What should the party do next? Have your say by 2pm on Saturday

On Saturday afternoon the party’s Federal Executive is meeting to discuss how the party should handle the Parliamentary situation. There’s no pre-set, universally supported answer to this so the FE’s discussion is going to be meaningful and important. It’s only one part of the party’s consultative process, which also includes – for example – a meeting of the Parliamentary Party. But it does mean that now is an excellent time to let the FE know your views.

Because many members of the Federal Executive are scattered around the country – sleeping, travelling back from election counts, making their way to London and so on – the FE members may be hard to get hold of and many will not necessarily be checking their emails frequently.

Therefore, in order to ensure that people have a chance to send in a view that will be read before the meeting, we’ve agreed with the Party President Ros Scott a special email address – [email protected] – which can be used to email in your views. A member of staff will collate all the messages and make sure that they are drawn to the attention of Ros and also reported to the members of the FE in time for their discussion.

A few tips when emailing this address:

  • Don’t use it for an email to which you need a personal, direct reply as, given the short timescales, that isn’t going to be possible for every message sent to the address
  • Given the pressures of time, short and concise messages are likely to be more effective than 12 pages essays
  • As with letter writing or lobbying more generally, saying in full who you are and where you’re from is likely to add to the impact of the message
  • Please send your message as soon as possible
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396 Comments

  • Rachel Cusick 7th May '10 - 4:33pm

    I will never vote Lib Dem again if Mr Clegg jumps into bed with the Tories!

  • Sorry to hear that Rachel, but the party has to be grown up and deal with the circumstances as they are not as we would like them to be. No good taking our bat away and refusing to play. For every one who feels like you there will be another saying the same except re dealing with Mr Brown. To respond to that by doing nothing is the way to madness and political irresponsibility.

  • please don’t be fooled into thinking that the Tories offer a real prospect of electoral reform… they’re dangling a plastic carrot – looks ok but you can’t exactly eat it… if we back the tories in any kind of formal coalition we will be selling ourselves down the river in terms of so many of our supporters – we are unlikely to be forgiven for a long time.

    While not totally incompatible in economic policy terms, in social, foreign and defence terms we are poles apart. I’m not saying we should leap into bed with Labour – there are major dangers there too, and we may be better standing back and letting the tories have a bash as a minority, backing and blocking with others as necessary.

  • Harley,
    Forom a purely practical point of view tying up to GB does not provide a majority on its own so no guarantee we would get want we want anyway. A little bit of humility is required by us I think, after all whatever the iniquities of the electoral system we were still 3rd in votes and the tories 1st. So we can’t expect to get all that we want from anybody.

  • @ harley
    i agree – we have much more in common with Labour, and they need us more – the other small parties are also more likely to go with this. It will also protect northern ireland from a Con/UUP deal which could be disastrous

  • I am not a member of the LibDem party, but I agree with the party’s policies that were laid out in the manifesto.

    In my opinion, the only consideration now should be how to achieve fundmental reform of the electoral system to secure proportional representation. Any deal with the Tories that does not include this would be a complete sell out for short term personal gain on the part of the LibDem leadership.

    Whether the party is ideologically closer to the Conservatives or Labour is ultimately somehting for the Liberal Democrat party to sort out for itself, but the British people have the right to a fair and properly representative voting system.

    If the LibDems really believe that the implementation of their policies is the best thing for Britain and in the long-term national interest, then they have a duty to both themselves and the country to do everything possible to ensure that, in the future, the views of the 23% of the electorate who voted LibDem have a corresponding representation.

    The results of the election were disappointing. However, despite having won less that 60 seats, the LibDems already have an offer from Brown of electoral reform. Unless the Tories are prepared to offer the same, the LibDems must work with Labour to achieve this change. Once this has been done the two party monopoly of power will be broken and the LibDems will be able to wield real influence in how Britain is governed in the future.

    If this historic opportunity to change the voting system is wasted it will be an unforgivable betrayal of both the British people and the Liberal Democrat party.

  • If Clegg thinks he has more in common with the Conservatives than Labour, he doesn’t deserve any place in any government. End of. And I’ll add my name to the list of people who will never vote Lib Dem again if there’s a Lib-Con alliance.

  • I agree that working with labour would be preferable, but that would not actually give enough seats to form a government :( The tory offer seems a bit rubbish to me, electoral reform has got to be key along with lib dem representation on any cabinet

  • For the party to advocate PR but also rule out the possibility of ever governing with one of the parties seems to me to be sheer idiocy. If the Tories are willing to negotiate then the Lib Dems must listen and carefully consider their offer. There are dangers with taking the Tory shilling but there are also serious dangers in refusing to do so as it would undermine the case for PR in itself suggesting that it is unrealistic for parties to be able to work together in this country. Cameron must shift on the question of electoral reform though. FPTP with a proportional top up?

  • Surley the 3 SDLP MPs will take the Labour whip and the Alliance MP the Lib Dem whip.

    As the speaker, his two deputies and the 5 Sein Fein MPs don’t vote, the crucial number is 320.

    A deal with Labour is possible.

    It is probably better to have a proper coalition deal with Cabinet ministers an agreed programme and time scale or no deal at all.

    A bit to strategic thinking is needed. The next election fought on Alternate vote would either hugely strengthen the lib dem hand in negotiations and hasten the case for PR, without the lib Dems beeing seen as entirely self-interested.

    The deal on “reforming politics” could have other elements – an elected Lords chosen by STV, STV in local elections.

  • Because Nick Clegg told, that the biggest party should have the first go to form a government, negotiate with the Conservatives. If they can offer an electoral reform leading to a PR system, make a deal with them. If not, call the negotiations off. Then negotiate with Labour. If they can’t make a satisfying offer either, withdraw from negotiation, and tell that the Tories and Labour should form a government between the two of them.

    Don’t sell yourselves cheap. If you make a deal without PR, you’ll probably be punished in the next election. If you can get a deal about PR, you’ll probably get more seats even if you would get less votes. If you stay firm, but can’t get a deal, at least everybody knows that the Lib Dems are the party of principle, which probably will benefit you in the next election.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 7th May '10 - 8:33pm

    “For the party to advocate PR but also rule out the possibility of ever governing with one of the parties seems to me to be sheer idiocy.”

    This argument is being put forward quite a lot, but it ignores the rather obvious fact that we don’t have PR yet. Nor do we have fixed term parliaments.

    If the Lib Dems aren’t able to achieve electoral reform now, it may be a very long time before they have another chance.

  • I will be totally ashamed if the Lib Dems Cohort in anyway with the Conservative Party.

    I will cancel my membershir and never vote lib dem again.

    The party will be stictched up over PR and fooled in to thinking it will happen, The Conservatives will call a snap election before we get PR sorted and the torries will get a majority

    We are going to look like complete idiots

    Labour is the only (if not perfect choice)

  • Mark. I could not have put it better. The progressive block will never forgive the lib-dem if it makes a deal with the Tories. I am hoping that Nick Clegg has to show the nation that he gave the Tories first opportunity to form a coalition; and can consequently be in a position to indicate that the Tories refused to agree on electoral reform. Nick clegg can then negotiate with Labour whilst leaving Cameron with the responsibility of failing to form a government.

    Any deal with the Tories will be a betrayal of he progressive block.

  • If the Lib Dems are serious about PR then they need to get use to working with people, even people they wouldn’t normally deal with!

    Like many other Lib Dems I have a deep dis-trust of the Tories, but I’m also no big fan of Labour. Some movement from the Tories on electoral reform is a must, but PR is too far for the Tories so a happy medium is a must! A deal with Labour would also require The Nationals and others, at what cost, and it’s sure to fail, leaving us nowhere.

    To deal with the Tories may seem like selling our soul to the devil, but its the best of a bad situation, and if it works it may change the mind of some Tories to back PR.

    Remember the saying, “You Cant Keep Everyone Happy, All of The Time”, so lets play the long game, and push for changes in the Tax System and Electoral Reform!

    Good Luck Nick!

  • Vote required to elect an MP

    Conservatives: 35,021
    Labour: 33,338
    Liberal Democrat: 119,397

    Electoral fraud. No agreement without PR. Especially with the Tory scum.

  • Andrea Gill 7th May '10 - 8:42pm

    I would prefer a Lib/Lab/SNP/Plaid etc. “rainbow coalition” with a few key cabinet seats for Lib Dems, electoral reform/PR and some compromise on policies, but can’t see that working with Brown as PM. I accept though that it isn’t up to us or Nick Clegg to decide on the leader of another party.

    Having said that, I have no doubt Nick, with his experience in negotiating international trade contracts, will fight hard to get the very best deal for the Liberal Democrat party as well as the country as a whole, within the constraints imposed on him.

  • The public needs a referendum on electoral reform but there is a more pressing issue which is being ignored here which is the budget deficit. It would be in the national interest to have a strong united government ready to tackle Britain’s debt. In my opinion Labour have lost their mandate to govern by coming second in seats and the popular vote so that only leaves one choice. It doesn’t seem fair to prop up a government which finished second. Form a coalition with the Conservatives for a period of 2 years on the condition that electoral reform will take place and then have another election.

  • To all those above who threaten,’ If Nick does this or that – I’m leaving & not voting Lib Dem again’, please understand that we will have to deal with ‘others’ now or in the future if we want Lib Dem policies put into action – politics can be a dirty business, but we must either hang together or…………………..
    I’m in the Lib Dems to really change things not talk about it from the side lines.

  • I have voted Lib Dems all my life as have my family but feel completely betrayed by the fact that Nick Clegg is even considering an alliance with the Conservatives, what is he thinking? I truly am livid at the prospect of such an alliance and I know the Lib Dem supporters I have talked with feel the same way. I personally would never vote for the Lib Dems again if they do go along with the Conservatives and I know my family feel the same, so if many of the Lib Dems loyal supporters feel betrayed he really could lose long term support for his party by doing this. I can’t see why he isn’t first attempting an alliance with Labour who we at least have more in common with. Emma

  • Andrea Gill 7th May '10 - 9:00pm

    Given the choice between a Tory minority government and a Lib/Con pact of sorts, I would however always vote for some level of active involvement especially with perhaps a few cabinet seats, because this is a huge chance to get more involved, to balance the Tory policies and bring about electoral reform, WITHOUT necessarily having to take responsibility for having had to make those cuts that will inevitably come in the near future.

    I would also like to see the £10K tax threshold and other compromises on tax structures incorporated in any deal, be that with Labour or Conservatives.

    *getting off my soap box*

  • If Clegg jumps into bed with Labour – I will resign my membership and never vote Lib Dem again – nah nah nah – only joking – but some of us are fighting Labour up ere in North – come on – lets be a little grown up.
    Legislation on electoral reform must be there.

  • Kate Willshaw 7th May '10 - 9:04pm

    I’ve replied and said that any agreement must come with electoral reform as the price.

    No PR, No Deal

  • We can’t go to Labour first because Clegg has said all along the party with the most seats etc…. I note Jim Wallace has appeared on the scene, good.

    Let us see what the Tory party offers, there maybe a way of getting an elected HoL (Cameron is quite comfortable with that) then a two stage move to PR as one poster alluded to above. Firstly FPTP (say 450 seats) with a PR top up (100) to get the Commons down to 550, the a referendum on a STV Open list basis which will evolve from the top up. The Cons will have the right to campaign against of course.

    The bottom line is that if there is an election within 6mths it could be a long way back. The party cannot afford it and the public will despise us.

  • There are very few points to consider in this matter.
    1. Many supporters, myself included, are lured into voting Lib Dem once every 5 years because we feel that there may actually be a chance to break the stranglehold that Labour and Conservatives hold over the electoral system. We are always disappointed.
    2. Large numbers of supporters consider Tory values to be totally unacceptable.
    3. It would appear that the majority of English voters do not want a Labour Government.
    There are few compromises that are even remotely survivable as a party. Sacrifices will have to be made and compromising our belifs and values will result in the total destruction of our credibility, if any still remains.

    I would suggest that we should consider the following course of action.
    We cannot entertain propping up a Labour Government under any circumstances. We can only support a Tory Government if they promise, and deliver, certain conditions:
    a. The coalition will last for a maximum period of 6 months or less.
    b. UK-wide referrendum on implementation of STV Proportional Representation within 6 months to be held in 1 months time. A “Yes” vote to be implemented immediately and within6 month coalition period.
    c. No promise of whipped support. All votes are to be “Free”.

    Should any of these conditions not be acceptable then we offer no support and force an immediate election.

  • Andrew Suffield 7th May '10 - 9:14pm

    People keep posturing about what they will do about a “Lib Dem-Tory alliance”. This is a pretty unrealistic scenario. We are not likely to see any kind of coalition government here.

    What we are likely to see is a “confidence and supply” deal – no support for legislation, but their party is allowed to operate as a minority government, because the Lib Dems will back them on confidence votes and finance bills – but that’s all. No matter how offensive a party’s beliefs are to you, a minority government can’t pass any bills without cross-party support, so they are not a huge threat.

    That’s still a deal that they both want, and it’s still something that they will be willing to make concessions for. If either of them is willing to offer something really important, like a serious commitment to electoral reform, then it’s worth it no matter who offers it.

    Saying “I will never vote Lib Dem again if they take an offer like that” just identifies you as somebody more interested in partisan fights than in what the Lib Dems stand for.

  • Douglas McLellan 7th May '10 - 9:20pm

    In my response I have advocated a coalition with the Tories if there is a clear and unequivocal commitment to a referendum on electoral reform.

    For those decrying a coation with the Tories I ask these questions – have you read our manifesto? have you read their manifesto? Are you involved in politics to get positive policies enacted? If yes, then a Tory coalition is an acceptable position to look at.

    Narrow tribalism against the Tories actually means you did not believe what we were campaiging for at a national level. So why are you a Lib Dem?

    Simple really.

  • I think Nick Clegg is in a very difficult no-win situation. My heart tells me a coalition with Labour but I can see the downsides and agree with much of what Andrew Suffield has posted. At the end of the day, politics is about the art of compromise. After all, all parties themselves are coalitons of opinions.

    Question to those who say they won’t vote the LibDems again. Who will you vote for or will you abstain?

  • 8 million people voted for Liberal and NOT Conservative and NOT Labour. I know its a chance for Liberal Democrates to get some sort of voice for their constituents, but in reality, Voters this year thought that for once we were voting to choose between three parties and not the two that have let us down, over and over again.

    Begging no for the co-alition. Please do not make us disaffected voters that came out of the woodwork to vote Liberal lose our faith in another party.

    L6

  • Peter Scott 7th May '10 - 9:30pm

    As a first time voter who voted Lib Dem I think a lot of you are missing the point here.

    The electorate as a whole have rejected Mr Brown and Labour and want to see a Conservative led coalition. That is clear from the results. If the Lib Dems truly believe in being FAIR you have to acknowledge this.

    If you reject what seems to me and, I would think, the wider public, as a very fair offer from Mr Cameron (whether it is or isn’t) for narrow Party reasons when the country is crying out for a strong coalition government with a solid majority willing to act in the national interest then the Lib Dems will get the blame for endangering our nation.

    A “coalition of the losers” as someone called it is not really an option for me, partly as Labour has been so convincingly rejected and partly because a Lab/Lib Dem coalition just wouldn’t have a proper majority. Making a deal involving Nationalists or the DUP is not an option I fear as their price is too high.

    One thing I think is very wrong is the difference in constituency size. How come electorates differ from 21,000 to 110,000 each electing one MP? That is certainly not fair!

  • To second Rachel but to make it less about individuals; Scotland and the North of England will never vote for us again if we jump into bed with the Tories. The only thing the reputation hit of either propping up Brown or shoring up Cameron is worth would be a fair electoral system; no nonsense. No AV. No AV+. No party lists. No ‘committees to look into it’. Proper multi-member constituency STV.

    @Karl Abel – The lack of whipped support would make it a confidence and supply arrangement, not a coalition.

  • I agree totally with Mark above about the prime importance of GETTING THE REFERENDUM ON PR IN PLACE.

    Mr Brown has offered this on a plate. Mr Cameron has set his face against it. ( A Committee to report indeed ! ).

    Plus there are quite a few Labour ministers and parliamentarians who are longstanding supporters of PR so even if for Brown it was a deathbed conversion his colleagues are still more likely to prove trustworthy on the issue than is a Party which ( as it is perfectly entitled to do ) strongly opposed PR.

    What happened to Clegg’s BRAIN during the campaign ? What is the logical or moral theory underpinning the idea that the minority party with most votes / seats has some kind of ‘right’ to form a Government ?

    The only Party with such a ‘right’ would be one with 50% plus 1 – and no such Party exists.

    What is more important is that a substantial majority of the electorate did indeed vote for Parties which support PR ( or a referendum on such as in Labour’s case).

    Surely that voting majority has its own right to expect that the Parties they voted for will now get together at least for as long as necessary to at last change the vilely unfair voting system ? Everything else can wait a year or so. We need the version of PR which allows voters to not only vote for a Party but also prioritize in order of preference the candidates on that Party’s List.

    The real problem is that Cleggy shot off his mouth a few times too often during the campaign and now he’s afraid of looking inconsistent if he goes into alliance with Mr Brown. Well, having come a poor third, despite getting a good hearing, he’ll just have to eat a bit of humble pie : the idea that just because he has a personal dislike of Brown because of some slight or other, real or imagined, he will construct great theories to obstruct the obvious : a temporary alliance of Lib and Lab in Government to get PR through – is just repellant.

    He disguised the privileged, entitlement, publicschoolboy arrogance quite well at first but half way through the campaign it showed through – maybe that had a lot to do with the falling back in the vote. Maybe that’s what he and Cameron have in common after all.

    Yes Brown ‘lost’ the election – but only on the same basis that Cameron lost it, as did Clegg.

  • I don’t mind if the Lib Dems work with the Tories for the good of the country, but never at the price of electoral reform. The Lib Dems should try and negotiate the best deal they can for Labour and Liberal voters with the Tories. If they are able to agree a deal which includes electoral reform then fine. If not then they should tell the Tories that they plan to take 24 hours to think about it.

    At this point they should go in front of the press and simply state they are ready to work with the Conservatives in a strong coalition as long as they promise to let the people decide on electoral reform in a referendum or they will have no option to start talk with Labour on a minority government. They should say they are offering a full term parliament deal to satisfy the financial markets contingent on letting the people decide in a referendum.

    The onus would then be on the Tories to explain why they can’t let the people decide what electoral system they want and why they are against having a deal which would be in the interests of stability!

    For me there can be no deal without at least some electoral reform.

  • @Vicky M – People voted Liberal Democrat because they liked our candidates or they liked our policies, key amongst the latter being the promise of electoral reform. Peace, reform and liberation be our triune aspiration, and all that jazz.

  • Tric Worrall 7th May '10 - 9:32pm

    As a staunch supporter of the Hunting Ban, I would welcome the Lib Dems coalition with Labour, who fully support the Ban, unlike the Tories, who wish to lift the Hunting Ban and return us back to barbarism,. The Lib Dems coalition with the Tories would thus prove them a barbaric party, electorial reform is not worth this and the lives of our wildlife is far more important, the Lib Dems will live either way, much of our wildlife will only live one way, Labours way.

  • Andrea Gill 7th May '10 - 9:33pm

    I am coming round to the Lib/Con side, but I do trust Nick Clegg to negotiate the best possible deal for both the Liberal Democrat party and the country as a whole.

  • There is so much balls and disinformation on here:
    1. Where has Clegg ruled out going to Labour – he hasn’t.
    2. Where has Clegg agreed jumping into bed with the Tories – he hasn’t.
    3. Where has Clegg sold our souls down the river re: PR – he hasn’t.

    Stop taling your cues from talking heads on rolling 24rhr bollocks. These are commentators not those who are in the know, closeted away (with Chris Huhne amongst them).

    Let us wait and see as one thing is for certain – if there is another election in 6mths time, we will not be in a position to fight it and will get a pasting.

  • Peter Scott 7th May '10 - 9:38pm

    Sorry, just to add: If you look at Tory blogsites they’re just as unhappy about the prospect of a coalition. Call Cameron’s bluff if it is one and create a government which will represent the will of the people if not the Party activists!!

