Two big reasons a Tory-Lib Dem coalition is unlikely after this election


3:36 pm - April 30th 2015

by Sunny Hundal    


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Nick Clegg clearly wants another coalition with the Conservatives. And I’m fairly sure Cameron recognises the necessity of carrying on their tolerable relationship. And a lot of people in Westminster assume the two will be joined at the hip when negotiating post-election.

But I don’t think it will be that straightforward.

Firstly, it won’t be easy from the Conservative side. Theresa May and Boris Johnson want their shot at being leader of the party and neither have time to waste. Neither want to wait another five years either, when more of the recent crop of Tories will want their shot.

Tory leadership hopefuls could make the argument to colleagues that another coalition would undermine the Tory party and force them to break more promises. Besides, Cameron has shown himself incapable of winning elections outright, so why not get rid of him and get a proper leader who will win in 5 years time? – they will say.

Many Tories, who will not want the straightjacket of another coalition, will find that a seductive pitch and may reject another coalition.

Secondly, its not a done and dusted deal from the Lib Dem side either. For a start, Clegg has to get approval from his fellow MPs and party members, and that won’t be as straightforward this time.

There will be far more hostility from Lib Dems this time, for good reasons. These are some points made to me by Steffan John (@steffanjohn) over Twitter. I’m quoting him directly without embedding tweets to make it look cleaner:

1) Maths for majority isn’t there.
2) Even if a small majority was, no national interest in unstable government with 4yr leadership contest.
3) 2010 had financial crisis backdrop and 4) threat of swift re-election. Neither there this time, so less pressure on Lib Dems
5) 2010 had common ground on civil liberties, localisation, constitutional reform, environment, raising tax thresh. All gone.
6) Labour not hated as it was in 2010; Tories far more Right-wing now. LD won’t support again, esp. as Lab-LD-(SNP) is possible

Steffan John is a Lib Dem and makes some good points.

And here is Vince Cable’s former SpAd Giles Wilkes

There is, I think, a real chance Lib Dems will reject a coalition with Cameron, especially if there are signs of hostility from Tory MPs (stirred up by May and Boris).

That clears the way for Miliband to be Prime Minister, with Lib Dems choosing to either work in a coalition or sit on the sidelines, while the Conservatives choose their next leader.

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Story Filed Under: Blog ,Conservative Party ,Labour party ,Libdems ,Westminster

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Reader comments


1. John Rennie

If Clegg loses his seat, who will be the other LDs pushing for a coalition with the Tories?

1 – Assuming that Danny Alexander also loses his seat, it’ll be David Laws and Jeremy Browne in the vanguard. I’m hoping that the LibDems’ party membership vetoes any deal with the Tories, but that’s assuming that there are any left who aren’t Orange Book-ers..


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