isn't this just an echo of the "death to Brown" rhetoric of the rabid right? The identity of a future prime minister is clearly a legitimate issue for anyone in a governing majority, but that's another matter. Perhaps it's time we adopted the more pragmatic practice of some Continental countries in which the head of a coalition doesn't have to be a formal party #1. I suspect we'll have to do that soon enough if anything approaching PR ever comes about: parties shouldn't be entitled to dictate others' leaders, but neither should their own leader necessarily head a coalition government - or even be in it. Nor is our fixation on "The Party Leader" a particularly healthy element of British politics. Time we grew out of it.

  • Comment number 24.

    I suspect the substance of the discussions was more about the manner of Gordons passing than any other topic. Mandelson would be more interested to have an orderly transfer of power within the Labour party to avoid the self-destructive in fighting that accompanied their last ejection from power.

  • Comment number 25.

    Oh Not to be a Lib Dem. Do you

    a) Jump in with the Tories although the majority of your party don't want to, be blamed for cuts and be massacred in the Scottish elections and lose all your seats in england at the next election - after all why vote LD when you may as well vote Labour

    b) Jump in with Labour, be blamed for supporting a discredited party and lose all your seats in england at the next election - after all why vote LD when you may as well vote Tory

  • Comment number 26.

    6. At 6:04pm on 09 May 2010, David wrote:

    And not one of them was elected. Doesn't that say soemthing about the desperate state of NuLabour...

    Silly old me thinking that Gordon Brown was the elected MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath.

  • Comment number 27.

    I'd like to know what the odds are on the next election being:
    a) October 2010
    b) May 2011 (with EU Referendum)
    c) June 2014 (with MEP elections)

  • Comment number 28.

    Goodbye Gordon! Sadly we're still stuck with Mandellson, the unelected architect of Labour policy(or lack of). At least they will be out of power, and will now tear themselves apart with a power struggle within, meanwhile they will have to pursue the standard Labour endeavour of borrowing money to fight another election probably within a couple of years. They are however now set fair to decimate the SNP and the Lib Dems in the coming Scottish elections.

  • Comment number 29.

    I hope the Lib Dems and Labour do a deal.

    If they do, the result will be catastrophic for the UK economy. Such a deal will result in a Greek style meltdown and an exodus of entrepreneurs and businesses from the UK.

    Once blame has been unequivocally established in this way, Cameron can come back to sort the mess out with a clear mandate. This will mean stronger medicine for the UK economy and much larger cut backs in the public sector - but that will be a good thing in the long run.

  • Comment number 30.

    Nick, Why can't the libdems let the tories form a minority government and then bring a PR referendum bill as a private members bill. If the other parties support it them can vote for it. Or would the Tories just call another election if this happened?

  • Comment number 31.

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

  • Comment number 32.


    Never before (according to much older political observers than myself) has a general election provided so many talking points for all the parties.

    The best strategic move for Labour should be to concede the election and regroup with a new leader as a strong opposition. This election has illustrated that David Miliband must be a shoo-in as the next Labour leader as the party has to rebuild and re-connect with middle England.

    For Labour to emerge from this election with 258 seats was a magnificent achievment and will go down as Gordon Brown's legacy. From being a complete disaster as a leader, Gordon saved his best to last by preventing a Tory majority and ensuring a healthy Labour representation in opposition taking into account all the circumstances surrounding his leadership; worst recession in 60 years etc.

    If Labour appoint David Miliband they will have an outstanding chance to win the next election which will surely be within the next 3 years.

    A deal with the Conservatives will be fantastic for the Lib Dems in the short-term but catastrophic for them in the long-term and will have all sorts of repercussions.

    The real loser of this incredible election is actually the man who won it and who will soon be our new Prime Minister. David Cameron is hamstrung without a majority and the look he gave Gordon Brown yesterday at the Cenotaph spoke a million words. The photo showed David Cameron looking at Gordon Brown with the expression "you got me you so and so".

    Labour should concede defeat; Gordon Brown should resign; David Miliband should be installed as the new Leader of the Opposition; Con/Lib government to take the unpopular decisions and divorce within 3 years with a rejuvenated and New Labour ready to win a landslide majority at the next election.

  • Comment number 33.

    Dear Nick,

    A couple of observations:
    1) For the benefit of all politicians/pundits no-one voted for a hung Parliament! It was not an option on the ballot paper.

    2) Assuming that the Lib Dems get a referendum on electoral change, has it occurred to them that they may not get a majority! I wonder if they will insist in a form of P.R. in such a referendum??

  • Comment number 34.

    15. At 6:33pm on 09 May 2010, obsidian_white wrote:


    Cameron should not give way to Clegg but think strategically. LetBrown sort out the mess he put this country in and that'll be the end of the labour party in a years time.....

    Too late obsidian_white, you got Cameron for better or for worse,he can't opt out now.

  • Comment number 35.

    To all the people saying Brown has not been elected: check again! He's been elected as MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath ever since the constituency was created (as Dunfermline East) in 1983. As for becoming the Labour party leader, he was challenged by John McDonnell, who eventually failed to receive enough nominations.

    You would be correct to say that the public did not elect him as Prime Minister, but neither did they elect Tony Blair, John Major, Margaret Thatcher... or David Cameron, for that matter. Our electoral system doesn't allow anybody to vote for who they want to be Prime Minister (except, arguably, the people in their own constituencies, but they are always safe seats).

    Gordon Brown still has the right to be Prime Minister, for now. Everyone who says he should be kicked out immediately is basically proposing electoral reform!

  • Comment number 36.

    Hi Mum!

    Plenty we didn't cover, sorry we ran out of time (as usual)..

    Are you surprised I voted? :) the lib dems needed all the help they could get, I gave them mine! The candidate I voted for was elected as an MP (she is one of the 57 lib dem MPs). She held her seat with a 4% majority, so I was glad I voted. Assuming my vote was valid however (given the issues I had with their Yes/No voting system)!