  • Thean Gry-Squirrel 7th May '10 - 9:43pm

    Somebody on the box observed that the Lib Dems were a party of parties – so whatever Nick does he will piss some people/members off. PR in multi-member constituencies should be non-negotiable and if the Tories will allow a referendum on this then fine – I suspect the great unwashed will reject any PR referendum anyway but at least the issue will go away for a while.

  • It’s right that the party should investigate the chances of governing with either major party. I don’t understand those who say never with the tories – if we are only allowed to make arrangement with Labour what is the point of being an independent political party? Some speak as if we are just a transitional arrangement waiting for reconciliation with Labour. Well, personally I do not think that. We are independent and entitled to discuss arrangements with any other group. It happens that an arrangement with Cameron (of course on acceptable terms) would provide stability which the country really needs.

  • Joe Donnelly 7th May '10 - 9:49pm

    After much thought, I have decided that for myself, the rainbow coalition is best. It would need to be long term (years not months) but what it could achieve would be phenomenal, reshaping Britain forever. I think if the coalition held strong we could just ignore the Tories and their press for a while. The only issue is how we would divide up, Home secretary, foreign secretary and Chancellor (oh and the little issue of who would be PM).

  • Having to now been a lifelong Labour voter I completely shifted my votes yesterday, parliamentary, mayoral and council, to the LibDems, in the expectation that there would be a hung parliament and that a LibDem-Labour arrangement would be both the most obvious and the most beneficial outcome for this country.
    I could never support the Conservative party on deeply-held moral grounds, I truly believe they are bad for the ordinary folk of Britain, and would be sick as a pig if the LibDems entered into an arrangement to put David Cameron in 10 Downing Street.

  • Don’t make me laugh (something said to a ninny on Any Questions trying to defend the Hutton Report). He said the larger Parliamentary Party, even without an outright majority, had the moral right to form a Government.

    Clegg’s crashed and burned, and now would prop-up the Tories. At least have the courage to admit to this.

    Indeed. The party with the most votes and the most seats had the right to try and form a government. Where you have made the connection between that and propping up the Tory party only the Lord knows. Please look up the word “try” as well.

    Are we being invaded by labour types this evening?

  • @Alec: No. He said they had the moral right to TRY to form the government. That’s why he’s entered into talks with the Conservatives first. There’s a difference between letting David Cameron make his offer first and ruling Labour out completely.

  • British politics is all about Policies, and what better way to get your policies passed (or at least taken seriously) than being part of the leading coalition?

    Political Parties aren’t tribes, they are meant to enact change in the running of the country.

    Do the deal Nick, get PR (or something close) and get some LibDem policies put into action.

  • The liberal democrats are supposed to be a progressive party, i personally will never vote for them again if they do this deal with the tories, the only thing worth it to join the tories would be voting reform at least AV perfereably more, tax rises on the rich, (not tax cuts!) and and cabinate posts, significant ones where important policys can be influenced. Labour can offer all of this ! Voting reform is the holy grail, it is a game changer for the future and even if it costs us half our vote for joining with brown it would be worth it it would change politics for the future while any losses would mearely be short term.

  • Andy Harrison 7th May '10 - 10:16pm

    Throughout the long hard years of campaigning we have placed our trust in Nick. He has led us well and took us to new height in the polls if not electoral victory. We’re now at a cross roads in political history with the first hung parliament in decades where real political reform can take place. Now is the time to say, Nick we trust you, you are there negotiating for all of us and we have the faith in you to do what is right to deliver the best you can as a true Liberal Democrat. I’m backing Nick, are you?

  • All this “I’ll never vote LibDem again!” stuff is rubbish!! Grow up!

    If you want to be in power you have to make hard choices some times. If you want to remain a pure party without ever forming a coalition or deal then you’ll always be out of power…watching from the sidelines, angry at the world.

    Trust in Nick. Give him space to do the deal.

  • Peter Scott 7th May '10 - 10:23pm

    #
    Tim Dumps
    Posted 7th May 2010 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

    It’s right that the party should investigate the chances of governing with either major party. I don’t understand those who say never with the tories – if we are only allowed to make arrangement with Labour what is the point of being an independent political party?

    Can someone answer this question, please? I’m really beginning to wonder whether I should have voted LD if your minds are so closed. I thought I was voting for a Party which believed in Fairness and wanted to help Britain get out of the mess Labour has made. If you all love Brown and hate the Conservatives so much why didn’t you join Labour?

  • “The liberal democrats are supposed to be a progressive party, i personally will never vote for them again if they do this deal with the tories, the only thing worth it to join the tories would be voting reform at least AV perfereably more, tax rises on the rich, (not tax cuts!) and and cabinate posts, significant ones where important policys can be influenced. Labour can offer all of this !”

    *cynic mode on* If they were so progressive why did not AC come round sooner, or was it the prospect of imminent defeat which brought the Labour party round *cynic mode off*

    We have had ducks and drakes from this “progressive” party before….

  • Roy Henderson 7th May '10 - 10:25pm

    It is a dilemma, but also an opportunity. Labour might offer the best deal for the Lib-Dems, but Brown was not elected as PM and it is Cameron who has the biggest mandate. If the Lib-Dems decide to support either party, then it must be on rigorous terms. I would suggest as an absolute minimum, a clear commitment to electoral reform and a senior cabinet post (e.g. Vince Cable as Chancellor of the Exchequer). Nick Clegg is in a position of strength and the other parties must accede to these policies if they want power.

  • Jump into bed with neither……. prop up a conservative gov for around 12 to 18 months in opposition. Negotiate with the Labour party, before the election, that will occur then. Ensure there is PR if both left of centre parties get in, which they will in a year, with Milliband at the head of labour. With PR we can have a centre left coalition for the next 20 years which truly reflect what most of the people in this country want. This result could be used to marginalise the Tories….. sofly softly catch the monkey.

    A LibLab government without a magority making unpoular decisions would be blitzed by the Tories in the election that would soon follow. Let the Tories hang themselves with their own rope !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • ive been waiting for 30 yrs for a chance for PR and “NICK ” if you stich me up you will lose my vote for ever,
    this must end two party poltics for the future of our children and closer ties with europe.
    power two the people.

  • We have to be realistic and play the long game: the poor results for Lib Dems means we’re in no position to demand PR from the tories or form a viable lib/lab/snp/plaid cymru/green/sinn fein/independent coalition. it just ain’t gonna happen.

    So, whether its a tory/lib coalition or a minority tory government with Libs voting case-by-case (more preferable) the KEY issue is they have to make this hung (sorry Nick, balanced) parliament work – if it’s a disaster and falls apart it weakens the argument for PR. People in a referendum will not vote for electoral reform if all they see is politicians kicking lumps out of each other rather than negotiating and working together.

    Let the Labour party junk the toxic brown, elect a more progressive leader who will win back some of the northern/midlands seats and THEN in a couple of years time we have a realistic chance of what could potentially be a game changing coalition.

  • LaSimplicite 7th May '10 - 10:40pm

    Feeling betrayed by the LibDems as we voted for them in Wells to get the Tories out , and it was a great success. But ironically they are more likely to get in bed with the Tories. If they end up doing so, that’s their LibDems values out of the windows, and that would be the end of voting the LibDems for us. I am sure many more LibDems voters would feel the same, and we could say bye bye to an electoral reform as there would never be another chance for the LibDems.

  • I was and am proud to vote lib dem yesterday.

    The cons could not be further from having similar manifestos.

    Lib dems will loose my respect and vote if they conform to the cons for the sake of false change.

    Let’s observe the vote share nationwide, this country’s majority is anti cons, even after millions spent on their campaign and a very undesirable series of events under labour reign.

    Please mr clegg, observe labour’s common ground and see there is true grounds for change

  • I have always voted LD. This election I have walked miles delivering lib dem leaflets while being pregnant, that is how important it was for Richard Burke to win my area of West Worcestershire, instead it went to an ex investment Tory banker to my disgust. I don’t trust the conservatives, PR is the only way to bring the fairness we need.

  • I think siding with the Conservatives would be a mistake. The impetus that has been behind the party, that has persuaded many voters of my generation to support the party, has been on the basis of the party embodying a progressive, fair voice in British politics.

    The Conservatives neither advocate progressive values or fairness. Nick Clegg quite clearly pointed out, on many occasions, that their priorities on tax have simply been completely at odds with the latter value.

    The Labour party cannot claim the mantle of progressive politics. ID cards, detention laws and an overly paternalistic attitude towards the individual are elements of their platform that the Lib Dems quite rightfully oppose. However, it cannot be denied the the Labour party do share our party’s commitment to fairness. When faced between a choice between the two parties, the vast majority of activists and supporters, that I know, would choose to do a deal with the Labour party.

    This is not an ideal state of affairs. Brown symbolises a party that is tired and out of ideas. We should insist that he walks away. I would then suggest supporting a politician from the progressive wing of the Labour party to take over at the helm of the country and forming a fixed-one year deal with Labour. The priorities of the new government should be financial recovery and constitutional change (including the electoral system and the House of Lords). After this year has finished, and the objectives have been completed, an election can be called.

  • Don’t form with the Tories! Please?
    It’s ridiculous, i’m only 16, but i wish i could vote.
    Most of the sixth formers at my college would have voted Lib Dems if they were old enough.
    We deserve to be heard too!
    We’re the ones studying politics, we want to make a difference.
    Cameron seems like he is lying through his teeth!

  • Peter Scott 7th May '10 - 11:06pm

    I am gutted that I voted LD yesterday. Had I known that you are really just a section of the Labour Party with no interest in listening to the desires of the electorate I wouldn’t have bothered. The attitude of the vast majority of the posters here who don’t even want to let Mr Clegg negotiate with the winners of the election (and let’s face it, in the eyes of the electorate the Tories won) astounds me.

    You don’t deserve to be in government and now that I know what you’re like I can see why people tell me a Liberal vote is a wasted vote.

  • Paul McKeown 7th May '10 - 11:08pm

    @Ross
    >>>If the Lib Dems are serious about PR then they need to get use to working with people, even people they wouldn’t normally deal with! Like many other Lib Dems I have a deep dis-trust of the Tories, but I’m also no big fan of Labour. Some movement from the Tories on electoral reform is a must, but PR is too far for the Tories so a happy medium is a must! A deal with Labour would also require The Nationals and others, at what cost, and it’s sure to fail, leaving us nowhere. To deal with the Tories may seem like selling our soul to the devil, but its the best of a bad situation, and if it works it may change the mind of some Tories to back PR. Remember the saying, “You Cant Keep Everyone Happy, All of The Time”, so lets play the long game, and push for changes in the Tax System and Electoral Reform!

    Ross,

    I agree with pretty much what you have said here. We need to show that collaborative politics can work here in the United Kingdom. If that means doing a deal with the Tories, so be it. If that means that we lose some members and supporters on the left, that is just the price we have to pay for being grown ups. For me the important point is to fight hard for our Liberal Democratic agenda and to promote as large a part of our manifesto as far as we can. For those on the left I would suggest that it is better for the Conservatives to be in government, but pinned back by the Liberal Democrats, curbing their worst excesses and dafter ideas, than for a Tory majority government to go on the full rampage.

    I would also say that our team should take a tough negotiating stance. Proportional representation is a sine qua non; if a deal is not on the table regarding that with the Conservatives, then we have three fallback positions.

    Firstly, we can do a deal with Labour, with the caveats that (a) Gordon Brown stands down as a failed Prime Minister and (b) Single Transferable Vote and a fixed term parliament of five years is subject to the Labour whip – I don’t trust Labour on this at all – and (c) an agreed agenda meeting much of our manifesto (and of course the Labour manifesto) can be agreed, timetabled and subject to the whip of both parties and (d) a sensible plan is drawn up to deal with potential roadblocks facing this minority government. I suspect that support from Naomi Long, Sylvia Hermon and the SDLP would be needed from the off. Important to note was Ian Paisley Jnr’s offer this evening to deal with either the Conservatives or Labour.

    Secondly, we can allow the Conservatives to form a minority government. They can be given confidence and supply and any bills that we fundamentally object to will simply be killed. This will result in an early general election, but to some degree this must also be a risk to the Conservatives as well as ourselves.

    Finally, we should not be afraid to go nuclear. If no deal is available, then we must be prepared to face the electors again within 2 months or so. No one wants this, but it is important not to let the Conservatives think they can bully us with this prospect. This is a high risk option, but that applies to everyone.

    If any particular deal fails, we must be able to show the electors that we have dealt honestly and in good faith. If this requires normally confidential minutes to be published, to ensure that an accurate record is given to the public, then so be it. The thing is that I have a high degree of confidence in the honesty, good faith and good judgement of our top team.

    Single Transferable Vote or AV+ are an important red line. No deal without it, unless the Tories just want confidence and supply, which we would be prepared to give in the interest of the nation.

  • Julie Shooter 7th May '10 - 11:08pm

    I too voted Lib Dem to keep the Tories out of Bath. What a waste of a vote if the Lib Dems get into bed with the Tories!! It is such an absolutely ludicrous idea. Lots of people worked to help the Lib Dem campaign here and feel really cheated that the Lib Dems could even consider this. We are outraged in Bath!

  • Paul McKeown 7th May '10 - 11:11pm

    Finally I would like to say to Nick Clegg and his team, that there is no hurry, don’t be bounced into something, just because of the ticking of some Tory grandfather clock. A week or perhaps two is actually quite reasonable in order to achieve clarity and a stable government.

  • Keith got it right, Labour are no better than the tories, they’re two cheeks on the same arse. It’s a lose-lose situation. Go with tories, you can forget about PR, to their core they are fundamentally opposed. Go with Labour and you’re propping up a discredited government fronted by possibly the worst prime minister in British history.

  • I think Nick Clegg should angle for an elected House of Lords, elected by some form of PR (probably AMS since this country already has considerable experience of it) with fixed terms. That would probably be acceptable to the Tories as it wouldn’t challenge their supremacy in the House of Commons. It would also be beneficial because it would give all of the British public experience of PR.

  • Fraser Giles 7th May '10 - 11:24pm

    how about you all stop being so damn selfish.

    the markets are carping themselves, and the pound is plunging and all you talk about is PR!

    we need to sort this mess out with a strong stable coalition.

    I hear huhne/clegg/cable is going to be all part of the cabinet

  • Christopher 7th May '10 - 11:31pm

    If you do this you will betray everyone who voted for you, and those who didn’t vote tory, people are terrified of the tories getting in. If you sell out your policies and your ideals for a small bit of power. You will never get my vote again. You will never get anyone I knows vote again. You will fall back after the media coverage you get!

  • Bradley Colmans 7th May '10 - 11:31pm

    It really is simple. The only thing that matters is a guarantee for a referendum on PR. Nothing else matters. Its pointless just to accept a couple of cabinet posts as the system as it is, will just have Liberals looking in from the outside again, the next time. Saying that, a deal with the Tories just wont include a referendum, simply because no Conservative with any brains would sign up for that. It would mean that the Tories could be out of government for decades. All talk of committees to review it are meaningless
    So that leaves Labour and to me they are already offering it. Take it now and the whole landscape changes forever. It might actually mean the Liberals win the next election. We have seen polls in the last two elections that show that if people think the Liberals could win around 50% would vote that way. Does it matter if Labour throw in a few cabinet positions or even kick Brown out? No, whilst nice, its the long game that matters. In fact in some respects its better to get a deal on PR reform and not take posts in the Cabinet. We all know the next Parliament is going to be messy. Why not let Labour carry that?
    However rest assured the majority of Liberal supporters will never forgive Clegg if he made any sort of deal with Cameron without a firm pledge for a referendum on PR. No promises of a review, thats meaningless, as is this idea of Cameron to change the boundaries but keep FPTP. Thats exactly what they were going to do anyway.
    Please dont let this change to change our system go away. Who knows when the next one will happen if we allow Cameron to get his way with the support of Clegg. I say Clegg rather than the Liberal party because I dont believe he has any support for this within the party and might by doing a deal actually cause a split in the party which it may never recover from. I know I would never vote for the Liberals, a party I have supported all my adult life, whilst Clegg is the leader if he does a deal with Cameron. You all need to listen to your grassroots support and this will destroy the party, when the reality was Clegg could have won the keys to Electoral Reform.
    To me its a no brainer. Say no to Tories unless they agree to a referendum, nothing less, if not, make that deal with Labour.

  • Andrea Gill 7th May '10 - 11:32pm

    One thing to remember is that both Conservatives and Labour have voted against us on a lot of key issues. I’d MUCH rather see a “tempered” Conservative party balanced by a small but strong influence in the cabinet by the Liberal Democrat party, than endanger the country as a whole by letting the Tories rule untampered and risk having no say in decisions.

    I think Nick’s views on Europe are actually quite a parallel here, because I do agree with him that it’s better to be IN a body/organisation so you can make a difference, rather than distance yourself from that organisation/government and tut to yourself about the things you disagree with.

    We have a real chance here and I trust Nick to negotiate the best possible deal for the party and most importantly for the country.

  • Paul McKeown 7th May '10 - 11:35pm

    I would just like everyone to note that Labour / Lib Dem / SDLP / APNI / Sylvia Hermon = 258 + 57 + 3 + 1 + 1 = 320.
    This would be hard for the Conservatives with 306 to defeat. I really think Nick Clegg should drive a hard bargain. STV or no deal. I hope back channels are exploring what the Labour whips make of managing a 320 seat minority. Can they deliver?

  • After the disgraceful way the Tories campaigned in my area I would find it very hard to accept any deal with them

  • It will be a sad day for equality if Lib Dem get into bed with the Tories. I will lose all respect for the party.

  • The idea of a liberal / conservative deal is not necessarily a bad thing. You have to remember, Liberal democrats and the conservative have combined; 59.1% of the vote. What government in recent history, had an approval rating of that amount. Its good for the country if this goes ahead.

  • how can we side with the tories? turn our back on electoral reform? turn our back on what we feel is the very essence of democracy. as far as i am concerned i would rip up my membership card and burn it if we turned our backs on liberalism, on equality in the electoral system, on DEMOCRACY!

  • Don’t do a deal with the Tories!!! The policies are too different. Lib Dems are closest to Labour with policies especially with gay rights http://mygayvote.co.uk/.
    I’m not gay but I think we all live here and all have a right to equal oppertunities no matter race, religion, sexual preference. Lib Dems and Labour agree, but NOT the Tories! Don’t let the Tories win, don’t do a deal with them!
    This decision may change who I vote for in future!

    Don’t loose your supporters.

  • People are acting like there’s a choice here. Of course no Lib Dem supporter “want’s'” to work with the Tories, it’s a very bitter pill to swallow. But it’s that or we have another election, with the prospect the tories will get their majority. Forget about a Lib/Lab pact; it’s la-la land, if we, or labour, had got more seats then maybe, but the need to bring in other parties means a coalition would quickly fall apart.

    If we truly want PR for this country then we’re gonna have to get used to situations like this and be a lot more pragmatic. Andrea’s right, there’s no use sulking in the corner, we’ve got to make the best out of a bad situation.

  • Hello,

    I live in a constituency which has been a safe Conservative seat for a very long time. This was the first time I voted in a General Election.

    I voted with my heart for what was right. I felt the Liberal Democrat manifesto represented me. I along with several members of my family and friends were excited to cast our votes for the Liberal Democrats despite knowing that we live in a very safe Conservative seat. I voted Liberal Democrat because despite what the media wants us to think, I believe a vote for what we believe in is NEVER a wasted vote.

    In the aftermath of the election, and the ‘hung’ parliament result I was horrified with just the idea that Nick Clegg was going to be in talks with David Cameron about a possible join of Liberal Democrats and Conservatives.

    From what I have seen during the whole campaign, on the social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook, and during talks I have had with family and friends it is VERY clear that Liberal Democrat supporters would not be happy with Liberal Democrats joining forces with Conservatives. A poll carried out before the election amongst Liberal Democrat supporters found that the majority would prefer LibLab than LibCon. There is a lot of dislike amongst the Liberal Democrat supporters of a lot of the Conservative policies and attitudes, their policies and attitudes are not representative of who we are, we would hate to be assosiated with them.

    Nick, you said we should vote with our hearts. We listened and did just that. Please listen to your heart, your Liberal heart. Conservative just does not match with Liberal. It makes no sense. Labour is the more natural partner with or without Gordon Brown.

