Labour prepares to ‘bow out of government’

Liberal Democrats and Conservatives edging towards deal, sources say

• The Liberal Democrats are poised to agree a power-sharing deal with the Conservatives, sources in both parties have said.

• David Cameron expected to become Prime Minister tomorrow. Reports that Nick Clegg will be his deputy.

Andrew Porter
Telegraph [UK]
11 May 2010

In yet another apparent about face, Lib Dem sources said they believed they expected the party leadership was likely to reject an agreement with Labour.

Lib Dems yesterday opened up talks with Labour.

But at a meeting late last night, some Lib Dem MPs shifted back towards a Tory deal.

One senior Lib Dem said: “There is a sense that the party has realised that the Conservative deal is the best deal on offer. The Tories are desperate and they’ve improved their offer a lot.

“As long as the party can get over the emotional hurdle of backing the Tories, that’s where we’ll end up.”…

…Lib Dem MPs will meet again later today to discuss their options.

Indications have already emerged that any deal with the Tories would be an awkward one. After Gordon Brown disclosed last night that Nick Clegg had made overtures towards him while simultaneously courting David Cameron, senior Conservatives hit out.

Lord Heseltine, a former Tory Cabinet minister, claimed Mr Brown’s attempted deal with the Lib Dems was “party politics at its most sordid”.

He added: “This is mind blowing. I don’t know how anyone would have such a barefaced nerve as to put such a proposition in the circumstances. The only viable solution is for David Cameron to become the prime minister.”

A senior shadow cabinet minister said: “This is clear treachery on Nick Clegg’s part. He was saying one thing to us and planning another with Brown.”

Meanwhile, Lord Ashdown, a close friend of Mr Clegg described the Conservatives as “rabidly anti-European”, and suggested that in return for the stability of an alliance with Mr Cameron, the Lib Dems could be compromising on “the programme that is best for the country.”

The Tories tried to counter Mr Brown’s offer to the Liberal Democrats by offering new concessions last night…

The complete article is at the Telegraph.

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