    So.. my hopes, before any of the votes were counted, were as follows: Lib Dems come second and gain the balance of power, then use that to force the biggest party to implement the Lib Dem policies (in particular, electoral reform). I had hopes the Tories would become the biggest party, not Labour as they trashed the economy, sold the gold, sent troops to Iraq, etc. So far, so good. My wish is that electoral reform will result in future elections that are fairer, and thus produce a country that is better-managed. I think that many of the UK's problems are fixable, what it needs is a shakeup, and the electoral system is preventing it. Therefore, this system must be changed. The Lib Dems happen to agree, and indeed frequently speak my mind, so it's natural I should vote for them. I figure if enough people do this, the system will break, and that's precisely what has happened. Even more significantly, the only politicians who are arguing against electoral reform now are right-wing Tories, and their hand is about to be forced by their lack of majority in the house.

    What will happen next? I think only a Lib Dem-Tory coalition is workable. I also think the Lib Dems will insist on electoral reform. I think it will come down to whether the Tory right has the numbers to veto a motion to support electoral reform. There will be a huge argument in Tory HQ over whether it's better to compromise, and attain power, or call the Lib Dem's bluff, which would almost certainly result in the Queen calling a new election. Do the Tory right think they will get their majority if a new election is called? That's a big gamble to make. Especially if Labour make themselves more enticing to the electorate (by, for instance, dumping Gordon Brown, which is highly likely).

    So I think the Tories will play safe, cave in, grant the electoral reform demands of the Lib Dems, form a coalition government and silence their right-wingers, some of whom may mount leadership challenges, whispering campaigns and/or defect to UKIP.

    The same may occur to the Lib Dem left (except they might defect to Labour or the Greens).

    So in general there is going to be a reshuffle along the political axis, with the Lib Dems firmly claiming the centre ground, causing some polarisation and general hullabuloo, and jolly good too, that is the shakeup I am expecting and voted for.

    It's still sinking in that not only did I watch the economy crash and burn, I have now watched the political system do the same. This kind of upheaval has become so routine, it's not that surprising anymore. But I suspect I will look back, in the years to come and marvel that I was right there and watched the old world order finally unravel, live on my computer screen.

    Cartoons attached.

    Big hugs.

  • Comment number 37.

    Good post. Interesting to know what the Labour thinking is.

  • Comment number 38.

    all I want to know is this

    approx 8 million people voted for a conservative government

    what will we end up with?

    a lib-con government? no very likely

    a lib lab government? very likely

    so a coalition of two losers

    we didnt vote for electoral reform ,
    and we didnt vote for a deal behind doors

    and the politicans wonder why we are slighly peed off with politics???

  • Comment number 39.


    Your post makes three omissions which counter the points you have made within it

    1) I am told again and again by Lib Dems that they want PR. If they are unable to work with the biggest party by some distance in both votes and seats, then this destroys the PR argument.

    2)To support a dying Labour Government, purely out of self interest, would contradict Cleggg's national interest comments, and would also make them look self-serving in the extreme

    3)The cuts you mention, are tough, yet have been caused, and delayed by the incompetence of Labour

    As it happens, from a Conservative perspective, the Lib Dems jumping into bed with Labour, then having to 'not make cuts' this year, and watching the economy go down the pan, followed by the Government would lead to a Conservative majority later in the year even with PR as far more Conservative seats are held by 50% plus of the vote

    I personally just want Clegg and Cameron to get on with it and reveal the Treasury papers connected with the gold, and the truth about the economic crisis we face, and the cause of the majority of it


  • Comment number 40.

    There's no way that there will be a stable Con-Lib coalition, as
    neither party will budge on PR if they've an ounce of long-term
    thinking in them.

    That leaves either a minority Con govt or a 'progressive' alliance; I
    hope we get the former, just to remind lower middle class southern
    and midlands English voters in marginal seats what the Tories are
    really like when in power. A couple of weeks with Osbourne as
    Chancellor should be enough to see them off for another generation.

  • Comment number 41.

    Labour as with the Conservatives when they where last in power, proved that they had the ability to deal with politicians from around the world, so the skills exists in both parties, also Paddy Ashdown has proved his skills in the Balkans. On the issues raised by the SNP regarding the Conservative involvement, Alex Salmond would do well to remind himself that one of his core issues was the Trident replacement, yet Labour and the Conservatives got together 58.7% of the Scottish vote, and they both want to replace Trident. The SNP got 19.9% of the vote!

  • Comment number 42.

    #29 Browned Off
    Unfortunately it won't be welcomed, in the same way that a lot of Thatcher's measures were neccessary but deeply unpopular. The blame for a lot of the economic woes of the early 80s can be squarely laid with the ineptitude of the Labour government between 1974 and 1979, but that all gets conveniently forgotten when rewriting the socio-political history of this country. In jus the same way, I am sure that when those of us who are about 40 odd now come to draw our vastly reduced pensions, the people who are 20 years younger will have forgotten that the reason our pensions are drastically smaller than they should be is Gordon Brown robbing them as soon as he became chancellor.

  • Comment number 43.

    You are bang on the money.

  • Comment number 44.


  • Comment number 45.

    After today`s discussions,it appears that deficit reduction will be at the heart of any deal between the Lib-Dems and the conservatives.Other LIb-Dem policy objectives will be present in negotiations, but not a priority.

    This seems reasonable given the state of the British economy.However Osborne wants to start cutting the deficit now,Cable to wait until the recovery is secure.This difference is significant, representing alternative views of economic growth, so compromise is hard, but should act as a marker for the integrity of Clegg`s intentions.

    He can always reserve his option on PR until the national interest relating to the economy is satisfied.His instinct that a deal with Labour would lack legitimacy is probably correct.His party however may not see it like that and not endorse a more limited deal.

  • Comment number 46.


    Brown won?

    He beat Michael Foot by an inch....

    I notice you want to install another leader

    How about electing one for a change?