    If the Liberal Democrats were to prop up Conservatives to get them into power I feel this would be a slap in the face to all the people who supported Liberal Democrats. If we wanted our vote to be used to help David Cameron and his party get into power we would have voted Conservative.

    Please do not use our Liberal Democrat votes to prop up the Conservatives. If this happens, I will not be able to say that you represent our interests any longer. I am speaking on behalf of my family and friends whom voted Liberal Democrat when I say that if we knew you were going to help get Cameron and the Conservatives into power we would not have voted for you and I’m afraid you will lose my vote in the future if this happens.

    Please don’t do it Nick.

    Join with Labour, it makes more sense.

    All the best,

    F

  • Andrea Gill 8th May '10 - 12:05am

    Alan – When will #IagreeWithAndrea start trending on twitter? ;)

  • Do not do a deal with the Tories! This was the first time I’ve voted for LibDem and I’ve had a vote for over 30 years. The Tories are morally bankrupt, Labour are just tired and without confidence of the people.

    Work with Labour in return for electoral reform and to prevent £6billion being sucked out of the economy which would have a dreadful effect on the country’s finances and the lives of many

  • i think it’s now a solid viewpoint above, re-affirmed by any number i”ve spoken to.
    a con-lib (used advisedly) coalition will destroy a large part of the lib dem vote. they cannot be trusted and it is not in their comprehension or interest to deliver STV or anything like it.

    if you make this deal, then i think a sizeable majority no longer agree with nick….

  • “Alan – When will #IagreeWithAndrea start trending on twitter? ;)” – not sure it would get much support on this site, Andrea, but who knows :)

    I totally understand what people are saying, my heart screams out ‘no to the tories’, to my core, i oppose everything they stand for. But in reality a Labour deal just won’t work at this point in time. I think we should stay out of a coalition and just vote on a case-by-case basis with a minority tory government and bide our time until Labour is in a position to nab back some seats and make a lib/lab pact properly viable.

  • If Nick Clegg sells out and goes with the Tories – let’s face it he’s a former Tory himself – he should resign as leader of the Liberal Democrats. The Tories are poles apart from Liberal Democrat party belief and ethos, the only reason Nick Clegg would have to form a pact with the Tories is for his own personal glory and that is shameful. LibDem policies will never be taken seriously by Cameron, he may talk the talk but in real terms he WILL NOT go for electoral reform.

  • If Clegg & co decide to get in bed with Cameron, they will lose the majority of public backing, and there will never be electoral reform.

  • If the lib-dems sign up with the conservatives then I feel my vote has been wasted. I really agreed with the Lib-dem policies and thats why I voted for them. Maybe I should have voted labour as it is a sure vote against the conservatives.

  • #i now agree with alan….
    we may be getting increasingly drunk but in vino veritas… in finest kennedy tradition…. clegg had it right when he talked about public interest and electoral reform in the same breath. that won’t happen under a tory lead.
    don’t know if we can go as far as a lib/lab pact, given our history, but the sure as hell won’ happen under the tories – too much to lose.

  • I really don’t think the Lib Dems should do a deal with the Tories unless they guarantee a referendum on PR. BUT they should only do a deal with Labour if the Labour party can agree a deal with the SNP, Plaid Cymru whereby all the parties involved will run a 3 line whip to have a referendum on PR.

  • only get into bed with tories or labour if we can GUARANTEE a referendum on pr. i don’t see cameron being allowed to by tory grass roots. if we prop a party up without this we’ll be permanently damaged in the eyes of the electorate.
    ps watch how the tory press will suddenly start being nice to nick if they think he’ll prop the tories up

  • George Kendall 8th May '10 - 12:43am

    The Federal Executive should make an agreement without calling a special party conference. If you can’t get 75% agreement, the minority should compromise.
    A referendum on PR is a disaster if we lose the referendum, so no deal if a Lib/Lab/other government doesn’t look viable.
    The country needs economic stability, so I’d prefer a LibCon coalition to a minority Tory government.
    STV for local government in existing 3 party wards would be a big step forward, and could be done very quickly.

  • a minority compromise deal is not democratic. we also should not sacrifice principle for ‘stable govt’ when that means a probably destructive tory regime, and a compromise of our own support – ‘stability’ should not be a goal, history tells us that.

  • sorry, stability in and of itself should not be a goal, without proper principled agreement – i don’t think we can get that with the tories

  • Please forget the Tories. You will never get PR with the Conservatives. So dump Dave and talk to Gordon.

  • There seems to be the viewpoint here that all hell will break loose and Satan himself will appear if the Tories are in government. I believe that a liberal conservative pact will be a good thing for this country and it will also benefit the liberal democrats if the party play their cards right and succeed in these negotiations.

    Let me take you back to this morning: the sterling was falling very rapidly against the dollar. Nick Clegg then appears and announces that he wants to form a partnership with the conservatives and almost immediately, the markets acted positively and bounced back. If you want the economy to bounce back and to create the opportunity to invest in green technologies, reverse unemployment, be at a position to give tax breaks to the needy, investment in schools, police; you need a strong economy and under a Labour/Liberal/SDLP/Alliance/SNP/ and Plaid Cymru government; you will create an uncertain economy with so many political parties squabbling and not getting the key legislation passed through. Labour has made a mess with the economy and as a result; there is no confidence in labour to deal with the economy. Any potential Investors will get worried if this is the outcome and it will create an economic mess and the liberals won’t get the opportunity to pass its policies.

    I am not a Tory supporter, I’ve voted Lib Dem all my life and I genuinely believe that a Con/Lib pact is a good thing. Investors would want to invest in a stable government and the coalition between liberal democrats and the conservatives is the only positive way that will get the economy moving. Imagine Vince Cable as chancellor; he’s the only person that has the proper experience and credentials to run the countries finances. The Liberals would then have a chance to make the changes they want to make this country a fairer place.

    Nick Clegg needs to negotiate like his life depended on it and the liberal party can’t afford to give a lot of concessions away. Nick Clegg is a man of honour: he keeps to his word as it was proved this morning. If he can display these characteristics in these negotiations and in government, it will lead to the positive change, hope and aspiration that this country so desperately needs in this difficult time.

  • keith, i agree with much of what you say, but i honestly cannot see that the tories will be faithful to any deal which leaves the possibility of STV/PR – they have too much to lose.
    Also bear in mind that while labour got a kicking, they weren’t wiped out by any means – they did after all poll higher than us. they are not a spent force as the tories were in 97. i suspect a key factor in our own failure to capitalise is that while the tory vote came out, the lib leaning labour vote either stuck with labour or just didn’t bother – that’s not an anti-labour mobilisation – the media may make much of it, but as you say, we could be damned either way. best, perhaps, not to alienate our own supporters by backing a tory team while significant questions remain.

  • David Allen 8th May '10 - 1:13am

    Why did our support collapse from 31% to 23%? Because, late in the campaign, many people looked at the individually gerrymandered elections in their individual constituencies. They were cajoled, squeezed and browbeaten into voting for their second-best for fear of their worst. Because of the corrupt FPTP system which allows the two big ancient-history parties of Bertie Wooster and Dennis Skinner to cling on to power and fend off change.

    What was the big mistake these electors made? To vote for the heirs to Wooster in fear of the heirs to Skinner, or vice versa.

    What is the big mistake many posters on this thread are making? To ask the Lib Dem negotiators to do likewise.

    We will only get an acceptable deal if we bargain hard. To do that, we must be prepared to take the best deal we can extract – either from one side, or from the other. We have to force the two sides to bid up our price in auction. We must also be prepared to walk away if we can show the public that neither is offering a reasonable deal.

    I don’t say this from lack of bias. I personally hate the Tories far more than I dislike Labour. No matter. If we don’t really try to strike a deal with the Tories, then Labour will just think they can get us on the cheap.

    Any deal must have openly declared rigid time limits. That referendum on PR must happen within (say) 6 months, or else our partners have welshed on their agreement, and, as we will have promised in advance, we vote them down.

    Never mind cabinet seats. We are probably better off without them. Cameron says he won’t let Cable run the economy. Very well, let Cameron take all the responsibility and the flak. Don’t even take a job as Foreign Secretary or whatever. That will just let Cameron (or Brown, or whoever) invoke collective cabinet responsibility, and dump on us a share of blame for all his mistakes.

    Do insist on fair votes. Do insist on specific policy objectives. Do recognise that you won’t get a decent deal out of the Labservatives until the point arrives when you pull out your fountain pen, and prepare to sign a pact with Conbour!

    Don’t wimp out. Don’t let the other parties tell you the only option is to sit back and watch a minority Tory government stagger on its own towards a quick second election, as they did on Newsnight tonight. That way lies failure.

  • I voted for Lib Dems for the first time in my life, mainly because they were the only main party that wanted the Digital Economy Bill repealed. I knew it was unlikely they’d win outright on their own, and hoped for a hung parliament. However, from the way opinion polls predicted a Tory win, I knew that there would be a very real possibility that the Lib Dems would end up forming a coalition with the Tories.

    I don’t like the Tories (or Labour come to that), but surely a Tory government with Lib Dem influence is better than a Tory government without?

  • All of the Lib Dem voters I know personally, did not vote Lib Dem to prop up a tory government, and would have voted Labour if they knew this to be the case. The parties policies are a mile apart, and the Cons will not take the Lib Dems seriously even if they formed a coalition.

  • sorry, we’re getting a little deluded here… the tories aren’t going to back vince as chancellor, ‘stability at all costs’ is not an argument for forming a government in a democracy (certain people tried that in 1933..). There is also no reason why the markets should have a say in this – they got us into the mess we’re in, why the hell should they now influence our decision?
    Labour did not make a mess with the economy, we all played a part in that – ‘global economic donwturn’ is a clue, and i have no confidence in the tories ability to deal with it.

  • I’d never be able to bring myself to vote Lib Dem again if they went into any sort of coalition with the Tory’s. The differences are too great. A Lib-Lab coalition with Alan Johnson as leader of the Labour party – I could do. It’s clear from this election if the Lib Dems are to make any ground in the future – which I would love – then we need PR. Cameron and his Thatcherbabies won’t offer that.

  • Keith, on what basis are you believing any initial promises the tories are making about taxation, pr, or anything else for that matter? Yes Iraq was a stupid decision, but regardless of effect, do you really think the tories would’ve done anything different, given that they are traditionally by far the more atlanticist party??
    the lib dems were the only main party to oppose the invasion, and as to iraq countering iran so we wouldn’t have to, interesting viewpoint…

  • a coalition with the tories at this point may be what the public want at this point, but it will bury lib dem support among those of us who actually voted for the lib dems.
    there, said it.

  • it won’t be on their heads – we would have to remove ourselves from the coalition and therefore be blamed for forcing the election!! imagine what the murdoch press would make of that!

  • bottom line is, we’re in a shit position and i don’t know what the ‘right answer’ is, but we can’t expect the tories to make an honest deal on pr, taxation or any real change – and they would then be able to blame us for any cock ups.

  • David Raynor 8th May '10 - 1:41am

    Oh dear what on earth are we doing?

    I must qualify a couple of things first, I was a Lib Dem member and former candidate in the the 2003 Council Elections. I do have a degree in politics and economics as well. I got disillusioned with the country around the time Cameron became the Tory leader and decided to move to Queensland, Australia. So I don’t hold anything but a view on the election. One of the fundamentals of my leaving home in the first place was the thought of David Cameron and the Torys being back in power.

    Let’s not forget a crucial point here as well. At the beginning of the year I was (I still care) saddened to see the opinion polls showing a sweeping election win for the Tory’s in the GE. The fact that this unassailable lead was cut to shreds, shows to me the people of the UK don’t really trust him to run the country. So why even think about an alliance of any sort? (maybe he’s playing a shrewd game, who knows?).

    For the infiltrators, the closet Tory’s on here, and there are clearly many, given the amount of patronising posts questioning peoples own moral beliefs. Why don’t you admit it and go away yourselves? I am a great believer in peoples moral passion being allowed to be aired and should be taken into account by the politicians that represent them. After all, their 1 vote is as good as your 1 vote and will be even more so if the electoral system is ever reformed fairly!

    I am not there with you all, but share the utter concern and horror of most on here at the prospect of Nick Clegg jumping to the right and becoming David Camerons lap dog!

    I wish you all good luck and will be keeping my eyes closely fixed to the news wires for the next events to unfold.

    David R

  • During any negotiations with Labour or the Conservatives, the issue of electoral reform must dwarf all others. I would personally prefer a coalition with Labour (on the understanding that Brown will stand down as leader), but would be comfortable with a Tory-led coalition instead if the Tories offer a referendum on electoral reform.

    I think we must insist on the following:
    1. The minimum commitment must be a referendum (of course legislation to change the voting system without a referendum would be preferable, but may be difficult to agree). Not a committee or other vague promise that could kick the issue into the long grass, like Labour did in 1997.
    2. The referendum must include the option of Single Transferable Vote (whether or not it also includes another option, such as AV or AV+, in which case there should be two questions: firstly do you wish to keep FPTP or change to another system and secondly, if you do wish to change, which system would you prefer). It would be naive to accept a lesser system such as AV+ in the hope that we could later change it again to STV. We should assume that this is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to get the voting system right and throw all our efforts behind it.
    3. The referendum must not be held on the same day as an election.

    I am convinced that a referendum on STV would be winnable despite any campaign for the status quo by the Conservatives and Tory press and any similar campaign or disinterest by Labour. Apart from an army of activists from the Lib Dems, Nationalists, Greens, UKIP etc (and likely widespread familiarity and support in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland), groups like Electoral Reform Society, Vote for a Change etc should be able to help significantly, including by generating media coverage. I, for one, would be motivated to campaign like never before and I suspect the same would be true of many other Lib Dems (and perhaps many Labour activists too).

  • Paul Krishnamurty 8th May '10 - 2:30am

    Here’s a view from a non Lib Dem member, who has been inspired by Nick Clegg and Vince Cable’s positive leadership and campaign.

    It is absolutely critical, over the coming days and months, that the Lib Dems reassert their independence and distinctiveness from the two old parties. Clegg should say that it was down to a minority Con govt to bring forward legislation, piece by piece, to which the party will respond depending on whether it fits the party’s core brand of fairness, and the four key policy planks they’ve laid out. That includes meaningful constitutional and electoral reform.

    There is no need for any formal coalitions or deals. Given their 306 tally, they should have no trouble getting uncontentious legislation through, and if they want to strike grubby deals with Unionists in full public glare, that’s their business.

    If, for instance, the Tories place an inheritance tax cut in their budget, they should oppose it. Or if the budget protects the poorest half of the country, and frontline services, they will either vote with it or abstain. Such an approach might also help the Lib Dems, in focussing the media on what their policies are, instead of treating them as irrelevant unless there’s a leaders debate.

    One final unrelated point – why, on a Lib Dem website, am I looking at an anti-Obama healthcare ad? It is essential that progressives remain united in these precarious times. There are some quite dangerous right-wing forces circling Western politics. Quite soon, it could well be a battle between our form of ‘change’ and the radical change of Sarah Palin/Dan Hannan types.

  • Paul Krishnamurty 8th May '10 - 2:39am

    One other point. In accepting the reality of a minority Tory govt, Clegg should say he is illustrating precisely why the scaremongers about hung parliaments are so wrong. The SNP manage it in Scotland, and there’s no reason why a responsible, moderate, consensual govt couldn’t manage it at Westminster. By the time the next election takes place, that critical scare tactic will have become irrelevant. People will be able to pick their parties based on the policies and values pursued over a parliament, not on fantasy manifestos that only need avoid scrutiny over a few weeks.

  • I’m not a member of any political party.

    It seems to me you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t, which ever option you chose.

    Frankly, it’s time for you to focus not on narrow party interest, but on what’s right. And not just what’s right for the UK, but what’s right for the world – morally right, factually correct and practically possible.

    The Tories are economically illiterate, both on the macro and micro scale. I don’t believe for a second that Vince Cable would in practice have any influence over them worth talking about. It’s not just about your election pledges. It’s about moving forward through very difficult economic and financial times. I don’t think you should lend any legitimacy to people who are simply wrong in their world view.

    It is wrong that people like Rupert Murdoch and his ilk should have such a disproportionate influence on world events. It would not be right to prop up a party in league with their agenda.

    It’s wrong that a section of the financial industry holds the world to ransom. The UK and everywhere else needs to be protected from those firms and individuals via thorough and effective changes to the law and practice of markets, banking, supervision and regulation. The Tories will not do this.

    (Indeed, quite the reverse. The links between the Tories and those people undermining our country, the EU and elsewhere are so close that it would be quite unacceptable to support them.)

    That last point cannot be achieved without co-operating with the EU. The EU will not take any suggestions from a profoundly eurosceptic party seriously. They will not take you seriously as part of a coalition with them. You will not be able to achieve positive sensible changes which take into account the needs of the legitimate elements within the financial sector. I say this having had experience of attempting to negotiate sensible, practial EU financial measures during the Major years. Read my lips: It. Will. Not. Work.

    I also gather that the Obama adminstration is far from impressed by the Tories’ attitude to Europe.

    Similarly, the Tories seem to have very little grasp of dealing with wider world powers: China, India, etc.

    Electoral reform is needed. It depresses me reading all the comments above about whether you will get more or less seats next time if you do this, that or the other. You should do whatever you can to advance proportional representation because it’s *right*, not according to some calculation about whether you may lose seats as a result of this or that policy.

    (And I mean proper PR – not AV or AV+.)

    For these and many other reasons I cannot see how you can support a Conservative administration.

    However, it’s also the case that Gordon Brown is not a popular figure. Demanding his immediate resignation would just make things even more unsettled than they are now. In any case, the Labour Party don’t appear to have any mechanism for doing this. The current economic chaos also points to the need for a degree of continuity. There should be a firm commitment for him to go within a fairly short timeframe. Leave them to figure out how.

    Yes you will be hounded by the press. Yes you may lose some support. That’s about to happen whatever you do.

    If you manage this situation in terms of clear right and wrong rather than narrow party calculations you stand some chance of minimising the damage to yourselves.

    Do the right thing. Do not prop up The Conservatives.

  • It is a good principled move to abide by the offer to explore working with the party ‘with the most number of seats and he most votes’ – the Tories.

    Lib Dem plus Labour seats do not give a majority in Parliament.

    There is a paradox that we agree with the Tories on many issues that in the past we may have expected to agree with Labour, and vice versa. We need to take a more rational view and not respond to this moment in a visceral manner.

    We must prepare ourselves to bring down the next government in possibly 3 or 4 years following a referendum on electoral/political reform and once that is made law.

    To both parties, we should:

    a) Offer a co-operation deal, in the short term, for a limited Queen’s Speech, focussed on the economy and political reform, and for a further two year period, on a bill by bill basis.

    b) Demand commitment to a referendum on electoral and parliamentary reform, working to a two year timetable.

    c) Demand Lib Dems chair an all party group to draw up options and timetable for implementation of the above. This should not be a rerun of the Jenkins Report and not a blank sheet academic exercise, but a programme to implement, by way of a referendum.

    d) Refuse to take up Cabinet or Ministerial posts. It is a poisoned chalice.

    e) State that the basis for the two year co-operation agreement is how closly any Government’s proposals are to the four Lib Dem central manifesto commitments. Compromise is built into this judgement, but total abandonment is not. This will protect Party integrity and ensure that the Lib Dem front bench will carry the support of the party.

    Specifically in relation to the Tories:

    a) They have won most seats and most votes and we must respect this. To do otherwise will not be to our credit, however unpalatable this appears.

    b) The Tories offered a clear alternative in terms of economic policy. But at only 37% of the popular vote, they cannot ignore the 53% of voters opting for either Labour or the Lib Dems. Lib Dems must therefore ask for what we proposed, that is an ‘economic stability council’ bringing in all the parties, the Bank Of England, and the FSA. We need to de-politicise the economy as much as possible in the interests of the country.

    Specifically in relation to Labour:

    a) Starting with the fact that in combination Lib Dems and Labour would not give a Commons majority and at 53% of the vote, a bare majority, we should expect more in order to strike a deal.

    b) We need to ensure that parties representing Scotland , Wales and Northern Ireland are brought in. This is not just for political expediency, ie. to make up the numbers in the lobby, but because of our belief in democracy, devolved power and that the distribution of ‘fairness’ is in itself ‘fair’.

    c) We must reiterate what Nick Clegg said about the political and public effect of Gordon Brown’s remaining Prime Minister. Mr Brown’s continuation as PM will continue to cast a shadow on a Government, and will not provide a feeling that the election has actually resolved anything, or helped the country move on. It will also make any potential co-operation with Labour more difficult to ‘sell’ to the country, or even our own party. But ultimately, this is a matter for Labour and should not be made a red line issue. Policy has to trump personality in this.

