Nick Clegg has given the biggest signal yet that the Lib Dems are unlikely to reach a deal with the Conservatives, and that the departure of Gordon Brown paves the way for a progressive alliance with the Labour Party. He released the following statement:
"The talks with the Conservatives have been very constructive and I
am grateful to David Cameron and his team for the effort they have put
"But so far we have been unable to agree a comprehensive
partnership agreement for a full Parliament.
"We need a government
that lasts, which is why we believe, in the light of the state of talks
with the Conservative
Party, the only responsible thing to do is to open discussions with
the Labour Party to secure a stable partnership agreement.
will of course continue our discussions with the Conservative Party to
see if we can find a way to a full agreement. Gordon Brown has taken a
difficult personal decision in the national interest.
"And I think
without prejudice to the talks that will now happen between Labour and
the Liberal Democrats, Gordon Brown's decision is an important element
which could help ensure a smooth transition to the stable government
that everyone deserves."
I feel that a partnership between the Lib Dems and the Labour party is far more natural an alliance than a Lib Dem/Conservative partnership given the Lib Dem's commitment to Europe, taxing the rich and stimulating the economy. Other than ID cards and tax cuts for the poor, there is little the two parties agree on. While it would mean another unelected leader (David Miliband looks likely to take the reigns from Brown), it should be remembered that not party has a direct mandate to govern and the Tories did not do enough to win the election despite doing better than the other parties. A Lib Dem/Labour coalition would only make sense if electoral reform were dealt with quickly and another general election was called within 6 months to ensure the British people have a say over who their prime minister is.