  • Comment number 47.

    16. At 6:33pm on 09 May 2010, thatoneworks wrote:

    Cameron will offer MPs a free vote on a voting reform referendum. Difficult for Clegg to reject, but with a significant number of Labour MPs and virtually all Tories likely to vote against, very unlikely to succeed.


    You're probably right, and it would be hard for Clegg to turn that down without looking like he was obssessed only with electoral reform (*1).

    So the key question (about 6-12 months from now) is how much a wounded Labour high command would insist on their own back-benchers supporting a LibDem tabled PR referendum motion in the House. For a lot of MPs this would mean playing the role of turkeys voting for Christmas.

    Nothing 'transferable' about the death sentences this vote would hand out to a lot of Labour MPs in big cities. Could they relied upon to put party about individual?

    Answers now really required on that one, but I suppose we can live in hope...

    Clegg's minimum needs to be a guaranteed referendum if he is going to keep his party with him. Bypass the House and go straight to the electorate. No guarantee of winning it of course, but that comes later...

    (*1) Perhaps this was a triumph of editing but interesting to note on the TV news this evening that when Hague exited the Cabinet Office discussions on "political reform" was the very first subject that he listed as having been discussed. The LD spokesman Danny Alexander didn't even mention it.

    Tories laying the ground for the talks collapsing because of LD intransigence on PR? LibDems doing their level best to appear interested in other subjects? Or maybe the talks were genuinely constructive. Hmmm. Any idea what really went on Nick?

  • Comment number 48.

    forget all the odds on election dates. what's the odds on the first Lib Dem MP to defect to Labour? we should be able to collect our money in the summer.

  • Comment number 49.

    ....fat fingers...!
    I meant to say:
    15. bang on the money, but the risk is PR will be rushed through in the mean time, which will invite a horror show. That's the real risk.
    Keep politics local, you just have to look at the electoral results colour map to see what a fudge PR would deliver.
    One size never fits all. I would hate to see the BNP being given seats and thus disproportionate leverage in the parliamentary balance.

  • Comment number 50.

    The indecisive outcome is extraordinarily bad news for the country, and the timing couldn't have been worse. Britain is running an unsustainable deficit, developments in Greece show what can happen if this gets out of control, so markets need to know that resolute action will be taken*. This requires a strong government, prepared to take tough and unpopular tax and/or spending decisions in the knowledge that they have four or five years in which to overcome the inevitable voter hostility to harsh measures.

    Instead, politicians must know that, whatever is cobbled together now, another election will be necessary relatively soon. Therefore, they will remain on a campaign footing, which will make it impossible for them to implement unpopular but necessary measures.

    I think that Gordon Brown - who is responsible for much of this mess - ought to be allowed to continue in a caretaker capacity until the autumn, when the election can be re-run. Electorally, this could suit the Tories. The Lib Dems would have a period of months in which to seek 'best offers' on electoral reform ahead of the second election. And Brown, of course, would do anything to hang on to a job for which he was neither elected nor qualified in the first place.

    * Markets: Some people think that government should not be 'beholden' (etc) to markets. Self-sufficiency is fine, so long as you don't need foreigners to lend you money, sell you things like oil, gas and food, and buy your exports. If you DO need these things, however, you need to accept the market system as a fact, and work with it, not try to blame markets for problems which actually result from excessive spending and borrowing, not just by government but by individuals as well.

  • Comment number 51.

    25. At 6:50pm on 09 May 2010, John Wood wrote:

    Oh Not to be a Lib Dem. Do you

    a) Jump in with the Tories although the majority of your party don't want to, be blamed for cuts and be massacred in the Scottish elections and lose all your seats in england at the next election - after all why vote LD when you may as well vote Labour

    b) Jump in with Labour, be blamed for supporting a discredited party and lose all your seats in england at the next election - after all why vote LD when you may as well vote Tory

    Or C. Go into a coalition with either party, promise electoral reform, get stabbed in the back by those who are only thinking of themselves & then lose all your credibility & seats at the next election – Life's tough as a LibDem.

  • Comment number 52.

    I can't believe the Lib Dems would let the Tories in.

    The real prize is a progressive alliance of Labour and all of the small parties. The task - to reform the political process to give proper representation across all of the UK and a mandate/buy-in to deliver the fiscal cuts needed. The morale/legitimacy would be based upon a clear overall majority plus genuine representation of issues and nationhood across the UK. A radical and bitter pill to swallow for the 3 Westminster parties.

    An inclusive agenda for voters (the national interest) but Gordon Brown would have to go.

    If the Lib Dems don't - they deny the very issue of electoral reform that have campaigned on for so long and for example given the dynamics of the next 2 years they can kiss good bye to seats at Holyrood next year as they would never be trusted again as the party who were outraged at the unfairness of the existing electoral system.

  • Comment number 53.

    I think that it is quite frighten that the LD and Labour have a secret meeting to discuss there positions, When other meetings with the Con are open and above approach.. I think Labour should wait until these are done before making this more difficult

  • Comment number 54.

    I really thought that if a Lib Dem-Deal was about to be announced at 5.30 tonight and as a life long Lib Dem voter my heart was in boots and I was shouting at the telly. But it didn't happen, perhaps, just perhaps before the Lib Dems go down to political and electoral suicide, they have paused for thought. Now I read Shirley Williams is against a LIB CON pact, and that Clegg met Brown at the FO this afternoon. A Chink of light ! A progressive alliance with Labour,et all inc the greens offers the natural fulfilment of the hopes of Roy Jenkins and radicals reaching back to Grimond, Lloyd George, and Asquith. The Tory sell-out the complete opposite. It all hinges on what's on the table - show me the money!!. It has to be PR - not a committee in the long grass but an immediate commitment to a binding national referendum as happened with Devolution.We will NEVER get PR from the tories, Tebbit would eat his bike! AND the LIB DEM MP's and the members will NEVER agree to PACT WITH THE DEVIL. AND never on a 75% basis which is required. TALK TO LABOUR, they will oust Brown and genuinely support PR to stop SHAM CAM.