    Finally
    The results are an enormous disappointment. But we must take comfort in the degree to which we as a Party brought a new found enthusiasm to politics. Unlike votes, this enthusiasm can dissipate. As Nick Clegg said, we need to redouble our efforts. We must reassure and even cajole people to vote for what they feel is right and not against something they fear is more wrong.

  • иiк отlзy 8th May '10 - 2:47am

    If Nick Clegg does a deal with the devil and forms a coalition with the Tories I WILL NEVER EVER VOTE LIB-DEM AGAIN!

    People voted for the Lib Dems so that we WOULDN’T have to suffer under a fascist Tory government!

  • George Kendall 8th May '10 - 3:38am

    Let’s avoid accusations of infiltrators. There are genuine differences of opinion within the party, and long may that continue. This is an open forum, so there will be the occasional Tory or Labour supporter posting here. That’s also fine. No one in their right mind will take the views expressed here as representative of the party as a whole.

    I’m no infiltrator. I’ve been a member since the party was formed and was an elected councillor for two terms.

    In the vast majority of elections, the Tories have been my opponents, and normally I’d much prefer a deal with a moderate Labour government.

    I believe PR would lead to better government, and the natural consequence of PR is coalitions, sometimes with parties you dislike. It’s uncomfortable to compromise, but it’s what you get with PR.

    We have a higher loyalty than to our party. If there is a period of uncertainty, the the economy could suffer serious consequences. It’s not our fault, but our leaders are elected politicians with a responsibility to try to make a solution possible.

    In normal economic times, I’d say, go for a deal with Labour and a couple of the minor parties. But whoever is in government will have to make heart-breakingly difficult decisions to restore the country’s finances, and I fear a coalition of four parties wouldn’t survive.

    We could refuse to take part, allow a minority Tory government, and make their life impossible. I fear the consequences for the economy. It might be politically expedient, but it would also be unprincipled.

    If a deal with the Tories is viable, I hope Nick Clegg can make it work, and gets the necessary support from the party. It’ll be very difficult to achieve and it will be hard for us politically. However, if this is the least bad option, I believe we have a moral obligation to do it.

  • In the likely event that the Tories will not accept PR for the Commons, I simply suggest we push for AN ELECTED UPPER HOUSE UNDER FULL STV/PR.

    I believe the electorate would feel more comfortable voting with their hearts and electing us a majority their, to balance out the other parties in the Commons.

    From here, we would have the momentum not only to be seen as an effective and realistic governing party with experience, but also to push for full PR in the Commons in due course. Let’s look to the LONG TERM STRATEGY.

  • If you take my vote over to the Tories I will NEVER forgive the party as you will of sold me and my vote out.

    Looks like I am now faced with the choice of voting Labour of Greens thanks Nick.

  • Pierre Sarkozy 8th May '10 - 6:22am

    This is difficult but one thing is certain: Clegg may not collaborate with that charlatan Cameron. But will he? I think so. And those who protest today will have forgot it by time of next election. Such are the voters of Britain unfortunately.

  • Be careful what you wish for.

    This was the tenth general election campaign I worked for the Libs/Lib Dems – each time thinking a “balanced Parliament” was the best outcome. Now we have one and it is not a comfortable place to be.

    Our role must be to “moderate” the impact of the inevitable tory government. Sadly a Lib/Lab/others coalition provides too few MPs to be stable against sickness, death, by-elections, defections.

  • I sent this:

    Be brave, be principled, be prepared for huge opprobrium whatever you decide, from press, public and Party. Welcome to grown-up politics. This is what we wished for. To govern is to choose. The country requires a Government now, not another election, not ongoing knife-edge uncertainty over this vote or that. The voters, the currency markets and financial investors will crucify us if we play games for the virtue of our so-pure souls. To duck the choice is to render ourselves as the pure, untainted irrelevances that many like to portray us as. And whatever is decided, at least the leadership and the Parliamentary Party must defend it to the hilt; not pretending it is what we would have wished for, not pretending that it is perfect, but stating that it is the right choice for the country precisely because we have secured agreement on and guarantees for our key principles, which we believe are best for the country.

    All this is made more difficult because – as David Cameron knows – there’s only one offer in town: his. Are we really suggesting that we cobble together a one-seat-majority “rainbow” coalition of us, Labour, Nats, Green….whoever, and that any such coalition would be either internally or externally sustaainble for any period of time – certainly long enough to secure PR, which as many in Labour as in the Tories don’t want and which, were we to make it the or a raison d’etre of such a coalition, would rightfully make us look so self-serving as to invite cyncism and derision and the concomitant electoral price? Into the bargain propping up a discredited and thoroughly rejected Labour Government and the hated – yes hated, even by his own Party – Mr. Brown? To ask the question is to answer it. MPs in Labour areas, swallow hard. Activists, remember it’s not only activists that vote Lib Dem. We have to deal with the Tories.

    And we have to do so recognising that they are the only “winners” of this election, that the only sustainable arithmetic that works is a Lib/Con arrangement and while swallowing all our personal feelings about them personally and the hurt of losing good people to them. And recognising that our support, while very important to them and worth a very high price, isn’t indispensible and that they can afford another election where they appeal on the basis that pig-headed Lib Dems wouldn’t work with them for selfish internal reasons (remember the Press will back them to the hilt) and that they need a firm mandate. Think hard about how we would fare in that election. That done, secure a high price for our support; the highest you can with both some firm irreducible liberal lines in the sand and some high aspirations. I am not going to set out what they should be. That is for you Remember the Tories have them too and that Cameron’s Party is as much an uneasy coalition as ours. I’ll only say that we need more than an ‘inquiry’ on PR. But beyond that I trust our negotiators who can be guided but not mandated, to secure something that the Party’s conscience can live with – not easily, but politics isn’t easy if it’s worthwhile.

    No deal with Cameron means no deal at all. And none of our priorities implemented. That lets down the country and the Party and all those who voted for us and our four principles. We would pay a stiff price. Play your hand well. Try to deal. Walk away only if you really must. Bring us to the big table where we can make some of the changes the country desperately needs. Keep your nerve. Keep your eye on the prize. Make us proud. Good luck!

  • Mike Huddlestone 8th May '10 - 7:14am

    A deal with the Conservatives is by far the best option.

    The next government will need to sort out the deficit and will get credit for doing so. They will be shielded from the unpopularity of paying for it because the deficit is inherited. There will also be a honeymoon period, of course.

    For this reason it is important that the Lib Dems are part of the next government. It is an opportunity to show that they can do government as well as talk about it. And it is an opportunity to showcase coalition government and strengthen the case for PR.

    A Lib-Lab coalition will almost certainly fail because the seat numbers are not good enough. And it will be subject to a whole heap of attacks from the Tory media. After it fails the Conservatives would get an easy majority in a subsequent election.

    A Lib-Con coalition has a comfortable majority. What is more, it is properly mandated, representing 60% of the vote.

    Lib-Con will not be the same as Con on its own. There will be influence, probably cabinet seats, there will be compromise on policy. There will need to be some movement on PR, of course, but it doesn’t need to be the full deal to make this the best option.

  • Martin (RD) B 8th May '10 - 7:16am

    Like many, I thoroughly despise all Tories most of the time (and this lot are no better – look at Michael Gove for example – I feel ill all ready).

    However simple arithmetic is against us, but there are two issues:
    1. How to avoid future electoral annihilation; many in the Tory party (I was listening to Cecil Parkinson yesterday) see agreement with the Liberals as a vehicle for destroying the party.
    2. How to make progress with electoral reform.

    Solutions?
    1. Push for a larger coalition, that involves Labour as well, so that economic problems are responsibly dealt with – Cable, Darling and Osbourne at the treasury.
    2. Push for parliamentary time on proposals for a fairer voting system in which Tories can attempt to defend FPTP and oppose change, but if there is majority agreement in the House of Commons would have to accept a decision of representatives for a majority of the electorate.

  • Ann Collins 8th May '10 - 7:33am

    This is the first time in 40 years that I have voted Lib Dem. I felt that their policies were more progressive than the other two main parties. If the Lib Dems now form any kind of alliance with the Conservatives it will have been the first and last time that I will cast my vote in their favour. There should be no formal alliances and the Lib Dems should offer support or not on an issue by issue basis.

  • The election made most people realise that the two party system is dead… of the 16 AAA rated economies in the world 10 are led by coalition governments and 12 of them are led by governments elected via some form of PR. UK and USA are notable exceptions. So everyone needs to understand that workable coalitions are alliances that debate common issues and reach workable solutions that provide answers for the majority of the electorate.

    Our worst cast scenario – we lose the election, am a minority and there is a hung parliament – this means we get to implement NONE of the policies we want to bring change…. at least not without tremendous struggles and battles on all sides against multiple parties with differing policies, greater numbers, and in the case of the two big parties – better publicity machines in the press…

    The above is the LOSE-LOSE situation – for us and the other parties. No matter how hard everyone tries it will be ungovernable and result in a very quick re-election. Do you think the LibDems will win more votes in that? I would suggest not – the electorate will want at least a majority governemt for stability and so will return to the two party state and we will have much less influence in the future again…

    Best case scenario – a long-term alliance that represents the majority of the electorate and gives the involved parties the chance to implement at least some of each of their policies – probably the most important ones – and which gets differing views around the table discussing workable compromise on the more difficult and contentious areas…

    An alliance with Labour would not be our best-case scenario. It would probably be closer to a progressive idealism, but wouldn’t represent the majority of the electorate by % of the vote – so by our own principles any policies pushed through – and it would be difficult – would not have majority backing and legitimacy. Difficult areas of policy would need dilution to gain acceptance and be less effective. And there is a real risk that policies adopted would give the majority opposition an ideal opportunity to counter-attack in future elections, and build public opinion to gain a future outright 2 party majority again…

    An alliance with the Conservatives will represent the majority and be workable. Policy areas that are common ground will quickly be agreed and implemented. We also have several areas of common concern, if not common answers. So it will need both partners to recognise that where there are differences where further discussion, debate and compromise is required to reach a win-win position that both alliance parties accept… This is the basis for a real coalition.

    Only a real, long-term coalition will give the LibDems a seat at the top table – an insider perspective – a position that is listened to and not just shouted down in PMQ’s. Only a Conservative alliance can give us the position of influencer as an insider not as opposition on the benches of the house.

    I think this is an opportunity for real and lasting change on our political system… it seems unworkable, but only if you accept that LOSE-LOSE is the starting point for WIN-WIN.

  • Roger Crouch 8th May '10 - 7:55am

    The people posting here who are having a strop and threatening to leave the party are living in cloud-cuckoo land and, perhaps, they don’t understand the outcomes, which would be brought about by our desire for a more pluralistic, open, representative political culture.

    If we want PR, we have to accept that we, and other parties, will have to get used to working with parties that we may not want to. Do you think Angela Merkel’s CDU really wanted to work with SPD in Germany? Do you think Plaid really want to work with Labour in Wales? Sometimes, for the greater good of the country (and the financial markets), it is is necessary to hold our noses and work with parties we wouldn’t want to. Our local councillors know this – the arithmetic often means that we work with Conservatives, for example, Birmingham/Leeds to name a couple.

    Cameron doesn’t have a mandate but he does have the largest number of seats/votes, therefore, it is right that Clegg approached Cameron first. We should make the pupil premium a priority and, then, PR with a referendum based on the Jenkins Report. Another inquiry is a waste of time and money. If we can’t get agree, then the Conservatives should be allowed to govern as a minority for up to three years.

  • As long as the outcome is PR then I don’t mind a tie up with Tories or Labour. PR is in the best interests of the people of the UK, if not in the best interests of the Parliamentary parties of Labour or Conservative.

  • On the basis that the Tories have the largest share of the vote, trying to come to some sort of arrangement has to be inevitable. However the price MUST be reform of the electoral system – and quickly. Get that and the rest will fall in to place over time.

    What Brown is offering is not acceptable. He has already proved a liability to his party, and what he is offering is not true electoral reform but a voting system that will do nothing to redress the ills of FPTP.

    PR and STV has to be the price. For those who worry about the extremist parties like the BNP and NF, a 5% limit can be included that effectively rules out seats for parties who get 5% and less of the national vote.

  • It’s OK saying lets me grown up about the situation but I agree with Rachel, I did not work for and vote for the party for it to jump into bed with the Tories.

    I want centre left progressive government not centre right politics. I will offer one proviso however; get electoral reform out of Cameron and I will support it but anything, anything else will not do

  • I cannot bear the thought of the Conservatives running the country either with the support of the Liberal Democrats or as a minority government. People want change but this does not mean that what they want is a conservative led government.
    Labour have achieved a lot in terms of reducuing social inequality and increasing opportunity for all and I say this as agraduate, nurse and mother with a young child. This would be completely undone by the conservatives.
    A Liberal-Labour coallition would give hope to the people that real change could happen alongside a government that is dedicated to safeguarding the economy.
    At a time of world finincial crisis I would much sooner back Labour who have a plan which seems to encourage growth as well as cuts and at the same time know that positive change will occur with the Liberals by their side.

  • Without an immediate and binding commitment to PR then I don’t see how we can ally with either of them – and there are so many patches of clear blue water between us and the Tories that at the minute I can’t see how compromise is realistic particularly with Cameron. There ar gaps with Labour as well and I am very wary of aligning that way either as we’ll inevitably be painted as some kind of Labour-lite.

    There’s no point going into power simply so we can say we’ve seen the Lib Dems in government.

  • Jonathan Dudley 8th May '10 - 8:51am

    Only the promise of a referendum on PR within the year and the promise of a General Election within two years is a price worth paying for a pact with the Tories.

    Selling out now would likely destroy the LD following in the south of England and Scotland and we will be back to 2 party politics.

  • I voted LD for the first time (in 37 years) for one reason…PR. If I get it, I’ll always vote LD.

  • I nearly voted for Clegg, but the clue was there re his intentions in the run up when he dismissed a Brown Coalition, that he had strong Tory leanings. His eagerness to ignore traditional political rules and run to Cameron’s aid, was quite sickening, and believe me unless he takes up Brown’s offer, the Lib Dem party will have drawn it’s last political breath, no one could nor should ever trust it again. I think it may already be too late, as a late switch to Labour would only prove the Tories who called him a joke, treated him as a joke. Clegg is wasting the one great opportunity the Lib Dem’s had of a future. R.I.P liberalism

  • Rermember Thatcherism…The Torys brought this country to its knees…..we dont need a facist Tory government!!!

  • Ancient Lib Dem 8th May '10 - 9:22am

    1. This will be our one opportunity to change the electoral system.
    2. A formal agreement with the Conservatives could destroy the Liberal Democrat party.
    3. The Liberal approach is totally different from that of the Conservative. Immigration, Europe,devolution,the economy.
    4. Even a short-term agreement with the Conservatives would do long term harm to our party.
    5. Immediate action on P.R. and action on the economy with Labour could be followed by an early election.

  • Sarah Duckworth 8th May '10 - 9:24am

    I have voted Lib Dem since I was old enough to vote and I support many of your policies…I think this is an excellent opportunity for you to form a coalition government and promote change from within. However i remember very clearly growing up under a conservative government and unfortunately if you agree to a conservative alliance you will lose my future vote!

  • Quote Alec: “So, what does Clegg do? Goes for the Conservatives! No, don’t anyone say that “the Conservatives came first”… this is irrelevant under PR. A Lib-Lab coalition would command both a majority and plurality of the cast vote.”

    Back in the labour wins when Blair got 22% of the vote, a Lib-Con coalition would of commanded a majority, so your argument holds no water.

  • Please accept nothing less than a referendum (not a “Commission” or other delaying tactic) on PR within a set period of time and before the next General Election – otherwise the political system will remain broken and we’ll be back to two party politics ad infinitum (and the LibDems won’t be one of the two). I voted LD because you promised to do things differently. Please don’t sell out just to play the old game at the top table.

  • A. Insist on a commitment to PR as a non-negotiable condition of any alliance. No PR, no agreement.

    B. I would prefer a lib-lab coalition: lib and lab are similar in terms of policy. Lib and Con are too far apart. Lib and Lab would not get an overall majority, but would not be far off one. They could maybe persuade smaller parties to support them on the Queens speech and Budget. Smaller parties would also be likely to support PR, since it would benefit them as well.

    C. A lib-con coalition might REDUCE the chance of PR. Even if Cameron agrees to a bill, many Tories are almost certain to vote it down. If the Libdems are with the Tories, it is possible labour will also be against it and the whole thing will get nowhere.

  • Forming a coalition with the Tories is really spitting in the faces of everyone who voted for lib dems. Everyone i know who voted for you did it because you were doing better in the poles than labour and so we would vote for you in order to KEEP CONSERVATIVES OUT. I actually voted for labour, however. but to use the votes of people who quite clearly liked your more left-wing views and give them to a party that contrasts extremely with yours ideologically… that’s not in the interest of the country, nor of those who are now your EX-supporters. We are bloody outraged!

    No to conservative liberals. Yes to liberal labourers!!!!

  • Desi C – if you didn’t vote for us anyway, then what business is it of yours you idiot Labservative.

  • Whilst I think that “grown-up” politics should prevail and that a 2 year agreement with the Tories would be ideal in principle; nevertheless I think there are many pressing issues: the recovery and protecting the vulnerable in our society and asoociated services. Electoral reform will have to by default take a lower priority as it does not serve the Tory interest. It seems that the Tories are hungry and keen and only when when any negotiations begn, can you assess whether you could acually trust them. I would not want to see the LibDems to be stitched up by the Tory press if and when things go wrong. The Tories could push through measures in the name of the LibDems, which are different in outcome to the proposal invisaged originally and which the LibDems supported. I feel this is a vey real threat as LibDem would have little control over implimentation of those policies. The Tories have powerful people and allies and I think the LibDems would be in a very vulnerable position with no guranteed result on PR. Better to stand alone and vote with each party ad hoc on individual issues, deals can then be made with both sides to push PR in return for votes on bills that are agreeable to the LibDem philosophy. I think you could then achieve much more and retain integrity. If you play it right, instead of being The Kingmaker, you could be the Peacemaker. If another election is called soon, your conduct would then be of greater worth.

  • Mike Huddlestone 8th May '10 - 9:39am

    A Liberal Democrat coalition with Labour would be enormously risky.

    It would be on a knife edge in terms of seats and would come under heavy and sustained attacks from the press. The chances of failure would be very high.

    If a Lib-Lab coalition fell, the Conservatives would easily win the consequent election and probably the next one as well. Much worse than that, it would set back the cause for coalition government and electoral reform by many years.

    For me, that isn’t a disaster worth flirting with.

  • Adam you voted Liebour – again, none of your business what we do.

  • If we exhaust all options on doing a deal with the Tories, and then spell out the reasons why we do not have sufficient common ground to sustain a 4 year parliament, we should listen to the Labour party. There is more common ground, a sustainable pact with a sufficient majority could be maintained for 4 years. During that time, legislation to introduce a form of PR would be passed.

    At the next election we would have more MP’s; and more influence in a meaningful balanced parliament. Our vote share may suffer (it may equally increase), but even if we only had 20% support would give us over 100 seats. Simples

  • Jonathan Hayes 8th May '10 - 9:44am

    Any kind of agreement made by the Liberal Democrats to support the Conservatives in forming an administration would be against both the national and party interest.

    The Tory economic plans with severe cuts to the public sector would cause unmitigated chaos this year and would very probably lead to another economic downturn for that matter. Consider what happened to the United States in the late 1930’s when the government spending which was leading the US out of the depression was suddenly cut, the country fell back into economic woe and only really recovered in terms of employment due to WWII.

    Moreover from the interest of the party in both the short and long term any kind of agreement with the Conservatives would be a disaster and cause grievous damage to the Liberal Democrats and the liberal cause for perhaps decades. The fact is that there are simply too many Tory policies which are an anathema to both the majority of our core support and indeed those outside that group whose votes we seek to court in future elections. The Liberal Democrats would be signing their own death warrant as a meaningful political party if they helped legislation through the house which is so diametrically opposed to what they have always stood for.

