There’s zero chance of Nick Clegg cutting a deal with David Cameron on boundary changes in exchange for party reform — that’s the firm message I’ve got from some of those closest to the Lib Dem leader in response to my post last night, Nick Clegg should say no to any link between state funding and boundary changes.
It’s pretty rare for in-the-know Lib Dems to contact me unprompted about a story and to refute it in no uncertain terms: we’re just not that kind of a top-down party. So when I get various messages with outright denials that there’s any truth to Ben Brogan’s claim in the Telegraph that such a deal might be struck I take it seriously. Just as I take seriously their point that this is deliberate mischief-making by the right-wing press to try and instigate divisions within Lib Dem ranks. And just as I take seriously also their point that Nick Clegg is trying to show real leadership on reform to party funding by ensuring that it is in no way tied to any form of party-political advantage, including and especially anything that could benefit the Lib Dems.
In my own defence, I said the Torygraph article was most likely August silly-season ‘kite-flying’. The push-back I’ve had to that is that by quoting it on LibDemVoice at all it gives it a legitimacy it doesn’t deserve. Which is a fair enough criticism, and one I’m happy to acknowledge here.
* Stephen Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, and editor of the 2013 publication, The Coalition and Beyond: Liberal Reforms for the Decade Ahead. He is also a Research Associate for the liberal think-tank CentreForum and writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.