  • Comment number 55.

    PoliticalCenterist is deeply deluded. The Labour Party side of the post is spot-on in theory, though Unite will decide who the next Labour Leader is, so don't rule out Harperson.
    As for the rest - total rot! The economic mess we are in is going to take 20 years to sot out, so the blame for the current mess will hand around Brown (specifically) and Labour (generally) for a decade, at least.
    GB will go down in history as the worst and most vilified PM in history, as our children pick up the bill for his (w)reckless spending; decisions made over the last 12 months in a 'slash and burn' policy are particularly odious.
    Now, the reason Camera-on lost a majority was because of his supine waffle last Conference about a Lisbon Treaty Referendum - he and Haigh looked more and more stupid as they repeated a fatuous mantra.
    'GB can sign whatevwer document he likes - no GB Govt can bind a future one and I have pledged that the UK will have a referendum on this Treaty - and we will.' is a statement that would have removed UKIP from the 2010 election and ensured a majority; in fact, his lead would have grown still more as would have appeared both firm and honest - something desperately needed in a time of crisis.
    He also lost the election because of his loyalty to Osborne - who was, and is, a complete embarrassment, lacking credibility, authority, gravitas and even the ability to give a decent speech!

    Don't delude yourself that GB 'won' in any possible sense in the 2010 election - 'Call me Dave' lost it by trying to be trendy and forgetting that with age comes experience and wisdom - and his 'team' lacked all three!

  • Comment number 56.

    It's coming to light that there's nothing quite so undemocratic and illiberal as the Liberal Democrats and their supporters.

    If there had been a Tory Government in the position Labour now find themselves then the Lib Dems and Labour would be screaming "blue" (geddit) murder. Mandy would be skulking around briefing treason and Campbell's claret would have corked!

    Clegg wouldn't be sure what to do and Vince would be laying a cable. There would be riots in the streets and NIck's glasses would have steamed over.

    Intolerance that would put the shenanigans we've seen recently into shame would abound.

    Thanks heavens for the decorum and even handedness of David Cameron, the Conservative party and it's voters.

    Brown, you can go now. Clegg, grow up and teach your followers some common sense and decorum!

    (That last bit was a taste of the arrogance we're hearing from Labour at the moment, maybe)

  • Comment number 57.

    I think some here have a slightly hazy understanding of the late 20th Century liberal movement in this country.

    A lot of ex Labour urban trendies have embraced LibDems in recent years. But don't forget there is a large foundation of rural liberals who are the bedrock of the party's support who migrated from more Conservative origins over the 70's, 80's and 90's.

    We don't see the gulf between the two parties that those newcomers who gravitated from New Labour perceive.

  • Comment number 58.

    During the 1924 Labour minority government that was supported by the Liberals for its 9 months tenure there was a private member's motion for electoral reform. There was no love lost between Labour MPs and the Liberal party despite Liberal support for the government and the Government refused to make it a government bill. The motion was defeated. A few months later Asquith's Liberals reluctantly defeated the Labour government on a no confidence vote. The Liberals were short of funds for another election although they did get support from the Tories who did not stand in some seats so there was less competition and a two-way contest. The Oct 1924 election was a disaster and effectively decimated the Liberals for three generations until in 1974 Wilson was in a similar minority government position.

  • Comment number 59.

    What a total bizarre situation. He we have the man who came second not prepared to stand aside and resign and the man who came first unable to occupy No.10. We have the party who came third yet again now seeing to be more powerful albeit with fewer seats holding sway.

    It would a travesty if Brown was propped up in any way, shape or form. His position is untennable. The country has decided that they no longer want him as Prime Minister nor a New Labour Government. What can't he understand about that?!!

  • Comment number 60.

    What is all this progressive stuff about?

    We're all supposed to be progressive but I haven't a clue what they're talking about.

    Someone needs to bang their heads together and tell them to get on with the job.

    At the moment we have a Prime Minister who isn't allowed to make decisions in an emergency ministers attending meetings in a European crisis who can'r make decisions and no government to govern the country.

    I don't thing anyone over the years has seen such a fiasco.

    A party with only fifty seats or so holding the country to ransom so we have to put up with this on a permanent basis with their stupid PR.

    Everyone was told what would happen so now seeing is believing.

  • Comment number 61.

    Brown may pull off a a snap election now while he is still P.M.........Putting voting reform as No1 priority........then resign to Milliband........Labour would romp home and Libs would do well also...

  • Comment number 62.

    Brown steps aside, yes that has to be a given. Then Clegg climbs into bed with an alliance that can only be guaranteed with the support of Alex Salmond.....c'mon the latter is detested anywhere south of berwick on tweed !!

  • Comment number 63.

    Why is it that to make any decisions regarding political change both the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats have to consult their own parties but Gordon Brown can offer and immediate legislation without referring to anyone else. Does he have total and absolute power? Is that the way the Labour Party works?

    Stella Birchall

  • Comment number 64.

    You know, I think that maybe a Con/Lib partnership would be a good thing, despite the fact that I would have preferred an outright majority for the Tories. Frankly, the decision about what is most important to the Electorate has been proved and it isn't actually a scrapping of FPTP. Realistically most people are interested in sorting out the biggest problem - The economic calamity we are in at the moment and personally I think that should be on the priority list of both Clegg and Cameron. The country is now looking for strong leadership and these two are in the best place to provide it. I know we will suffer in higher taxes and so on, but that would have happened anyway, irrespective of who got it.

    Please... get the deal done, get the Government set up and start the process of sorting out the country. I don't want to see us in the mess Greece is in and I certainly don't want to be involved in the Euro. Let them deal with their own mess.

    Dan Jones

  • Comment number 65.