    In any case who really believes that the Tories wouldn’t stab us in the back and call another election as soon as they considered they could obtain an actual majority? For a few token cabinet seats at best the Liberal Democrats would be throwing away perhaps the only chance we would ever have to actually obtain PR and our long-term goals of achieving a more liberal United Kingdom would be scuppered. Even if David Cameron was offering a referendum on proportional representation (which he isn’t) he could never get his own MP’s to go along with it (Turkey’s don’t vote for Christmas) so why take the scraps off the mans table when we’re in a position to actually get what we want, and the country needs, from a Labour party which has no choice but to be more cooperative and accommodating?

    There are enough MP’s in the House of Commons between the Liberal Democrats, Labour, SDLP and Alliance to form a workable government, especially given that the SNP and Plaid Cymru are far more anti-Tory than they are anti-Labour so getting legislation through wouldn’t be a problem. This grand coalition would represent an actual majority of the electorate as well as the most parliamentary seats so it would be a legitimate group to govern the country and ideologically its constituent parts are closer in policy and instinct than the abomination of a Lib-Dem/Conservative agreement would be.

    I vote Liberal-Democrat, I have been both an electoral agent and a Council Candidate for the Liberal Democrats and I would be horrified, and frankly ashamed, if the party I support put short-term self-interest ahead of not only national but also long-term party interest by agreeing to aid the Tories when a far better alternative is presenting itself.

    It might be a rough ride, certainly the Tory press would give the Liberal-Democrats another hammering if a coalition was formed with Labour, but it would be the right thing to do both for the United Kingdom and the party and I can only hope that the decision-makers who are going to have to make the call today have the guts to do what’s right and not what’s easy.

  • Vicky said it in her posting: “A Liberal-Labour coallition would give hope to the people that real change could happen alongside a government that is dedicated to safeguarding the economy.” The Conservative party’s priority is to salvage the banking sector of the economy and the City at the expense of everyone else. How can the Liberal Democrat Party possibly ally itself with this agenda. So there has to be a coalition with labour and Labor has to agree to implement electoral reform by a deadline – say December, 2011! That’s the gist of the email I sent in.

  • We have to be realistic about voting reform. It is very important to Liberal Democrats, and the majority of the discussion here has been about which party is more likely to offer it or what strategy we should adopt to achieve it, but it is not the issue that is uppermost in the minds of most electors, and the Tories are not going to offer it in a way that could be implemented. Yes, obviously the logic of having PR is that you have to work with other parties after the election, but then the electorate knows that when they go to vote. They didn’t vote for us this time in the belief that we would prop up the (wrongly, in my view) most despised man in British politics in Gordon Brown, or that we would put Cameron and the hard right bully boys behind him into power. Forget about achieving PR in this situation: we can negotiate all we like but we are not going to get it from Cameron, and Brown is not in a position to deliver anything. If we are to avoid alienating a large proportion of our activists and supporters we have to walk away from discussions and let the political process take its course. Cameron will end up in Downing Street, but not due to anything we have done. When he’s there obviously his whips will have to talk to our whips about what legislation can get through, but there should be no deal. Meanwhile we should be trying to build a deal with progressives in the Labour Party to ensure that the next Labour manifesto contains clear promises that they will implement PR if they win the election or become largest party. Then the electors can vote Labour or Lib Dem depending on local circumstances knowing that if those parties achieve an aggregate majority there will be a government that is a progressive alliance against the Tories.

  • If the Party agrees to be Cameron’s prostitute, I will cease to support the Party.

    Member, SDP 1983/88
    Member, Liberal Democrats, 1988-2010
    London Borough councillor, 1994/98

  • thomas knowles 8th May '10 - 9:58am

    Dont be bullied by the tory press Nick. this is the liberals greatest opportunity to gain P R. and really change the political landscape of this nation. as you well know the people chose a hung parliament and probably would have chose to hang parliament. had they been given the option. Go with labour tie them down to pr and within several elections the tories will bee the third party a position they so richly deserve.

  • Andy Shepherd 8th May '10 - 10:00am

    I am shocked and amazed that Clegg is talking about coalition with the tories, he will never get PR from them they are fundamentally opposed to such a thing and on a policy level LDem policies and values are totally different to the tories on every level.
    I equally am as shocked after so many millions of men and women hoping for a progressive future have just been slapped in the face!!! They will never vote LDem again. I know many LDem voters and they are deeply concerned and outraged that Mr Clegg is doing what he is doing!!?? Frankly he has lsot the support of vast amounts of decent ordinary people who believed he would provide a progressive voice and KEEP the tories out!
    One recently stated to me that, “He voted Clegg and is getting Cameron!” (he was from Redcar).

    This flirting with the tories has no purpose and will endanger any real chance of PR in the future.

  • The whole point of a a not-presidential PR system is to work with coalitions. That means that a progressive alliance between the 2nd and 3rd parties would not be undemocratic (especially if together they have more than 50% of votes). There is no compelling reason to deal with the tories just because they were they largest minority. What matters is delivering economic and political fairness. As a libdem voter, I think that a coalition with other centre-left parties is the only option

  • The numbers for a Lab/Lib Dem coalition don’t add up – even with the SDLP and Alliance you still need the nationalists on board for a majority, which would be wafer thin.

    The best I think the Tories would go for would be AV in the Commons and an 80% elected Lords/Senate, possibly by STV.

    I could live with that, including STV in the Lords. I’m not sure most Lib Dem members would though for the Commons, given the party’s attachment to STV.

    When people say that the party’s reputation would suffer if there was a Con/Lib Dem coalition, think the danger of keeping Gordon Brown in Downing Street – who is more unpopular than David Cameron.

    I hope the Lib Dems will also talk to Labour – if nothing else, it increases the strength of their negotiating hand.

  • MarcusCosgrove 8th May '10 - 10:06am

    Nick Clegg is doing what he said he would before the election. I for one believe he is being entirely honourable. I also think that no deal will be done without accommodation on PR – if the tories won’t offer it, then no deal. Whatever we may or may not think about a lib-dem tory coalition, this would be a good thing. The next election could be fought on fair terms and the worst excesses of a tory government would be curtailed in the meantime. I believe that no deal will be reached in any other way… a grand coalition of all the small parties would genuinely be seen by the British public as a disgrace. Can you imagine how English (more inclined to vote tory) voters would feel if Gordon had to offer massive financial concessions to Wales and Scotland in exchange for a couple of votes in the house? I would say instability would follow in government followed by a snap election and probably a tory majority. IF the tories are totally unprepared to give in on this single issue then we should stand aside and watch a tory minority government fail – but to be honest I don’t think that this is in any way in the national interest. If we prop up a discredited Labour government (much as my heart tells me we should be siding with them) we will be hated by a generation of voters – memories of the 70’s anyone? These are challenging times, but if we put aside our hatreds and focus on the goals of stability and reform, we might just come to see this election as one which changed the face of politics forever. Of course if we don’t, we are history.

  • A coalition will work a lot better between parties whose policies are more closely aligned. If the Lib Dems sell out to the Tories they’ll me making certain that any boost in support for them vanishes. What the Lib Dems need to remember is that a lot of their supporters are ex-Labour supporters who have switched to the Lib Dems after being disillusioned and feeling like Labour had become a little too similar to the Tories. Whilst I appreciate it’s not entirely scientific a facebook poll speaks volumes about how few people want a Lib/Con coalition: 76% against a pact with the Tories. 45% wanting a Lib/Lab coalition.

    See the poll here:

    http://www.facebook.com/democracyuk

  • Have put in my views together with those of my family (7 in total). Whilst it is longer than I hoped this is our only opportunity at this time to prevent what could be a catastrophic decision by those in the ‘Westminster bubble’. Here’s what we sent, hope it helps folks

    I have been and still am a Lib Dem Councillor (12 years) and a Lib Dem supporter for much longer. There are seven members in my household – ourselves, our grown up children and 2 partners all of whom voted Lib Dem again at this election. Having garnered their views these are our conclusions.

    We voted Lib Dem as we believed their policies and vision for our nation were better than those of the Tories or Labour. The younger members of the family are horrified at the idea of a deal with the Tories having seen their excesses here locally. Being older and perhaps a tad more realistic I am slightly more pragmatic BUT not happy at all either.

    Conservatives
    We are fearful that any ‘deal’ with a party whose policies are diametrically opposed to our own will be ‘short term gain, long term pain’. What price a few seats at the table when it could lose us the trust of the electorate in the future? Both the main parties and the press have used the ‘Vote Lib Dem get……………’ – that statement would surely be justified if we ‘deal’ with a party so opposed to our policies and political reform. (Inheritance tax, social justice, electoral reform, even hunting with hounds to name just a few ‘little difficulties’.)
    Labour
    Whilst their policies are much closer to our own there are a few issues that would need thrashing out – but nothing insurmountable in our opinion. Also, it must not be forgotten that they are willing to reform the voting system and the archaic House of Lords (as opposed to the tinkering proposed by the tories).

    Speaking to my Lib Dem colleagues we have all experienced huge support for reform, and indeed for the Lib Dems at this election. Please do not underestimate this because of the results we got – just because people were not brave enough this time or wanted change and voted Tory ‘to be on the safe side’. IF PR had been in I am convinced our vote would have been much higher. That said – what price our vote if we align with the Tories? Very little I suspect.

    1. We are opposed to a formal coalition with either party but even more so with the Tories than Labour although we feel that working/voting with either (preferably Labour) on issues compatible with our policies is good.
    2. Reform of the electoral system including an all-elected House of Lords is non-negotiable in our opinion.

    It was right of Nick and the party to attempt to find common ground BUT unless there are HUGE concessions by the Tories (which we doubt) we should retain our integrity and the trust of the electorate and run like hell!

    In the event that happens, in the interests of the country we should attempt to work with Labour and the others for as long as possible – and at least until we get the political reform we and this country needs.

  • Emma Newsome 8th May '10 - 10:14am

    If the Liberal Democrats go with the Tories then they have proven they are not interested in the people who voted for them and if they think this election went badly next time they will loose at least half of there seats as people who don’t want the tories in will vote Labour and those wanting to keep Labour out will just vote tory.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 8th May '10 - 10:15am

    I reckon the election has “delivered” just about the worst possible result for the LIb Dems, and that every course of action would be pretty calamitous in some respect.

    (1) A coalition with the Tories would split the party, would incur the unpopularity of association with what the government will have to do, and might still not produce PR anyway.

    (2) Support for a Tory minority government almost certainly wouldn’t produce PR, would fail to provide the country with stable government, and would still cause problems within the party and unpopularity in the country.

    (3) Constructing a coalition with Labour and the minority parties might be just about feasible to start with, but it’s difficult to see it providing strong and stable government or enduring a full term of unpopularity. It would still cause problems within the party. The coalition still might not be able to deliver a Commons majority for PR, and it’s questionable whether a referendum could be won in the circumstances.

    On the whole, I suppose number (2) is the least nightmarish, but I don’t envy Nick Clegg his choice.

  • Chris Mills 8th May '10 - 10:15am

    Nick has done nothing yet.

    People are screaming as if it’s a done deal. It isn’t.

    All he has indicated is that the Tories have the right to try to form a government first in the overall opinion of the electorate (most seats and votes for a single party).

    He has said it in a very clever way, which indicates to me that he will listen to the Tories, who won’t offer what he wants (PR), not reach a deal and then start negotiations with Labour. They are offering electoral reform. But he then has to argue for Gordon Brown’s head. Gordon clearly has lost his mandate to govern. If Labour can’t agree on that then I suspect Nick will just walk away from them too, and have won on principle.

  • Suliman Ahmed 8th May '10 - 10:18am

    I voted Lib Dems for Oldham, and I feel a shared agreement with Labour is much more prudent as the Tories will share with noone and are a backwards step for this country. Any step involving Vince Cable to be the New Chancellor and providing the Liberal Policies is a great move!

  • I believe the only way you can work with the conservatives is if you make them hold to referendum on the electoral system. If you make a coalition with it’s undemocratic as they were a party despite the unfair electoral system have lost.
    And I believe that we are close towards classical liberalism then the ideologies of a nanny state.
    No this will not please all party but they do not realise that we will sell more of our morals to labour then to the Conservatives.

  • If Constitutional Reform is critical and Cameron refuses to agree Nick will go to talk with Brown. The Lib Dem agreement would be to support a Brown Queen’s Speech which would lead with measures on the Economy and Electoral Reform. A referendum would/could introduce Electoral Reform immediately for an early election.

  • My view: Agreement on a referendum regarding proportional representation/ electoral systems is a must before the Lib Dems agree to work with either party. A change in electoral systems is probably the best a lot of us can hope to get from this situation… don’t miss your chance boys!

  • I believe the only way you can work with the conservatives is if you make them hold to referendum on the electoral system. If you make a coalition with Labour it’s undemocratic as they were a party despite the unfair electoral system have lost.
    And I believe that we are close towards classical liberalism then the ideologies of a nanny state.
    No this will not please all party but they do not realise that we will sell more of our morals to labour then to the Conservatives.

  • I believe the only way you can work with the conservatives is if you make them hold to referendum on the electoral system. If you make a coalition with Labour it’s undemocratic as they were a party despite the unfair electoral system have lost.
    And I believe that we are closer towards classical liberalism then the ideologies of a nanny state.
    No this will not please all party but they do not realise that we will sell more of our morals to labour then to the Conservatives.

  • During this election I wanted to be able to make a positive vote……and not for a party who I slightly less distasteful than another. Please don’t get into bed with the Tories unless they are prepared to change the electoral system

  • We need an unqualified unconditional and very public commitment to proportional representation with action within 12 months and cabinet seats

    The absolute minimum is the above – if the tories/labour insist on a referendum on PR so be it.

    If there is a referendum the type of PR offered should be agreed in principle now and both sides of the campaign should be solely publicly resourced ie no unison or other deep pockets financing a no campaign. We do not want a rerun of Tony Blair’s vague promises to Paddy Ashdown.

    The rest can be vaguer eg a commitment to looking at ways of improving the tax position of the lowest paid.

    The Lib Lab pact of the late 70s did little for us while associating us with the failures of the labour government. If we are to have responsibility for supporting the next government we must have power as well hence the need for cabinet seats.

    Anything less will leave us where we were in 1979.

  • aithea Wall 8th May '10 - 10:27am

    Lib-Tory .. No this will not please all party realise that before we could possible sell out our morals we need fix the deficit first. Realistically we are closer towards classical liberalism then a nanny state that pretend to be socialists.

  • Neil Megson 8th May '10 - 10:28am

    If Nick signs up for a deal with the tories that does not include a genuine commitment to some for of PR, then it is not only not a deal worth doing, it would be a deal that would see us lose any hope of power in any of our Northern towns and cities. We have just lost Liverpool, and overall control of Sheffield. We will never get them back and will lose in Newcastle, Leeds, be wiped out in places like Pendle (just when the corner seemed to have been turned agaist the BNP too!). A sheer, unmitigated disaster!

  • aithea Wall 8th May '10 - 10:28am

    Lib-Tory .. No this will not please all party members but you need to realise that before we could possible sell out our morals we need fix the deficit first.
    Realistically however we are closer towards classical liberalism then a nanny state that pretend to be socialists.

  • I don’t have to explain myself I just wanted to state if Clegg goes with Cameron I will never vote for Clegg again. Lib Dem and Tory are on opposite ends of the specturm so why would any Lib dem voter in my opinion be happy for a union with Cameron. It is madness

  • I don’t have to explain myself I just wanted to state if Clegg goes with Cameron I will never vote for Clegg again. Lib Dem and Tory are on opposite ends of the specturm so why would any Lib dem voter in my opinion be happy for a union with Cameron. It is madness

  • Nick Clegg is a man of honour and I respect his decision to talk to the Tories first.
    However, he is not obliged to do a deal with them.

    The Lib Dems are a centre-left party which has certain values and policies that are incompatible with those of the Tories.

    Please Nick, don’t do a deal with David Cameron. I feel that most grass-roots Lib Dem Supporters would be dismayed and disillusioned if a deal was struck with any party other than Labour.

  • Andy Shepherd 8th May '10 - 10:31am

    A deal with Labour could easily involve supporting a temporary Brown budget with electoral reform/reforendum on PR as a key leading element and with a new election planned for this year.
    I urge LDem MPs and Clegg to take notice of your memebers and supporters, particularly those decent men and women who voted tactically to keep the tory party out of power. Our country voted for ‘progressive’ parties not the tories! ‘Trust’ in the LDems is going I’ve already heard it and it is very worrying.

  • I voted Lib Dem this time because I really don’t want to help the Conservatives. I remember all too well what life was like with them in power. Maggie Thatcher raped the economy and ruined the UK with privatisation. NO NO NO to them getting together. This would not be why I voted for Lib Dem!

  • John Hackett 8th May '10 - 10:37am

    The Conservatives have openly said they will not consider proportional representation.
    No PR means no electoral reform.

    The conservatives have more in common policy wise than the UKIP than with the Lib-Dems, we should not let isses about who becomes prime minister be more important than governing based on policy.

    A Lib-Lab coalition would represent 52% of the vote. The 52% that voted liberal.

    If The Liberal Democrats form a coalition with the Conservatives, they will lose my vote forever.

  • I voted Lib Dem. Form an alliance with any party that offers proportional representation. If none offer this then form an alliance with labour.

  • Gus Ironside 8th May '10 - 10:43am

    The Tories are offering nothing of value. Our best bet is a Labour/Lib Dem/SDLP/Green coalition. PR must be the priority. I wish people would stop saying all this nonsense about ” If Clegg does X, I’ll never vote Lib Dem again”. C’mon folks, we need to remain united as a party.

  • lib dem and tories don’t have the same view,so i don’t see why they should strike a deal with conservative party.fine they have the largest seats but not everyone believes that why there wasn’t a big win over labour.

  • Estefania Diaz 8th May '10 - 10:46am

    Lib Dems marrying the Conservatives???!!! I don’t think so!
    Fair enough that Nick wants to talk to the Tories first, but he won’t give in, he, basically can not!! Of the three big parties, Conservatives and Lib Dems are the ones that disagree the most….All that campaining, NIck, for what then!? All those values, principles???!!!! Cameron said yesterday that he will listen to you, but also said very clear that he is not prepare to change much!!
    If Nick agrees to be David’s muppet, I would be so disappointed.
    He has more to look forward if he decides to work with Gordon. And WE would definitely have too!

  • Nick Clegg has chosen to talk to Cameron first and the emphasis is very much on the Conservatives to ‘seek to prove’ that they could run a stable government. This does not mean that Clegg is Pro-Tory or that he thinks the conservatives would be more capable that a lib-lab coallition, it’s just a process he is going through and hopefully we will find him also talking to labour if it is found that they do not have enough common ground with the Conservatives.

    Keep up your support for Lib Dems and Nick Clegg in this uncertain time. Could you imagine the what the press campaign would have been like if Nick had chosen to speak to Gordon Brown first? It is a shrewd decision to speak to Cameron first while leaving the door open for Gordon Brown and a lib-lab coallition. Failing this he could decide not to support either. Personally I think it is in the best interest of the UK for Clegg to risk the negative press that would surround a lib-lab deal and try to take us progressively through what is going to be a very difficult global period.

  • I am for the Liberal Democrats. However, I am very anti-Tory. If a deal or coalition is made with the Tories, then I’m sorry, but I will loose my respect and support for this party, and I’m sure from discussions many others will too. In the long run, you’d be making a big mistake, and betraying those who voted for you. Please, I implore you, listen to the public, listen to your supporters, don’t make a deal with the hated Tories. Thank you.

  • Steve B, Newcastle 8th May '10 - 11:02am

    Check out this poll – http://www.facebook.com/democracyuk#!/democracyuk?v=app_60082431253

    350,000 users of facebook have voted and 46% say yes to a labour coallition .. 24% for a conservative and the other 30% want a re-election! I think this sends a clear message to Nick and the Liberals. Indeed if you check Nick Cleggs facebook page you’ll find very little support for the tories from the thousands of people who are posting.

    Please dont think short term and the benefit getting into a coallition with the tories can give .. long term you will end up turning alot of support back to Labour and undo all the good you have done so very recently.