    Although 'kingmaker', NC could be on a road to ruin for the LD party. Remember that this was formed as a merger of Liberals and a splinter group from the Labour party, the Social Democrats, when labour was VERY left. Labour is much more right wing now and wouldn't take much for LDs to go to Labour.
    If NC goes down the Conservative route, unless he has a firm committment to electoral reform (remember the crowds in the square yesterday) he will risk losing many voters going back to Labour. Regardless of what the media say, there are still a lot of people suporting Labour (29% of voters) and will continue to do so especially if they get a charismatic leader.
    If he doesn't get electoral reform he needs to think 'who will vote LD next time'. Comitted Conservative voters won't and committed Labour voters won't so he will lose everything he has built up. With PR he will get those tactical votrs coming back and even if he only gets 23% next time, that is still 150 seats.
    Unless he gets PR or a reasonably acceptable alternative, he should support whoever is the government, from outside, on all the policies he possibly can, to be seen to be thinking of the country first. He could then push a one-off to go for PR but still support (presumably Conservative) on all the areas necessary to get the deficit down.
    To me, it looks like a no brainer. NC should stand up and make a formal statement to support DC on the ecomomy, and all the other areas he possibly can thereby giving a strong government as the city and business wants, but not be part of his government.
    He would then keep his party together with a view to getting a majority in the Commons for a variant on PR.
    If he is inside a coalition AND Labour propose PR, what is NC and the LDs going to do, vote against it ! They'd never get elected again. So LD MPs would have to vote against their own coalition government! Doesn't make sense.
    Come on DC, think of a political system that is reasonable and acceptable to the LD voters. Do a good deal with NC and you will have 65% of the voters behind you and NC and you will know that you'll pick up a lot of votes by being a magnanimous leader.

  • Comment number 66.

    This is the only deal in town and Clegg knows it.
    A "liblabetal" compromise with Brown as PM will be judged as an abomination by the markets. It will be regarded as nothing less than a desperate attempt to retain power at the expense of the economic welfare of the nation.
    Even a change of Labour leadership will have little effect other than to delay the inevitable - economic malaise and new elections within weeks. And besides, will the electorate wear yet another non-elected PM? I think not.
    The Liberals have a burgeoning future in the politics of this country if they can demonstrate to the electorate the experience in office they lack.
    Clegg will take what he is given by Cameron as long as there is the promise of some electoral reform towards the end of the next parliament.

  • Comment number 67.

    I always find comments on these blogs fascinating, whether made by well meaning souls with a passion for the subject or quite obvious sock puppets for their political masters.

    I do however find it very difficult take seriously people commenting about the possible wicked spending cuts of the Tories. By my reckoning we as a country are currently borrowing an extra £450 million per day to simply fill in the gaps in our finances and keep our heads above water. As borrowing at this rate is becoming increasingly unsustainable, I suspect whatever the colour of the incoming government there are both swingeing cuts and drastic tax rises to be made.

    To suggest parties other than the Tories will not make cuts is plainly wrong. Is it possible that their cuts will be kind, compassionate and fuzzy as opposed to wicked? Without a strong government that can stand the uproar when the spending is reduced, we are almost certainly finished as a viable nation. We are beholden to the heartless and unscrupulous financial markets who will extract every pound of flesh they can from us. Had we not been in hock to them and also expecting to keep borrowing at truly astronomical rates - maybe things would have proven to be difficult.

    I am sorry to say that there are a large number of folks who need to wake up smell the coffee, whilst shaking the straw from their heads.

    Nick Clegg didn't do too much for me in the TV debates. It was always hard to see past the flim-flam when none of the parties could discuss the spending cuts. He has gone up enormously in my estimation after taking the statesman like stance post election and reaching out to a party who are not natural allies. He knows as do the other leaders, the size of the task ahead and that the numbers would simply not stack up in grand coalition of the left. As the numbers stand there is only one show in town. I wish him well in his efforts. If things seem tough at the moment, they're going to get worse once civil strife occurs as folks take to the streets.

    I will be sorely Disappointed with Cameron if he makes it too tough for the Liberals to form a coalition. Its his easy way out. Let the weak left alliance collapse under public opinion when they have to force through cuts and he walks in at the October election. It would be cynical and not in the best interests of the country. Likewise I'd be disappointed If Clegg lets it all fall apart over voting reform, as important that is, it is not the number one problem. Our nations indebtedness and a cure for it must be priorities 1,2 and 3

    As much as they may hate it, The Tories and the Liberals need to form a marriage of convenience, without an easy get out clause. There is no point what so ever to unless it is capable of lasting the full term. Some times in life you've just got to suck it up. That goes for all of us if it means we voted the other way or are an activist member of a particular party.

    If our next government is weak and lasts only a relatively short time, the subsequent election will be carried out under existing rules. Though thinking it unlikely, what then if we get a broadly similar result? It's too great a risk to take.

    I wish Messrs Cameron and Clegg good luck in their talks.

    PS like that other phenomena Jedward, I can't yet work out whether to address Nick and David as Navid or Dick...

  • Comment number 68.

    Mr Clegg seems to be forgetting those who voted LD. We didn't vote for a Tory govt. He's going to lose a lot of his core support if he puts power before principles. It will cost him and the party in the next election, which will be a only a few months away. I wouldn't be surprised to see honourable LD MP's crossing the floor to Labour. This will split the party and he'll be in the minority. He's going down in my estimation day by day.

  • Comment number 69.

    Labour and certainly the LibDems should not seek to grab short-term power over the longer-term prosperity for their respectives parties.
    Labour would now retire from Government with dignity, elect a new visionary leader and energize their party workers for the next election. To try to hang on to power with a fragile coalition will risk the Conservatives getting a difinitive majority next time.
    As a Left-of-Centre party, the LibDems run the bigger risk of losing their entire identify by supporting the Centre-Right Tories who will never bring about an acceptable form of PR whilst their dream of an absolute majority is still within reach.
    Labour and LibDems should form a 'progressive-centre' alliance whilst the Conservatives govern for a few months, formulate a best-of-breed form of PR and be ready to offer the country a real form of 'new politics' next time.
    If such an alliance of the Centre and the Centre-Left ever comes about, the Conservatives would be consigned to the margins of political power for generations.
    Labour and LibDems have to wake up and smell the coffee - There is a world of better politics just over the horizon !

  • Comment number 70.

    How would an incoming tory - liberal government ensure that the blame for the cuts that will come in public spending are labelled 'labours cuts'.

    This is for me is the deal breaker. Why should either party shoulder the responsibility for the situation created by the Labour Party which looks like it is now happy to RUN AWAY!

    Those who see this in and England - Scotland perspective: Scotland will recieve its porion of the public spending as dictated by the barnet formula which has served scotland very well with public spending around 30% higher than in England per head of population. The Scotish Government has the power to raise the income tax rates and other local taxes to help protect services in Scotland. Will it choose to do so with an election coming or will it let service decline and blame others?

    None of england, scotland, wales and NI are currently paying there own way in the world. Within the UK until recently only London and I think Linconshire were covering there costs. Nice to blame someone else in order to drive division into our society but not constructive or very honest!

    How are we as an island going to earn are way in the world. During the last 13 years we have lost more manufacturing jobs in the UK than during the thatcher government.

    How is this country going to earn its way in the world?

  • Comment number 71.

    If the Lib Dems do a deal with Cameron it will do untold damage to their party. Like it or not they get votes from many who are anti-Tory. Tactical Labour voters will be lost for a start. Many Liberals will see it as a sell out. Throwing away this golden opportunity for electoral reform will not be easily forgiven.

  • Comment number 72.

    36. At 7:16pm on 09 May 2010, lsi-92 wrote:
    Hi Mum!

    Nice post,touch of rebellion,streak of originality.I`m a fan.

    As for the politics,both Lib-Dems and Tories are saying they are putting deficit reduction at the heart of an agreed programme.Perhaps PR is being postponed because the economy has priority? Some will regard this as a betrayal,I think it`s a necessary compromise,especially as the Labour alternative is not going to run as you rightly say.

    OK,it`s all az bit messy at the moment,Nick and David have a natural affiity being squeezed from the same tube of toothpaste,aristocratric backgound,inherited money,oxbridge. Much nicer than that dour scots presbytarian down the road.Nick and David just hate him.

    I wish we didn`t have politics at all.I suppose we have to have a government to collect taxes and run the navy, but they`re all so boring.
    Andrews,(Our manservant), won`t have them in the house unless they`re conservatives.Daddy says he`s old fashioned but won`t contradict him in case he leaves because we don`t pay him very much.

    I expect you and mummy have similar problems.Do keep in touch.


  • Comment number 73.


    Time for bed, schoolday tomorrow

  • Comment number 74.

    Clegg must realise that a deal with the Tories could destroy the Lib-Dems. However his ego may cloud his judgement.
    Cameron must realise that forming a government at this point could be a poisoned chalise - and get them kicked out within 2 years - and unelectable for years after.
    Labour will think that a new leader and image could project them to pole position once the other parties get smeared with the cleaning up.
    If I were Cameron I would call for a coalition government for 2 years to address the financial crisis and then call a new election. Get over the crisis, smear everybody with the residue and then have another go.

  • Comment number 75.

    A recent poll indicates that some 62% of pollsters want Gordon out of No. 10 so why do we have to wait so long for the "squatter" to leave [The Sun]?

  • Comment number 76.


    I'm beginning to think that the only satisfactory outcome now is to put the question back to the electorate and let them decide.

    This tail wagging dog process is just unacceptable.

    The spectacle of Clegg playing Prime Minister Selector is just about the most undemocratic thing I've seen even after 13 years of Labour.

    I've had to endure watching Lib Dems old boys saying they won't acccept this and not that, all day long.

    While Con spokesmen have said they don't want to prejudice the negotiation.

    Clegg is a toothless Tiger who is grossly overplaying his hand.

    Its time for Cameron to cut this loser adrift so he can stitch up a deal with Brown and watch as the markets destroy them because they have no confidence in their ability to run the economy.

  • Comment number 77.


    If Cameron becomes PM he will not have been 'elected' either. 36% does not make a public endorsement of him or his party.

  • Comment number 78.

    Why a Lib/Lab Pact could be Policitcal Suicide:

  • Comment number 79.

    Well Gorden is doing the right thing, every one can say we want change well we do but not Tory change they did a bad job when they were in ( Margaret Thatcher) now we still stand a chance with a Labour and liberal merge the Conservatives will do anything to get in But they will be a Minority and not get any thing passed i want a voting change when a area with 50.000 people vote we only get one voice when a area with 2000 people get the same Labour have don a bad job Conservatives have so we need something different or the rich will get richer and the poor will get poorer

  • Comment number 80.

    68. At 8:06pm on 09 May 2010, nobby69 wrote:
    Mr Clegg seems to be forgetting those who voted LD. We didn't vote for a Tory govt.


    What did you vote for then, as it wasn't a Lib Dem Government either

    If you wanted a Labour Governemnt you could have voted Labour, so what is you point?

    By the way, how do you think PR works?

  • Comment number 81.

    53. At 7:43pm on 09 May 2010, Stephen Brittian wrote:
    I think that it is quite frighten that the LD and Labour have a secret meeting to discuss there positions, When other meetings with the Con are open and above approach.. I think Labour should wait until these are done before making this more difficult


    What have Labour got be ashamed of its Clegg that playing the two faced games here.

    Brown is just sat there waiting for Clegg to chop his head off.

    Brown won far more seats and votes than Clegg but the PM has to sit there while an even bigger loser plays games before administering the Coupe de Crass or chooses to grant a reprieve.

    3rd place but absolute power.

  • Comment number 82.

    Bruce ma Goose: One of the best things about a new government, coalition or not, is that we will not have to bear with any more of this poisonous, debilitating undermining of our country.