    Steve

  • What’s the core dilemma?

    1. If we make a deal or enter a formal coalition with the Conservatives, we will be blamed inside and outside the party for their unpopular decisions, and lose the progressive bloc of voters.

    2. If we make a deal or enter a formal coalition with Labour, we risk propping up a massively unpopular party and Prime Minister, and being blamed by the electorate for our hypocrisy in supporting the old politics.

    3. Either way, we would lose the next election badly under the first-past-the-post system and become nationally irrelevant.

    Is there a way out of the dilemma?

    4. The only priority is electoral reform; this is a unique, once-in-a-century opportunity to achieve it.

    How to secure this and at what price?

    5. Make referendum and straight parliamentary vote on electoral reform a non-negotiable in the national interest. If the Conservatives refuse, negotiate with Labour to force reform through.

    Recommendation

    6. At all costs, back Nick Clegg to seize this historic moment to change the electoral system. It’s now or never.

  • I understand the difficult position that the Lib Dems are now facing, but I voted for them whole heartedly to keep the Conservative’s OUT!

    I agree….. in the end people probably voted for what they knew…….. As we know this is not progressive! We as a nation still want the change and reform that you as a party promise you can deliver!

    So…….. I’m personally in favour if the Lib Dems formed a coalition with the current Labour party!

    If the public were to become familiar with how the Lib Dems manage and operate within goverment, and after getting to know the individual members of the Lib Dem party more closely and the roles they provide, the public would then see their strengths and what their capabilities are…….. (therefore raising their profile if you like).

    Surely this could make a difference to how much stronger they would by seen by the public by the time of the next General Election!

    If the party choose to get into bed with the Conservatives, they will loose my faith and support and I think I shall never vote for the Lib Dems again!

  • if libdems do this. they will lose my vote forever

  • neil jones-bester 8th May '10 - 11:11am

    I do hope that nick clegg see’s sense and does NOT join the tories, we dont want another homphobic, rich only UK

  • If he accepts cabinet posts for dropping PR, he is an utter traitor to all the people who voted Lib Dem because they want electorial reform and will confine Lib Dems to the bucket of history.

    Many ex Labour people voted for them because they were fed up with the Iraq war and saw the Lib Dems as becoming more left leaning on many issues than Labour, especially the young.

    Do you think they will vote Lib Dem again if they are so betrayed? Nick Clegg positioned himslef as a man of integrity but it seems he is just a career politician after all. VER DISAPPOINTED with him and I hope his party stop him or they are dead meat!.

  • Peter Scott 8th May '10 - 11:20am

    Thank goodness some of those who can influence things appear to be willing to look at a Con-Lib government. I was appalled at the initial reaction on here.

    Some things to remember:

    PR: It is by no means certain that the public would vote for PR in a referendum and to foist it on them by other means (a Lib-Lab pact) would be morally wrong and ruin our stance on Fairness. If Cameron wants to be seen as fair then he should not be scared of a referendum – less than 30% of voters voted for a Party promoting PR I think. PR is a sideshow – the important question is what is best for the country – A Con-Lib majority coalition which will offer us a way out of the mess we are in, or a Lib-Lab minority coalition which will limp along and drive us
    deeper into the mire.

    Gordon Brown: Much as the country dislikes him he is leader of the Labour Party, elected by the Labour Party. What if Labour were in a position to say “OK we’ll back a Lib Dem government but only if you change your leader”? To go into a negotiation with Brown on the premise that he stands aside is unrealistic. He could rightly say, “Well, I got nearly 2M more votes than you, Mr Clegg, perhaps it is you who should stand down”. For this reason alone a Lib-Lab coalition is suicidal.

    People who say that they will never vote LD again if this or that Party is co-operated with really need to reconsider whether they want PR or whether they should really be voting for the other Party who they prefer, as they don’t understand the idea behind consensus politics imho.

  • I have voted Lib Dem in the last three general elections, in a constituency that has been Labour since 1922. I think politics in this country needs a shake up, especially with regard to electoral reform. Only Labour and the Lib Dems can do this, and this is why I have given the Lib Dems my support in the past. However, if Cleg and the Lib Dems get into bed with the Tories I will be siding with history in my constituency. The Lib Dems and Labour are the only coalition that would benefit the country as a whole, I know they still dont have a majority but they are more likely to gain the support of other parties, and bring about change together, than a coalition with the Tories. Clegg & Co. please dont take us back to the bad old days!!!!!!!!!

  • Nick Clegg’s priority has to be PR – no compromise: If it comes down to brinkmanship then Clegg has to stubbornly hold his ground, whatever the press may say, or however much politician’s may ‘spit’ on him for perceived ‘lack of cooperation’, and apparently threatening the economy at a time of crisis.

    The fact is both Labour and Conservatives have been happy with the ‘duopoly’ of power because it has generally given them overall majorities: The argument that PR results in ‘weak government’ because they are coalitions is not only disingenuous but WRONG. Look at the situation we are in now – FPTP is about to produce a coalition government, (if we’re lucky), whereas an overhaul of the constitution can and should mean a government designed for coalition. If Nick Clegg sticks to his guns and forces through PR and constitutional reform it will only be a good thing for our democracy, and ultimately a stabilising thing for our country.

    In a world where his choices are limited, this is Clegg’s bold and – to me – only choice: Clegg could go down in history as the politician that revolutionised our democracy, or he could take a back seat supporting either the Tories or Labour and the 2010 election could go down as yet another missed opportunity for ER.

  • I hate to say this, but the decision may not be ours or Nick’s to make. Look at the markets (hiss, boo…). If we go with Labour, the UK’s borrowing costs will go through the roof; much bigger spending cuts / higher taxes will be needed to cope with the deficit — and the new election which would surely follow the waves of public sector strikes would be a gift to the Tories.

    If we go with the Tories, we may get some of our manifesto implemented. We may not get an immediate referendum on AV (which is all Gordon has promised); but in any case, I seriously doubt if public opinion would back PR right now. What better way to answer the critics of PR and coalition government than to show that coalitions cab deliver good results for the country?

    Yes, there will undoubtedly be a backlash against us — but that’s true whichever way we jump. Time to decide whether we’re a party of government or a pressure group. After 3 decades of party membership and dashed hopes, I know which I’d like us to be…

    Rom

  • Charlie Breen 8th May '10 - 11:25am

    I have often voted Lib Dem although not this time around, I actually think some of the policies resemble the old labour party, and that is why I have no idea why Nick Clegg would even entertain this idea of throwing in his lot with the Tories. Heath reneged on the discussion with Thorpe and believe me the Tories will never go for anything other than 1st past the post because anything other than that would mean the Tories will never have a majority again.

  • Roger Shade 8th May '10 - 11:30am

    This is not an easy decision however we do have guidelines to help us, we laid them down at the beginning of the campaign. We would not be respecting the views of our electors if we failed to at least insist on the very minimum of those 4 promises. For me the reform of the political system is the priority. I do not just mean ‘fair votes but also an elected Upper House and political funding. The millions the Conservatives have spent to buy this election must never be repeated. Whatever we decide to do will harm us as a party, yes we must work to protect the National interest but we must stick to our principles and stay faithful to our policies.
    As an afterthought how much easier it would be to carry out these discussions if we had an elected Head of State to provide continuity of Government

  • hellyn goodwin 8th May '10 - 11:33am

    Lib dems…labour…don’t let the blues in for goodness sake. It will be almost criminal to let the tories rule again…lets keep like with like, lib dems would loose to much dignity and relinquish their core to a bunch of toffs…please please please don’t.

  • The British people have spoken and 52% do not want a Tory government. 52% favour a centre / centre left agenda. 52% voted for some form of electoral reform. Like it or not the moral right therefore lies with some agreement with Labour. This is an historic opportunity to change our absurd electoral system. Lib Dems will never be forgiven if they pass up this once in a generation opportunity. Remember the Tories have always said anything to gain power and will do so again.

  • I voted tactically to keep out the Tories. If you help them my vote has been wasted. There have been many hard fought campaigns in the South West between Liberal Democrats and Tories and to think you now may help them must dismay many activists.

  • Val Mackinnon 8th May '10 - 11:40am

    NO TO TORY DEAL.

  • Colin W, it is everyone’s bussiness what you do, not just those who voted libdems. This is our country we’re debating, not parties. I was talking on behalf of those that i know who voted libdem, in my earlier post. Had i not voted labour, i would have voted libdem. Conservatives would have never been a choice.

  • If people wanted the Tories in they would have won on a majority vote, they didn’t!! More than half the country do not want a Tory government. We should have the chance to vote again, many people didn’t get their say. We go to other contries to ensure people get their chance to vote, but we can’t ensure that in our own I thought we lived in a democracy.

    If people knew Nick Clegg would go with a tory government I doubt many of them would voted Lib Dem’s, that was the feeling at my university yesterday. Tories lie, I believe Gordan Borwn will be frank and say what they can offer a deal with and what they can’t, the Tories are blind they don’t run the country they can offer what ever they want to suck you in, DON’T TRUST THEM!

  • Mark Ellis-Jones 8th May '10 - 11:42am

    I’ve voted Lib Dem for years in the hope that one day they would be in a position to do the unthinkable and get PR. Do a deal with the Tories and I could never vote for the Lib Dems again. Please, please Mr Clegg, form a progressive alliance with Labour.

  • Rayleigh Resident 8th May '10 - 11:42am

    PLEASE please do NOT under any circumstances trust the Conservatives and agree to a coalition or other informal agreement, to do this will only serve to undermine your integrity and you will lose the confidence of your supporters. Do not trust Cameron and Co, even IF he offers you a referendum he will campaign against PR and make you look foolish…

    You are principled people and that is why you are in the Lib Dem Party and haven’t taken the easy route to power by choosing to be in the Labour or Tory party. That is why I voted for you despite knowing Susan Gaszczak, the candidate in this constituency would never win. (Tory Mark Francois has a 22,000 majority!).

    Arrogant and completely out of touch, Liam Fox infuriated me this morning when he said on the BBC that the nation expects you to do the right thing (and agree to a deal with the Tory’s) because it was a “voters” election. CORRECT Mr Fox and for that very reason the voters, the nation, demands electoral reform as an absolute non-negotiable condition of any coalition or deal… If this does not happen the impetus gained during this election will be lost and I can guarantee that people will be turned off by politics again and will not bother to vote in safe seats.

    IF a deal with the Labour party becomes a realistic option for a stable government then an immediate referendum on PR must be a condition, preferably with the resignation of Brown as PM and the appointments of Vince as Chancellor and Nick in another key cabinet role such as Home Secretary?? Otherwise let Cameron attempt to govern with his minority…

    I have to add at this stage how utterly disappointed I was with you that your candidate Susan Gaszczak was NOT local to Rayleigh and was not even from Essex for that reason alone she will have lost crucial floating voter support. Local-ism is a very big deal so please don’t make that mistake next time… On October 14th???

  • James Leach 8th May '10 - 11:46am

    While i despise the tories, we simply can’t put Brown back in number 10. It will damage the long term reputation of the party to join labour in government. Maybe a conservative minority government would allow us to limit some of it’s more thatcheresque policies, while also provoking confidence in the markets and keeping Brown out of number 10. that would keep the tory boys up in the city happy and the markets would improve as a result. It’s sad that this fact is true but i know enough of these city traders to know that they do not trade based on much more than illogical fantasies anymore, so a conservative government would help the markets before the even implement a single policy as the perception is that the tories would help them. The damage they will do to the fabric of our society can be limited as they are a minority.

    I hope our party leaders do not have a rush of blood to the head if they are offered cabinet positions in a coalition with either party. Forget about electoral reform for a second and think about the policies that help the country as well as the ones that benifit the party. we may actually have more power in opposition to a minority government than as a minority member of either an illogical or impractical coalition government.

  • Please don’t sell out and make a pact with the Conservatives when you could achieve and deliver much more easily with Labour.
    I haven’t voted for the Lib Dems consistently for you to do that. In fact, I will never forgive you and will never vote Lib Dem again if you do.

  • I voted Lib Dem for two reasons: (i) in my constituency it is a LibDem/Tory choice and I did not want aTory either locally or as part of a national government (ii) I have become disillusioned with Labour for some time over various issues and some Lib Dem policies seem genuinely more progressive. I also support reform of the electoral system to reflect share of the vote more accurately. Like many others who have posted comments I would be appalled to find my vote used to support Tory policies to which I am totally opposed and would reconsider my voting behaviour in the future, which would be a shame as I would be sorry to lose my local Lib Dem MP.

  • Rayleigh Resident 8th May '10 - 11:54am

    And another thing! :-) For the sake of the economy please make a timely decision… continuing uncertainty will badly affect the markets on Monday morning and that is also to the detriment of the nation so don’t waste time talking to Cameron and Co you shouldn’t be even pretending to entertain the idea of an agreement with the Conservatives!

  • John Perkins 8th May '10 - 11:56am

    We didn’t vote for Nick to have him hook up with tories …. hope that message is clear enough … suggest you look at Nick’s facebook page to see the strength of feeling already posted.

    Leaving people a message to post here by 2pm is hardly satisfactory as many people might not see it til this evening.thus leaving more people disenfrachised! You have more in common with Labour and in my opinion were stupid to say no prematurely.

    If you hook up with Tories you will lose a lot of support next time and disappear into the mist of history! They will never agree to PR in reality as they may say they will think about it – not a solid promise will be had on it.

    John Perkins

  • Simon Whyte 8th May '10 - 11:57am

    Electoral reform has to be our number 1 consideration. The conservatives wont do that for us Labour will it really is a no brainer

  • No reform, no deal.

    We will suffer through any deal, so we need to seize the opportunity for a fundamental & *urgent* reform of parliamentary voting – STV, in particular. A referendum seems to be a stalling tactic.

    We have to speak with the Tories, but Labour seems to be the best bet for reform, although they may drag their heels in progressing matters.

  • Kartikey Srivastava 8th May '10 - 12:00pm

    Please Nick, don’t do it. I support you, I’m a member but I would be digusted if you got into bed with the Tories. It’s a trap, please don’t do it.

  • I do not want a government that puts the interests of corporations and business before the greater good of the people they are supposed to serve. That is exactly what I fear from the tories. We have seen how biased the media has been in this election campaign, just imagine how much more skewed it would be with tories i…n power. Apart from the scrapping of ID cards I am not aware of any tory policy I agree with, libdem policies however make much more sense to me but how there could ever be any deal with tories is beyond me.

  • Peter Scott 8th May '10 - 12:04pm

    Labour won 41 seats (FORTY ONE!!) in Scotland with just over ONE million votes. So 72% of the LD total UK seats with only a million votes.

    Scary, particularly when you consider that they all vote on English legislation.

  • John Perkins 8th May '10 - 12:06pm

    Reason you got that twice, accidentally, was your site is so slow I thought it had not worked as I was left with a hanging page!

    John Perkins

  • For those convinced that Gordon Brown is interested in electoral reform, yes, he is — but only in the interest of the Labour party. He wants AV. At the risk of teaching grandmothers to suck eggs, this is not PR; it simply means that each voter gets a chance to rank FPTP candidates in order of preference. From Labour’s point of view, it embeds tactical voting into the system.

    In lots of constituencies, where LibDems run third to Con and Lab, LibDem second preference votes could win the seat for Labour.

    Although there might be some gain in seats for LibDems from such a scheme, it’s not too difficult to see that the big winners would be Labour.

    Don’t be deceived. Brown is just as much wedded to his own interests as Cameron is to his. He wants to use the LibDems to counter the Tories’ dominance in English constituencies. That’s all. He won’t go for PR.

  • If he goes with the Tories i will never vote LD again. OUr support will crumble and we can forget about fighting the big 2. We will no longer have any credibility and will struggle for 3rd place !
    It has to be labour or nothing , either way would be ok for us and could see our support rise. We would probably gain labour voters if we went in with them

  • Guaranteed date for referendum on real PR system has to be a red line. Doesn’t matter which party we’re negotiating with. This is our best chance of getting it ever – and many people voted Lib Dem because that was what they wanted. On the doorsteps in the campaign (as a parliamentary candidate) reform of the voting system was the issue raised more than any other, much to my surprise. Even Tory voters wanted it.

    Lib Dems are Lib Dems and not the same as either Lab or Con. Working with either would be difficult. But Cons have the most seats and most votes, so we have to talk to them first.

  • Offering us a referendum on PR is not the same as saying they will support it, or that they won’t use the media influence they have to derail it. PR will be a potentially difficult sell as it is anyway – it’s a complicated system which some voters will not understand, especially once some of the press go to town on it. It is not in the Tory’s interest to allow PR to happen.
    On other matters, there are some shared ideas on the more laissez faire economic measures, but in social terms, remember, this is the party that had opposed every form of minority rights. While some would argue that they share our line on ID cards and 28-day detention, i would be very surprised if these positions are not reversed once in government should they appear to be tough on crime.
    On foreign policy we are in very different places – trident and europe most obviously, but more generally in our world view. They were the cheerleaders on Iraq – they wouldn’t have done anything different and are even more atlanticist in their outlook than Blair.
    Yes, we need to be mature and have the conversations, but getting into bed with the tories at this stage is dangerous – it could undermine the very fabric of the party, and will certainly undermine our electoral support. If we do this, and fail to get full STV, the rug could be pulled completely next time. We failed to convince voters that we were viable this time round – how much harder will it be if we’ve been hanging on the coat tails of the tories and failing to achieve anything?

  • I’m a democrat, which is why I vote and support liberals, but that means respecting democratic decisions.

    Having a principle of fairness it would be irresponsible to reject the decision of the people in this election, and also the opportunity to endure the government we do get makes fair decisions, while effectively tacking the problems the country faces.

    A principle such as voting reform should not be seen as an all or nothing objective but something that needs to be worked towards. The UK has started down this road in Scotland and Wales, it could be introduced locally. A free vote in the commons and a referendum would allow the Tories to maintain their position of opposing it while giving the people the opportunity to decide, and also maintain a coalition the country needs.

    Principles are never achievable unless you are also realistic and pragmatiic. Idealism on its own will only lead to isolation and no forseeable change.

    Do the right thing Nick – put country first and deliver what you realistically can. People (rather than party) will thnak you for it.

  • Sheila Rose 8th May '10 - 12:18pm

    Email Sent!
    Have spoken to a lot of people now, who like me voted LibDem last thursday, only to feel disgusted by the thoughts of a LibDem – Con alliance.
    It would appear that the voters no longer have a say – and these meetings are now behind closed doors – surely if the majority of LibDem voters do not wish to see a LibDem – Con Alliance for the next goverment of this Country of ours, then their feelings should play a large part in any decisions made, after all we chose to elect the 56 LibDem MP……………is this were our say ends? So much for a fairer Britian.
    Ands whats with the Media of this country – they voters are now ignored it seems, where are their polls now, how about a poll of LibDem voters asking which way they would now like their vote to be represented – if we did have PR my second choice would be Labour.
    Sorry to rant very annoyed with the whole process.

  • If Labour want a deal with the Lib Dems they need to come up with a realistic proposal. I would suggest they do the following:

    1. Dump Gordon – it’s not reasonable to expect him to remain
    2. Pull together a deal with the other parties
    3. Give the Lib Dems high profile seats in the Cabinet (maybe even PM to calm the country??)…
    4. Ram through a deal on PR.

    Without 1, 3 and 4 there can be no deal with the Lib Dems. 2 will make the whole thing work.

  • If we had enough seats to be enough with Labour then it would perhaps be a “no-brainer”.

    BUT we simply cannot afford to fail to make a workable deal at this point and for whatever reasons we haven’t got the Seats or votes we hoped for. A deal with the Toreis that works is going to be better than a shambles with Labour. Also while Labour may still have plenty of members who are close to us the Leadership hasn’t been for the last 13 years.

    I hope we can get a deal without Brown if we do turn to Labour but it would all depend on the ‘Other’ MPs who I haven’t heard anything from or about yet. I imagine we can count on the Green and the Celts seemed to be saying they would be up for sale, dunno about the DUP though. ..and I’m not sure we can afford to pay the price the Celts will want but maybe we have to anyway.

    Letting the Tories in as a minority Government for a fixed and curtailed Term subject to them acting on the Deficit might be the best deal we can do ..but I don’t know what’s been offered.