    Already your loser's bitterness sounds like a hissing in the dark.

  • Comment number 83.

    55 happydadtoo

    'GB can sign whatevwer document he likes - no GB Govt can bind a future one and I have pledged that the UK will have a referendum on this Treaty - and we will.' is a statement that would have removed UKIP from the 2010 election and ensured a majority;


    Cameron had a good election result considering he was starting from a very low base as a result of previous disastrous campaigns.

    Brown has made state benefits available to all but the very wealthiest (why should someone earning £50K be considered poor and get tax credits?) and then has run a very negative campaign accusing the wicked Lib-Dems and Tories of wanting to cut benefits for the poorest. His tactic of making nearly everyone a state dependant is the reason that his vote has held up.

    Cameron's mistake on the Lisbon treaty was not to acknowledge early on that if ratified by the time he came to power, then there was nothing that he could do about it.

    An extreme statement like the one you suggest may have removed UKIP from the equation, but it would also remove many more moderate voters from supporting the Tories.

    You can not win an election by tailoring your message to a small group of people who are obsessed with Europe to the exclusion of all else, the vast majority of voters have other priorities.

  • Comment number 84.


    I couldn't agree more. Let the Lab/Lib Dems try and sort out the mess Brown and labour created. Give it 12 months then the Tories will get in with a landslide and can then govern properly. I fear a Con/Lib Dem pact will not see out the year and any attempt to try to sort out this mess by a well intentioned new government could see Labour back in power in 12-24 months. This was a good election to lose. I hope Cameron can reign in his ambition to be PM until he can get a majority government, which he will if he leaves it to Brown and his inept cronies to mess up cleaning the mess up.

  • Comment number 85.

    65 Mal

    I never thought Dr David Owen as he was then to be on the left.

    Anything but. I always thought him to be a moderate and very sensible.

    He's the only one I've heard speak lately who actually talks sense.

    In fact many people I know who voted LibDem will be horrified to be called left wing.

    Sounds like the party has an identity crisis.

  • Comment number 86.

    If the conservatives and Libdems do a deal for any length of time this could spell a real end for the Labour party. Why?

    Well for those bleating on about PR - you're missing another solution that's amenable to both Tories and LibDems - the redrawing of constituency boundaries in England thus redressing (and some!) the current Labour bias plus sorting out the 'West Lothian' situation now so evident.

    The outcome of this if you look at the electoral map will consign Labour to a minority party whose support is mainly garnered through Scotland and Wales.

    Drawing it to a natural conclusion you would eventually see a very small rump in England as existingg supporters defect to the nationalist parties per se. The LibDems for their part would establish themselves as the new party of the two party system reflecting that of 100 years ago. It will only take a few years of a succesful current coalition to happen.

    Bye bye Labour. Maybe the Labour activists on here have already worked it out........and maybe not or even perhaps the BBC?

    What about a discussion Nick since you're good at alternative theories (not so good for the BBC though, eh)?

  • Comment number 87.

    53. At 7:43pm on 09 May 2010, Stephen Brittian wrote:
    I think that it is quite frighten that the LD and Labour have a secret meeting to discuss there positions, When other meetings with the Con are open and above approach.. I think Labour should wait until these are done before making this more difficult


    What like the secret meeting yesterday between Clegg and Cameron in person at Admiralty house for the same reason?
    And whilst I'm at it - none of the meetings are open - we hear what it is agreed we will hear and none of what is not agreed we will hear. This is how you know that the meetings are going well. When one side or the other starts leaking damaging stuff about the others positions then you will know the meetings are starting to breakdown. Then worry.

    Ignore the talking heads on the tele - they know nothing for sure and are speaking for themselves and their own position.

    Clegg still obviously needs some concessions from Cameron which the Conservatives are seemingly unwilling to put on the table.
    The possibility that Clegg could still keep options open is all about reminding the Tories that there is another option if they want to play silly buggers and not compromise.

  • Comment number 88.

    An ICM survey for the Sunday Telegraph shows that 48% backed a new voting system.

    Can we therefore stop pretending that the country is massively in favour of PR, it clearly isn't.

    Also, if those in favour of PR consider it a priority, why did the Liberals do so badly in this election?

  • Comment number 89.

    A Labour Liberal coalition should pass a private members bill for PR and then have an election in the near future. The result would show that leftist progressive politics is clearly more popular in Britain. This election highlights how ridiculous are electoral system is.

  • Comment number 90.

    For what it is worth I think this will be the outcome:-

    There will be no deals at all. Brown will resign as PM and as leader of the Labour Party. Cameron will form a Tory minority government.

    Harman becomes interim leader of the Labour Party and Labour and LibDems allow Cameron to get past the Queen's speech stage.

    A new Labour leader is elected. (D Milliband?)

    Following a sequence of challenges in the House of Commons and a vote of no confidence a new election is called perhaps as early as September.

    The Liberals and the Labour Party agree (pre election this time) on electoral reform promises, and even perhaps not to contest certain seats. The Nationalists in Wales and Scotland are also involved in this

    And it is at this stage that there is a Lib-Lab coalition which pushes through electoral reform... or, yes, another hung parliament. Or a Tory majority. But at least the electorate would have had more of a say

    If it wasn't for the economic uncertainty I might even put money on this scenario. That I think is the real difficulty with trying to predict this one.

  • Comment number 91.

    re #36 Isi92 LOVE IT! Creativity wrapping up some clear thoughts in happiness. Me? I'm now feeling really guilty for voting for the Libbies.

    Here's a thought for everyone. Over the last five years, each of the three main leaders (who may not have been in charge for all that time) have each demonstrated that they can be pretty squiffy at strategy and policy and economics. Each has had to face an overt or covert leadership coup, although to be fair to Cleggie, it was distant rumblings and might have just been an upset stomach somewhere. Dodgy spinach quiche, or something...
    These guys now have the fate of our nation in their hands.

    Under PR, we could be doing this every five years, or so, or less!

    Could be brown socks needed for tomorrow.

  • Comment number 92.

    At 8:06pm on 09 May 2010, nobby69 wrote:
    Mr Clegg seems to be forgetting those who voted LD. We didn't vote for a Tory govt. He's going to lose a lot of his core support if he puts power before principles. It will cost him and the party in the next election, which will be a only a few months away. I wouldn't be surprised to see honourable LD MP's crossing the floor to Labour. This will split the party and he'll be in the minority. He's going down in my estimation day by day.
    So those who voted for LD thought that Clegg would get a majority. Or you thought he would deal with GB and you would get Labour. So why not vote Labour. Typical LD thinking.

    Labour have only thought about changing the electoral system in the last month, when it became obvious they were going to need LD, but they have had 13 years to change the system. Funny how they want to change now. Also they have only mentioned the AV system, which is not PR.
    Alan Johnson was trying to bed the LD before the election with this idea, selling his soul to be Labour leader.

  • Comment number 93.

    Sorry Gordon, you fought, you lost, you walk. Simple. Mind you with Mandelson and Campbell advising you, you're bound to make the right decision.

    On another point. This "progressive coalition" confuses me. Having sat through 270 mins of leaders debates between GB, NC and DC, it appears to be proposed that we are led by someone else - Milliband, Johnson or (please god no) Harman. Love this democracy thing. If this is what we have to look forward to under PR - bring it on.

  • Comment number 94.


    Not sure I agree with the concessions bit

    Unless Cameron has been able to contact his MPs over the weekend, it seems we need the meeting on Monday evening to ratify everything

    Your point about the comments to the press is right, and I have been hugely encouraged by the fact that so far they have been in tandem

    The fact that Tebbit is getting out of his coffin to moan is also encouraging as it means it is going well

    I still can't get over all the Lib Dems wanting PR yet not wanting to deal with the biggest party in the UK

    Quite funny really...the thick of it in real life

    Brown's farewell speech wil be priceless

    It would also be a good time as part of this coalition or whatever it gets labelled to redefine political funding

    End non dom and union funding of political parties

    That would kill labour's reliance on the unions, which is unhealthy and needs to end

  • Comment number 95.

    re #6
    This could be interesting. Darling is away and is not part of the cabal, anyway. I wonder what Peter Hain is cooking up and who with? There's a man who wants to lead Labour. Is the Harridan staying well clear, just to look after the Party? So that means Balls, Cooper and Byrne getting cosy in another corner. Then there's the Millibands - on their own or with a whole crowd of supporters, in yet another corner.

  • Comment number 96.

    Brown should consider the depressing effect that he is having on the nation's economic predicament - the markets want to see the UK spendaholics gone so as to know how stable and committed the UK is to being financially responsible.

    Every day that Brown clings on in No 10 is costing the country £ billions in lost opportunities, real growth, business confidence, new investment, higher unemployment, higher interest charges and paralysis charges and costs etc.

    Brown is a spendaholic figurehead and we should remember that Greece has PR and that this has not exactly brought the Greeks a strong mandate for anyone doing anything there.

    Most UK taxpayers live in England and full PR is not needed - all that is needed is a fully accountable English Parliament by restricting sittings from MP's outside of England. An English Parliament will deliver proportional representation with Scotland, Wales and NI being largely fiscally self supporting as can be full EU member states in their own right and do not need to be propped and controlled by Westminster.

    Blair/Brown are the architects of the current electoral mess in Britain as when one country in the Union got its own Parliament - then all countries in the 'Union' should also have got their own home rule/Parliaments with English support where needed in the case of NI.

    Brown's over-stay will mean that he'll get a rousing send off when he slopes off into the shadows - just like him signing the Lisbon Treaty!

    Time to go home Mr Brown - thanks to you - the notion of a British state is - just like you - 'As dead as a dodo'!

    An English Parliament is now urgently needed to represent the forgotten majority of the 'British' population.

  • Comment number 97.

    Why cannot those of you so keen on quoting Margret Thatcher realise that it is many years since her demise as Prime Minister. After all we had John Major for 8 years then 10 years of Tony Blair followed by 3 years of the unlamented Gordon Brown. The United Kingdom has moved on since the 1990's.
    Most people do not bang on about Blair, yet his administration is still clinging on to No.10 by the finger-tips.
    Can we please move on; not only the U.K. but the whole world has changed, the British electorate wants change - let them enjoy change.

  • Comment number 98.

    I am beginning to get concerned.

    On the presumption that someone from the Conservative and Lib Dems monitors these blogs can I remind them that the ONLY issue that they need to reach accord on is the economy. All other differences pale into insignificance for the next 2 years.

    Without a solution to this we all have nothing and that includes the politicians.

    This is the biggest crisis since WW2 and is beyond politics.
    This is a moment for statemanship of the highest order. Are you ready for this Messrs Clegg & Cameron?

    All our futures are at stake.

  • Comment number 99.

    re #7
    Yes, about the out front creators of New Labour, you are right although there was the other guy, not in Westminster - Young, was it? But Brown was always tacked onto Blair's shoulder; even from early on I recall people talking about a 'dream ticket'. And what about Meacher? He had some influence, did he not, as something of a past reformer and a bridge between old and new?

  • Comment number 100.

    6. At 6:04pm on 09 May 2010, David wrote:
    "Three of the architects of New Labour - Gordon Brown, Peter Mandelson, Alastair Campbell"

    And not one of them was elected. Doesn't that say soemthing about the desperate state of NuLabour...

    I do wish there was a way to stop children posting on this web.

    Brown was elected by his constituents like all MPs
    Mandelson is not the first member of the House of Lords to be part of a Government and unless we get electoral reform he will not be the last.
    When has any party been required to have their ex-press secretary elected?

    Brown is doing what is constitutionally proper. When he is clear that he cannot form a minority government and Cameron can he will go.


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