  • Conservative have won, fair and square. To make a coalition with Labour would be bizarre and unfair, and definitely not SEEKING THE CHANGE that Nick Clegg has spoken so much about.
    Change is what both Nick and David have in common, amongst other things. Do you seriously want Gordon Brown to remain in power for the next 5 years? Do you really think he’ll care about the Lib Dems policies? Do you really think the huge amount of people that voted for Conservative will be happy that the party they rightly voted in will now be pushed aside for two losing parties?
    I voted Lib dem, i support Lib dem, but i think a Lib/Con partnership would be the best idea to get us out of this Hung Parliament. We all want change, why on earth would you go crawling back to Labour?

  • if talks with conservatives break down and a coalition with labour is considered, for this to be acceptable to the country and money markets, this must be fiscally very strong. remember that gordon brown as chancellor led this country into massive debt during boom times, and alistair darling has so far done a decent job in beginning to lead the country out of recession. he is less partisan and divisive than most labour leaders and his policies have a lot in common with vince cable, who was the first to warn about the eminent banking crisis. so my suggestion is

    1. GORDON BROWN TO STEP ASIDE ( propping him up will destroy lib dem vote base )
    2.ALISTAIR DARLING FOR PM
    3.VINCE CABLE FOR CHANCELLOR
    4.referendum for proportional representation

    this set-up will be a very respectable coalition on economic policies, and will carry much more weight than george osborne’s team. also, a prime minister leading a coalition must be a very measured and balanced personality, to be able to give regards to views of allies.the general rule is that those who are craving to be PM, are mostly the worst candidates to be PM in a coalition setting.

  • Nick had to talk to the Tories first. He is not obliged to do a deal with
    them!

    We say we want PR…we have to accept that that makes partnership
    politics compulsory.

    We have to show that we are capable of discussing the future of our
    country with people who lead other political parties. That does not
    compel us to agree with any of them.

    No one should be allowed to lose sight of the fact that our political
    opponents are supporters of a great electoral fraud.

    UNLESS we can overturn that fraud, which means that it takes

    35,021 vote to elect a Conservative MP

    33,338 to elect a Labour MP

    and

    MORE THAN 119,000 votes to elect a Liberal Democrat to the HoC

    we SHOULD NOT do a deal.

    No one who is an LD member with any campaigning experience believes
    Conservative or Labour politicians can be entirely trusted. We also know
    the economic situation is dire. Negotiations have to be tough, specific and
    quick.

    Going into talks, contemplating understandings/deals/a coalition – and being
    prepared to deliver any such thing, means taking great risks. We are in the risk
    business if we want to change our undemocratic and illiberal political system.

    We are also asking a lot of a small number of our party members…and we have
    to trust them and the arrangements we have put in place to support them in the
    circumstances they/we now face. It is greatly to the credit of our party that WE DID
    think things out in advance and develop the machinery to support the party through
    a national vote in favour of a balanced parliament.

    Any deal will have to be done with the agreement of the PLD and FE. A special
    conference is not a runner.

    I expect the party’s negotiators to trust their own judgement and to
    communicate clearly with the PLD and FE. Providing they do that and the
    PLD and FE support or reject an agreement with another party/group of
    parties I will live with that – even if I disagree with the outcome.

    PROVIDING we negotiate for what we want – LD policies and above all
    fundamental reform of the political system – I believe the majority of LD
    members will be prepared to live with the consequences.

    Because the key – the absolute key – is reform of the electoral system, I
    recognise that not reaching any agreement with other parties is likely to
    lead to a fresh GE.

  • Nigel Heffernan 8th May '10 - 12:27pm

    First order of the day is a statement to reassure the markets that the Lib Dems will ensure that the next budget is passed by Parliament, and represents a credible programme to reduce net public borrowing.

    That means tax rises: I dont’ like them either, but the news feed on the trading floor has shown disturbing images from Greece. It could happen here, and we know it: the electorate have Greece on it on the news too, and the over-50’s remember the IMF bailout.

    This also means a compromise: Osborne wants to raise VAT, a regressive form of taxation that affects the rich far less than middle-income households and the poor. Mr. Cable would prefer to see a rise in the basic rate of tax, and we’ve campaigned on this before – it’s not a ‘toxic’ issue, whatever the papers say, and we do not need to fear it the way that Labour seem to do.

    My suggestion: every penny that Osborne wants to put on VAT must be matched by a penny on income tax.

    And a an off-the-wall idea? Cameron has said he wants welfare reform: bring in Frank Field in a statesmanlike gesture of cross-party consensus-building that will help allay the public’s mistrust of Conservative attitudes to the Welfare safety-net. But please let me see video footage of Gordon Brown’s face if you do: he loathes Frank Field, and a personal vendetta against him is the main reason that our leading authority on the economics of welfare has been cut out the policy-making loop.

    Finally, pass on my commiserations to Dr. Evan Harris: it is a long, long time since we were partnered together in anatomy and physiology practicals as students. That neither of us have ended up working as doctors is, in one or both cases, an immeasurable gain to the medical professsion.

    Yours etc.

    Nigel Heffernan
    Enfield.

  • leon vincent 8th May '10 - 12:28pm

    I am a labour voter but one who has encoraged people to vote lib dem in neighbour constituancy to keep tory’s out. i agree with a lot of lib dem policy, i think, like labour we both want a fairer country, a con/lib coalition cannot in anyway show the views of the 24% of people who voted lib dem, and if this is away to achive a fairer democracy then we are abusing our democratic system to create a further democratic stsyem. two wrongs dn’t make a right, you can’t abuse your voters.

  • @ Doctor GP

    Dream ticket!

  • The Tories will use the LibDems as scapegoats if anything goes wrong, PLEASE co-operate with Labour, the country obviously wants change BUT we don’t want a Conservative change!

  • I’m a Lib Dem voter and I abhor the Tories.

    I would be much happier if they could work something out with the Labour party

  • First up – I loathe the Tories, always have and always will. I’ve been there on the pavements/doors in Winchester, North-East Fife and host of other places – fighting them (and seeing their lies about us and our policies).

    But, above all else, the UK needs a proper Government, with a workable majority – one with the ability to actually govern. We mustn’t end up as another Greece. Short of another election (and no guarantee that would be any more decisive..) the only option is a Lib Dem-Tory tie up.

    A “confidence and supply” agreement, with no place in Cabinet, would just end up badly. All the risk of taint by association with unpopular Tory decisions. But no actual power, or chance to lead. No say over the timing of the next election. And crucially no chance to show the public that coalitions can work. No referendum on PR will be won until people have a positive frame of reference for coalitions. More importantly Nick, Vince could actually drive a Govt agenda on climate change, civil liberties, banks, fair tax – and get credit for it.

    No simple choices now…

  • I agree with Rachel – if he does then my membership and future votes will not be with the lib dems

  • Andy Shepherd 8th May '10 - 12:38pm

    Every single person I know who voted LDem (some as supporters and many tactically) are stunned and very worried by this turn of event and the possibility that after voting to keep the tories out they may get into power!
    Every one of them has also stated they will not vote LDem again, it is essential to keep the progressive voice together but Mr Clegg has just thrown it away and is loossing votes and support by the hour!
    PR in any form will not come with deals with the tories! And, how possibly could LDems actually vote for and agree with any tory policies that are at complete odds with liberal democratic values???

  • @Rebecca , @ Paul S , others

    The sad truth is that neither the Lib Dems or Labour won enough seats to make that partnership a possibility. It just cant happen.

  • Alex Perkins 8th May '10 - 12:45pm

    Ok – negotiate with Cameron by all means. But it won’t get a guarantee of real PR. That is not in his gift. So what’s the point? Once the pretence is over let us withdraw and allow DC to form a minority government. We can vote for the bills we like – and against those we don’t. WE can then use a private members bill to introduce PR. Lab and the others will support it. Job done. Everyone Happy!

    The other course leads to ruin. Getting into bed with the tories would be a betrayal of our supporters, activists and members. Let alone all of those that we asked to vote for us in seats up and down the country to keep the tories out.

    I have not spent the last 30 years fighting for this party against right-wing, anti-european, moneyed interests to have it sold out from under my feet at this stage. There is no moral basis for coalition with the conservatives. There is no basis of agreement on policies. There can be no future in it at all.

    Alex

  • Jon Bellingam 8th May '10 - 12:46pm

    We have to be grown up about what we do, but maintain our values, identity and integrity.

    The figures don’t stack up for a workable pact with Labour. A coalition with the Tories is not just distasteful, it is electoral suicide. However a policy based agreement with a minority Tory Government could be workable for long enough to give the country some form of stability. We can legitimately bring some greater sense of fairness to tax policy, and prevent the worst extreme excesses of the Tories in curtailing civil liberties and favouring the rich. If the Tories push too far – the Government will fall.

    And of course voting reform must be our price, at least the promise of Parliamentary time to bring forward legislation for fair votes – not another long grass committee or inquiry. This is not just vested interest, it is about establishing a genuine democracy.

  • why are you all whining at the thought of lib dem – tory coalition. I know plenty of people who were so worried that Gordon Brown may retain power, that instead of voting Lib Dem as they wanted to – they gave their vote to the tories. The people I know who did this, only did so due to thinking Lib Dems would not have enough votes to get into power. I would say that there is possibly a high number of voters who did the same thing!! on the basis of that knowledge i would say Clegg needs to side with the tories or we need to vote again and hope the electorate vote properly second time around

  • What sickens me, is before the election, we were being told, if you don’t want to vote for Labour, then vote for the Lib Dems….because anything is better than the conservatives!
    Many people may have voted Lib Dem as a protest vote against the current government, but also because they did not want a Tory government. I…f the Lib Dems now join with the Conservatives, then it will be a complete stab in the back to all those voters who were led to believe that it would help to keep the Tories out of power! I’ve voted Lib Dem in the hope that one day they would be in a position to do the unthinkable and get PR. Do a deal with the Tories and I could never vote for the Lib Dems again. Please, please Mr Clegg, form a progressive alliance with Labour.

  • I have always been a labour supporter and voted labour again (don’t attack me yet!!) But i do agree that a change is needed and Gordon Brown has messed things up. We use a system where the public cannot actually choose their prime minister. It is down to the party to decide. I was not surprised labour lost so much but i was surprised that lib-dems didn’t win alot more. I don’t believe the tories are going to help anyone but themselves and cameron has already hinted that his party will be in charge regardless of an coalition. I do believe that a lib-lab agreement would benefit the country better and that brown should step down and give clegg the deputy pm.

  • Crispin Levy 8th May '10 - 12:56pm

    I can’t believe I’m actually seeing a present where the libdems would jump into bed with a party as detestable as the conservatives! The thought of a tory government sickens me but not half as much as knowing that my vote may be supporting it.

    I shall not vote for your party ever again if you make this deal for anything less than a guarantee of a referendum on voting reform within the next year!

  • Charles Anderson 8th May '10 - 12:57pm

    We are in favour of a change to the electoral system that will make coalition governments almost inevitable. If we then declare that there is no way we could support party X, in effect we’re promising the voters a permanent coalition between the Lib Dems and party Y, and effectively disenfranchising the 25% to 40% of people who vote for party X. If we then go on to say that we couldn’t possibly support party Y either, PR becomes a recipe for ineffective governments.

    The bottom line is that no party is going to be happy about a coalition, particularly ours. However, for the first time in over thirty years, the fact that no party gets a majority of public support has been reflected in the numbers of seats gained. If we are going to be true to our principles we absolutely have to demonstrate that such an outcome can still lead to effective government.

  • To go along with Labour and Brown’s deathbed conversion to PR may sound attractive but risks sinking the Lib Dems along with Labour who are surely likely to be a spent force for a long time – perhaps for ever.

    I never thought that I would support any close links with Tories, but this is something we may have to accept in the now world of three party politics. The only acceptable deal with Cameron must include a commitment to a referendum on PR and be a limited, working arrangement on confidence and supply, not a full coalition.

  • Tim Bradley 8th May '10 - 1:06pm

    Surely to maintain and keep the political dignity and respect the Liberal Democrats have managed to achieve in this election, PR must be unequivocally achieved by whoevever the party chooses to negotiate with. In my view the Labour party are much more ideologically aligned with us and should be the main party we somehow work alongside.

  • Andy Palmer 8th May '10 - 1:14pm

    The arguments for and against either posture have been very well spelt out above. We can all be agreed that this is a remarkably difficult choice.

    I for one would like to say how disappointed I am with the fairly large number of posters threatening to never again vote LibDem/tear up their membership card in any situation. We are Liberals – we need calm, thoughtful discussion now, and some sense of unity.

    As I have said, the various points raised are both varied and compelling, so I can only identify those that are most important with this party member:

    a) We must, must insist on PR. It is a fundamental goal of the party and essential for progressive British democracy. It would represent the best long-term advance that we could achieve in what would otherwise likely be a rather weak government.

    It would show us how seriously either of the two largest parties took us, and establish the degree to which our MPs are regarded as lobby fodder. And I stress that we do gun for PR, not AV (which would be used by others as our electoral ‘progress’ for a generation, removing PR from the picture). Also, we cannot agree with promises to ‘look into it’ (which is what Mr Cameron’s statement suggested.)

    It would also help our membership and supporters better stomach whatever coalition is accepted (particularly one with the Conservatives)

    b) I personally would feel more comfortable with a rainbow coalition, whilst stressing that it would be neither us ‘propping up’ Labour, nor simply a LibLab pact. It needs to be clear to the public (and, indeed, members and supporters of the various centre-left parties involved) that is would be a progressive alliance with a mandate made of the majority of seats and votes (it is the later which, I believe, would require the inclusion of Dr Lucas).

    Coalition with the Conservatives would *not* be the horror that many seem to be claiming it would be, it would be acceptable, for the various reasons listed by those above. However, I have serious doubts about the Tories’ passion for Constitutional reform, which truly lies at the heart of our party.

    I am (indeed we the party are) not Anti-Tory, but a coalition involving the various centre-left parties would both hold a legitimate mandate (in terms of both votes and seats), and would better support the forward-looking, enlightened reforms that our home has required since the end of the Second World War.

    Andy Palmer, Teacher of Government and Politics and Party Member

  • Reality check: neither Brown nor Cameron can deliver on a promise about PR without the backing of their parties — which they won’t get. Labour have only ever talked about AV; the Tories are wedded to FPTP.

    We won’t get what we want on electoral reform by arm-twisting either the electorate or the other parties. This election result has greatly helped us make our case all round. Let’s build on that, not rush to ruin in the pursuit of a fairytale.

  • Why was this not sent out to Local Party Chairs? Why did I have to find it on Facebook?

  • Coalition with Labour is better for the country as a whole (and the financial markets) and keeping Gordon Brown is key in terms of stability. This is the best option but it will obviously need the smaller parties to assist in order to give a majority.

    Nick needs to be tough with GB, and negotiating with Cameron was a good move to give leverage on GB, however a coalition with the Tories will never work. The core policies are too far apart.

    If coalition with GB/Labour (Chris Huhne: Home Secretary, Vince Cable: Chancellor)

    If there is a coalition with the Tories, Cameron will agree to things in principle but will not carry them out. The likes of Liam Fox and George Osbourne hold the Libdems in complete contempt, and the Tories will treat the Libdems as an inconvenience rather than an effective partner. It will be a disaster for the Party and the country.

    And we know the Tories will never give us full PR but will probably have an inquiry not leading to anything. The Tories do not want PR; as they know it will dramatically increase our seats and reduce theirs if there is another quick election.

    Hope it all goes well as we are all very fearful of a Tory alliance, after a bit of a disaster for the Party in the election polls.

  • Serena Vento 8th May '10 - 1:31pm

    Email sent! hope it helps.. it reads:

    Please do not form an alliance with the Tories!

    There’s A LOT of common ground amongst the parties 55% of the UK electorate voted for. The Tories are out of touch with the majority of voters – the WILL of the people is clearly AGAINST an old-fashioned right-wing government!

    Any type of alliance or coalition with the Tories, I fear, will be disastrous and put the LibDems at great disadvantage. This is NOT what the majority of the electorate wants, as it’s clear from the polls.

    We need electoral reform as soon as possible, however, first and foremost, we need to ensure that the right coalition government is formed to make this happen! The Tories are against PR and they will always be, it’s not in their interest.

    Please LISTEN to the will of the people! We know it’s a very difficult situation for the LibDems right now, but thanks to the Hung Parliament, there is now a once in a lifetime opportunity to change British history. Let’s grasp it!

  • Well, seeing as other people are posting their email responses here:…:

    i’ve only ever voted lib dem and have been a member off and on (changing constituencies cos of moving) since i first voted in a GE in 2001 – i say this to show i’m not a newbie or floater.

    Please exercise extreme caution in any proposed deal with the tories. With the exception of liberal economics, they are massively different from us in so many ways. They have opposed almost every progressive move on minority rights in the history of the country. While they oppose ID cards and 28-day detention, these would be the first policy casualties if they decide they need to get tough. On Europe, defence and foreign policy we are almost diametrically opposed – remember that this is an Atlanticist europhobe party at it’s core, that was the cheerleader for Iraq.

    On electoral reform, they can offer us a commission, or even a referendum, but they will not support us in it – they don’t need to oppose us in parliament, they’re media friends will do the job for them. It’s potentially a complicated sell anyway, and a concerted campaign by the right-wing press could de-rail it, especially if the tories pulled out support at the last minute.

    The only safe way to deal with this is arms length – don’t oppose a minority govt, back them on some economic policies. But if we get into bed with them, we are selling our liberal values cheaply, and risk alienating our supporters and voters. 4-5 years of hanging on tory coat tails could reduce us to a laughing stock, ruin any prospect for real change, wreck our electoral chances next time round.

  • Neil Allison 8th May '10 - 1:36pm

    No to coalition with the Tories.
    I didn’t vote for a socially responsible party to watch them compromise core ideals in search of power.

  • the libs should not ally with the conservatives, but with labour, to tone down some of the more draconian labour policies, and to fight conservativism!

  • I implore you not to side with the Conservative Party!
    Working with Labour will hopefully implement Proportional Representation.
    Working with the Tories will just go against everything that’s liberal.

  • I support libdem policies and agree with some Labour policies (have voted for both previously). However if Gordon Brown the STILL UNELECTED PM remains in power though a Labour / Libdem coalition. I would never vote Libdem again. The Electorate has spoken listen!

  • I am a previously lifelong Labour voter who voted Lib Dem on Thursday . I think a general disgust at the snouts-in-the-publicly-funded-trough behaviour by MPs of all political persuasion was the final straw that led me to the position of abandoning Labour , that and the strong integrity which Nick Clegg appeared to show on the issue at the time. I was also , like many others , more impressed with Clegg’s performances than the others during the leaders’ debates , which in turn led to me checking out the Lib Dem manifesto – which I find , in the main, both palatable and practical .

    Now I find myself watching with amazement , and frankly something closer to disgust , at the unseemly haste with which Clegg has already seemingly almost ruled out the possiblity of talks with the Labour party as he rushes into talks about forming a coalition government with the Tories – the same Tory party who are content to cosy up to the many racists , homophobes , and neo-fascists in some of the various Hitler-celebrating , holocaust-denying knuckledragging extreme right-wing parties who shelter under the same European Conservatives and Reformists umbrella .

    Jeez – a little hint of the limelight and all integrity and rationality seems to have gone right out of the window for this leader . If the Lib Dem party has nothing solid at it’s ideological core that can counterbalance such a knee-jerk headlong rush by one man into fame-shagging territory , it doesn’t really deserve to flourish as a party.

    I appreciate that we are living through the age of celebrity , but I just feel so terribly disappointed , and rather embarrassed to be honest to have fallen for such cheap and convenient political chicanery .

  • Harry Flowers 8th May '10 - 2:12pm

    SELL OUT. It looks we are about to be cheated. Congratulations Mr Clegg. If a severely comprised deal lets Tories in by the back door….I would bitterly regret ever voting Lib Dem in the first place.

    The clock is ticking..

  • Harry Flowers 8th May '10 - 2:18pm

    That should read “compromised” of course.

  • Now we need to have the firmness of purpose that political reform is what is necessary for our country to modernise; and to move on from decades of poor government that patronises and dissembles, and that is too disconnected to take on the economic, social and environmental challenges we face.

    Taking a judgement call: the Tories will not let political reform pass, Labour’s instincts are far more open to it. Even if the press screams blue murder, a Lib-Lab government that delivers reform and manages the economic situation is better for the country than to have the Conservatives in the driving seat. We have to be focussed and play the long game, even if it risks unpopularity in the short term. Stick to our guns and be brave. There is risk involved, but for reform we need to go with Labour (plus Alliance, SDLP, nats & Green!).

  • Lorna Langdon 8th May '10 - 2:36pm

    Going witht he Cons : – It’s an outrageous proposition, isn’t it? (If you hold left of centre values and want a progressive, sustainable govt) I joined the Lib Dems to advance a left of centre set of values which means I am NOT for the advancement of the Cons. Nick Clegg has the opportunity to make history and make sure our ‘direction of travel’ is on course with the party’s values though a Lib-Lab coalition OR, he can make the biggest mistake of his life and cement a right wing lead future for us all which may well be political suicide. Isn’t it a no-brainer? If he goes ahead with the Cons I will want my membership money back and I will never vote Lib Dem ever again!

  • I am a Lib Dem Cllr in a predominately Tory area and have managed to get elected 4 times and have changed local people’s views of the Lib Dems over the years. I stood outside our polling station from 8am ’til 9.30pm (it was pretty dead by then and so was I!) – I cannot tell you how gratifying it was that (honestly) the vast majority of voters were utterly positive – there were well over 30 hardened Labour and Tory voters telling me that they were voting Lib Dem for the first time and a large number of first time voters (both young and older) who had ventured into the polling station for the first time SPECIFICALLY to vote Lib Dem . How do I walk down my village street and greet my residents if MY PARTY (that I have defended to the hilt over the years) aligns with one that they are so utterly opposed to that they changed their vote ? I hope to heaven the ‘powers that be’ in Cowley Street consider carefully before risking the annihilation of our reputation as a credible ‘stand alone’ party in our own right, and what’s more the party of the future in a country presently a two party state.

  • Bernard Naylor 8th May '10 - 2:40pm

    Regrettably, I think a LibDem/Lab alliance or partnership will not work because they don’t have enough seats between them, and even the splinter parties coming on board will barely make the situation workable. I don’t think the Conservatives will change their attitude to electoral reform and the most the the LibDems ought to do is to ensure that essential legislation to keep the country going is passed – but nothing confrontational. Abstention on some issues would suffice. But a condition would have to be that there must be referendum on a change to the electoral system, with the Conservatives allowed to campaign against it if they wished. And then the terms of the referendum proposition assume major importance. Allowing the Conservatives to draft it would be disastrous. The LibDems must aim, if they can, to ensure the next election, whenever it occurs takes place under a new system. Otherwise the next throw of the electoral dice might produce a working majority for one of the two largest parties – and an opportunity to kick electoral reform into the long grass again.

  • I am a supporter of Lib Dems, but this time I Voted for Labour, Please don’t lynch me! The ONLY reason I did this because, I didn’t want to see Cons in! Now as many of you said & Nick Clegg said himself, If we have a fairer System. I would WITHOUT a doubt Voted for Lib Dems. As the system stands now! The only way I saw fit to stop Tories getting in, was to cast my Vote to Labour! Cameron lies to all of us, & he will promise anything to step one foot in the door. He will trick Nick Clegg, tell him what he wants too hear. Once inside, he will send what promise packing.

    I really hope Nick Clegg will NOT do a deal with Tories. If they do, most of you has said the same as I’m about to say. I will not be voting for Libs Dems in the future Elections nor will my Family & Friends. People will not forgive him, I won’t forgive nor will my family & friends! I just pray Nick Clegg thinks clearly & NOT be fooled by Cameron’s promises!

    Again please don’t lynch me, I do like Labour too, as they do has similar policies to Lib Dems. I would also like to point out. Brown Never asked for the recession nor did he asked for Economy, this happened & no matter who was in power, they would be dealing with what Brown has been dealing with. He has been trying his best us out of this. If another party was in power, our country could be worse precision then it is now!

  • As a first time voter and a lib dem supporter, if I now saw a lib dem Tory coalition of any kind I would be seriously disheartened. I voted for lib dems because i hold many similar values to the party, I could stomach a Lib Lab coalition because they have similar views. If Nick Clegg joins with the Tories I believe his reputation with many Lib dem supporters will be in ruins.

  • Reuben Condie 8th May '10 - 2:49pm

    By siding with the Labour Party, the Liberal Democrats would be supporting the feelings of the majority of the country. Lib.-Dem. and Labour manifestos are the most similar and only the Labour Party have guaranteed P.R. (proportional representation).
    P.R. is essential for the Lib.-Dems. as, at the next election, under the current system, the Lib.-Dem. vote will be referred to as a “wasted vote” and voters will be frightened into a two way fight, causing major losses to the Lib.-Dems.
    It is interesting to note that the very people who refer to the idea of the “wasted vote” are the very people who create the situation by opposing P.R. They are afraid of the real, national popularity of the Liberal Democrats.
    By the way, I find the term “wasted vote” as not only offensive, but divisive, wicked and insult. No vote is a wasted vote and the people who use the term are desperately putting down the right, of those they disagree with, to vote.
    You should vote for the person you support, not the person who might be able to keep the person you disagree with out.
    My vote counts – YOUR vote counts.

  • georgina manley 8th May '10 - 2:50pm

    Ask lib dem voters which way they would have voted if they knew an alliance with the tories was any possiblility at all-no matter what the context (a hung parliament we could have guessed)- they will likely tell you they would have voted labour. wouldn’t it be painful, if we were able to see that outcome, as well as be living through this one (a parallel universe type saturday 8th 2010 in Britain); with an imperfect labour, imperfect gordon brown, being, importantly, not tory? Message is, Go to bed with Nick Clegg and who knows what you’ll wake up with in the morning.
    media suggesting friendly chats with Cameron, unfriendly ones with Brown. The national interest, whether it is about the economy, education or welfare, is changeable. This is not about getting the kids together or trading immediate policy areas, it is about values, ideological consistancy and trust and involves those outside the ‘closed doors’ too.

  • Re: Labour and electoral reform

    Further to my ‘Reality Check’ post earlier: Please think *why* Brown would ever back PR. Which swing voters are more likely to switch to the LibDems under PR — Tory or Labour? Exactly! And turkeys don’t vote for Christmas…

    So Brown will make nice noises about electoral reform — but he means AV, which will benefit Labour, not PR, which will clobber it.

    I’ve fought tooth & nail against the Tories in general and local elections for 30 years, so I hate to say this — but they are the only show in town right now for Nick and the rest of our leadership.

  • Reuben Condie 8th May '10 - 2:53pm

    OK. Here’s the thing. When we vote, if we have any morality, we don’t vote for the party, we vote for our beliefs.
    I believe in what lies in the Liberal Democrat Manifesto.
    I believe in the ideals of the Liberal Democrat Movement.
    I believe in the policies of the Liberal Democrat Party.
    We vote for what we believe in (if we are true to our country and ourselves).

    Nick Clegg, quite rightly, stated that he did not want to be a “king maker”.
    Nick Clegg, quite rightly, stated that he would support the will of the nation.

    There lies the problem. Because of the way the votes have turned out, he now has to decide if he supports the party with the largest number of votes, or the parties that, jointly, reflect the will of the nation. The Liberal Democrat ideals and manifesto are closest to the Labour ideals and manifesto (by no means the same, but much more different that of the Conservative’s).

    If we make a deal with the Conservatives, we will be supporting the most popular party.
    If we make a deal with the Labour Party, we will be supporting the most popular beliefs and concerns of the nation.
    If we make a deal with the Conservatives, the media will scorn us as weak and giving in to party policy.
    If we make a deal with the Labour Party, the media will scorn us as not supporting the majority vote (a lie if you agree that beliefs and ideals come before party-politics).

    So what do we do?

    Go with the Conservatives – and compromise our beliefs and ideals and get scorned by the press?
    Go with the Labour Party – and try to stay true to our beliefs and ideals and get scorned by the press?

    For me, it’s a no-brainer. We have to do a deal with Labour, stick to our beliefs and ideals and ensure that proportional representation is instated before the next general election.
    This is the one thing the Tory’s don’t want because P.R. allows a truer reflection of the nations beliefs, ideals and aspirations and will decimate their numbers of M.P.s in the House of Commons.

    But, whatever happens, I will back Nick Clegg, and support the party that agrees with what I believe in.

  • Paul Billanie 8th May '10 - 3:04pm

    Gordon Brown must go is one condition that should be set before considering a Labour deal. The most important thing after that is voting reform to PR and a totally elected second house and guarantee of a fresh election within a year

  • I’m a Lib Dem voter and I think the Lib Dems should try to reach a compromise with the Conservatives.

    I’ve been extremely disappointed with 13 years of Labour rule and would be very unhappy to see the Lib Dems join Labour and prop up a party that the people have shown they no longer want.

    I realise there are big differences between Lib Dem and Conservative ideals, but there are also big differences with Labour, and as the public have shown that don’t wholeheartedly support any of the parties by not giving any of them a majority, compromise is clearly the only way forward. The Tories won the most votes so they should get first go. Anything else would not be democratic.

  • sean duffield 8th May '10 - 3:40pm

    I voted for you in the election, and the main reason, other than i agree with your parties policies on proportionate representation, immigration & tax, was to keep the tories out. I will not vote for you again if you do deals wit the tories. A Liberal-Labour pact would be a lot more progressive for this country.

    I have read what the Conservatives are planning and i can see through the thinly veiled “It’s about Britain” rubbish, and see that they will hot people on benefits, make cuts to the NHS, give tax cuts to the rich (ie: inheritance tax)scrap the FSA and dissolve Ofcom, pander to the Murdoch empire, subtly demonise immigrants, lift the hunting ban and we will be plunged into misery.

    I implore Nick Clegg to not compromise his parties beliefs with the tories and do a deal with labour instead so that we can have a ‘progressive’ liberal/ left party not a right wing party which favours the rich

  • If you pair up with Conservatives, I will feel like I wasted my vote on Lib Dem. Bad move!

  • I voted for Liberal Democrats, because I think the Conservatives are more for the rich than the lower and middle class. I would be disappointed if The liberal democrats join forces with the Conservatives, because I dislike Conservatives more than Labour.

    I did not see the election debates, so it is ok for people to say ‘Nick Clegg did say he would go with the party with the most votes, so Liberal Democrat voters should have known this’ I only voted for Liberal Democrats because I had read the parties policies on a website, which I was happy with. I did not see any of the Election Debates. However if I knew Nick Clegg would go with the party with the most votes, I would have voted for Labour instead. Luckily my area is Labour majority. But like others have said, if Nick Clegg does go in with Conservatives, I will make sure I vote for Labour next time.

    I do think this election would not have been hung if these people who were turned away from polling stations managed to vote when the times stated. If those people managed to vote on time, instead of trying to vote at 10pm and after, than this election would probably not have been hung. I think there should be another election in 6 months or in a year, to make a majority win.

  • Jo Gate-Eastley 8th May '10 - 3:46pm

    I will feel totally betrayed if Lib Dem form a coalition with the Conservatives….I will want my vote back, as that is totally and utterly NOT what I put my cross in the box for! I had always voted Labour and Green, as I have a social conscience, believe in equality, the environment, peaceful solutions, prevention of poverty, crime, ill health and not ‘tougher solutions’…I grew up in Thatcher’s Britain, and all too clearly remember hating everything she stood for, including pointless wars, nuclear weapons, fuelling hate for homosexuality with her disgusting Section 28 bill, selling off public housing, hospitals, transport….Conservatives cause irreversable damage and fuel hate not hope..the countryside only vote for them as they want the foxhunting bill repealed…I could go on….but all I want to say is NOT IN MY NAME….I, too, will never vote Lid Dem again if they do this, and I speak for many of my friends and colleagues who feel the same.

  • Fee you didn’t vote for the only party that backs electoral reform. Don’t moan now, you have no right to.

  • Most of the comments about electoral reform ignore first, that neither the Tories NOR LABOUR can guarantee to deliver all their MPs’ votes in support of legislation and second, that everyone expects a referendum to achieve such a fundamental constitutional change. Take the opportunity now of getting some experience in government with the Tories (largest party , and not the discredited Brown) and push for a free vote in Parliament on a new voting system to be put to a referendum. That would be the sensible and democratic path for the Lib Dems.

  • This is our only chance to get a FAIR VOTING SYSTEM. Nick Clegg PLEASE don’t let us down!

  • Lorna Langdon 8th May '10 - 5:26pm

    If the outcome IS some sort of partnership with the Cons, then I will feel betrayed by Nick Clegg and we will all know that he is not as he seems. I am now extremely suspicious of him, after-all, he is reported to get on well with DC ( according to an interview with DC) and is also an old friend of DC’s chief of staff Ed Llewellyn. Hmmmm..very suspicious isn’t it? We shall see very soon anyway, and I for one will certainly ditch my membership forthwith if this does happen to be the case..Maybe we’re all having the wool pulled over our eyes with a pack of lies about the ‘national interest, and maybe it';s all about personal relationships instead..’ I do hope I’m wrong…

  • NICK CLEGG said before the election : if there was a hung parliament that he would work with the party that had the most votes and seats.
    Do you want him to lie, or cease to be a man of his word ????

  • “I think it’s rather strange to have referendums on things you don’t support.” David Cameron on PR, Tory Press Conference, Monday 26th April 2010
    63.9 per cent of voters did not vote for a Tory government.
    ‘Nuff said

  • Your in ignorance of Nick Clegg and being unfair to him : Nick Clegg had said before the election that if he would work with the party that got the most seats and votes.
    This is very important.
    He needs to stick to his word. He is only doing what he had already said he’d do !!!!!!!

  • I feel the Lib Dems should not collate with the Tories as this would not be in the best interests of the Lib Dem voters, we voted for Lib Dems not Tory. I encouraged my whole college class are Dundee College to vote for the party we do need change to the voting system though as this has been apparent over the election period. I think the best thing to do would be to have another election because of the people that were unable to cast their votes. I think Lib Dems should have won the election. As their policies are the best.

  • john Harvey 8th May '10 - 6:08pm

    Nick Clegg had said that the Party with the most seats and votes would have the mandate (to form government, to govern).

  • nick cleggg is selling lib dem down the river and hell mend this country is voters mean nothing to him at the moment and i can see that will be another election in 18months to get them out as by the end of the year this country will be like greece i voted lib dem but i would rather have labour than tories run this country again they will ruin us to feed the pockets of the rich i am ashamed of lib dem

  • john Harvey 8th May '10 - 6:14pm

    A lot of the comments on this page are therefore unfair on Nick Clegg. I’m confident Nick Clegg is and will continue to seek electoral reform, he is a good leader, he has done very well, and he will continue to.

  • john Harvey 8th May '10 - 6:27pm

    Even a labour canvasser on Radio 5 live just now has said that he was out canvassing and hoardes of people said ‘we’ll vote for you, but, it’s not a vote for Gordon Brown’. As much as I respect Labour and each of the 3 main Parties, a Labour minority government wouldn’t last 5 minutes. Nick Clegg is wiser and more informed than many of the comments on this page. I have a lot of confidence in him, and i’ve only in the last few weeks become at all familiar with him. It’s these comments on here that concern me, that you fail to recognise and appreciate that Nick Clegg had already said before the election day that whoever had the most seats and votes would have the mandate to form a government. The way is up for The Lib Dems, yes the way is up for them if Nick Clegg makes some kind of arrangement regards working with the Party with the most votes and seats. I’m not gonna throw the towel in and say i’m not gonna vote for Nick Clegg or the Liberal Democrats again if Nick Clegg makes an arrangement with David Cameron.
    Liberal Democrats have made maginificent progress and the public are starting to catch on to electoral refoprm and PR. He has got you (us now us) this far. He’s done fantastic for PR and the Lib Dems.
    He is the man right now.
    Now pasrticipate and do as much as he is doing and has done and get out stop being unfair and unapreciative of him and influence other people to see how you believe in Proportional Representation and why !!!!!!!!!!

  • john Harvey 8th May '10 - 6:30pm

    Emma Shirlock : Are you suggesting he ceases to be a man of his word ?

  • john Harvey 8th May '10 - 6:39pm

    Be positive, take heart all you that commendably cast a vote in the election.
    Complaining and losing faith in Nick Clegg is unfair.
    Look forward.
    Keep up your voice for Proportional Representation.
    Radio listeners like me are starting to hear that Proportional Representation is something inspiring that the Liberal Democrats are flying the flag for.
    The demonstration in London today outside Lib Dem HQ contained people of other parties who just came off the street and joined in.
    Nick Clegg is wise, he’ll keep on working for this issue.
    Be bold, be passionate about it, but recognise that Nick Clegg is the one that can inspire other people about PR.
    He’s inspired me, I wasn’t active before deciding in the booth to vote for him yesteday.
    Since then i’ve vowed to be engaged in things for the next whole of the next term and have already started by writing a letter to a Lord for the first time.

  • If Nick Clegg goes into coalition with the tories I will resign my membership.

  • john Harvey 8th May '10 - 6:50pm

    Nick Clegg has done nothing wrong.
    The only thing that he could do according to what has been wrote on this page is work with neither of the two other main parties and wait till the next election.
    THIS IS THE TIME FOR THOSE IN FAVOUR OF PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION TO DEMONSTRATE WHILE PEOPLES IMAGINATION AND A CHANCE OF SUPPORT FOR PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION AMONG THE GENERAL PUBLIC IS POSSIBLE.

  • Neil Ryding 8th May '10 - 6:53pm

    I am disgusted that Nick Clegg is even thinking of doing a deal with Cameron. I have voted Liberal Democrats for over a decade and have even helped with campaigning in the past. I did this because its meant to be a party for the many, not the few and represent the values of social justice, animal rights and support for the weakest in society. To even contemplate strengthening a Cameron administration makes me physically sick. This is a party that has always been about the few top earners at the top. They have never had any compassion and this is summed up by the stance on hunting they have.
    If Clegg puts his own personal political ambition ahead of the parties voters, then it will spell the end of the party.
    If my vote is used to help support a Conservative Government I will never vote for the Liberal Democrats again.

  • john Harvey 8th May '10 - 6:54pm

    I THINK THERE SHOULD BE ANOTHER ELECTION IN A YEAR.
    and in the meantime
    THOSE PASSIONATE AND THOSE IN FAVOUR OF PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION CAMPAIGN AND RALLY DURING THE WHOLE YEAR NAND GET FORMERLY UNDECIDED PEOPLE LIKE ME ON BOARD AND INSPIRED ABOUT THIS ISSUE.
    then by the time of the next election
    THE PEOPLE THAT WANT CHANGE (WHICH INCLUDES ABOUT 50% OF THE POPULATION WHO DON’T VOTE)
    CAN RALLY ROUND AND USE PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION AS THEIR HOPE OF CHANGE.

  • john Harvey 8th May '10 - 6:57pm

    Chelle, goes to show how it is questionable to vote for a different party for tactical reasons rather than the party one believes in or prefers.
    I’ve always thought it questionable whether tactical voting is honest.

  • Therese, who was writing at 2.40am this morning has, in my opinion made the best contribution so far to the debate.
    We must stick to our principles, consider the wider, international impact of our decisions, and do the right thing. PR/STV must be our sticking point and we should under no circumstances prop up a Murdoch/Cameron regime

  • john Harvey 8th May '10 - 7:02pm

    Toria :
    if you believe in Liberal Democrat policy or prefer the Liberal Democrats over other party’s then voting for Liberal Democrat as you did is not a wated vote.
    Unless you voted like these tactical voters do. Who vote with who they dont want as the reason rather than who they do want.

  • john Harvey 8th May '10 - 7:05pm

    Lorna : you’d rather Nick Clegg broke his word, and didn’t work with the party who wins the most votes and seats as he said he’d do even before the election, before the day people went and voted ?!

  • @ColinW. Hi Colin, I know you think I’ve no right to moan. Maybe I haven’t! I thought long & hard about this. All what Nick Clegg said, I agree with 1000%!! & YES we do NEED a Reform & fast too! The reason why I voted the way I did, was honestly To Keep the Tories Out! & the only way I saw best, was to Vote Labour! Let me try & explain. If I Voted Lib Dems (Like normal) I was afraid this, was opening a Door for Tories to enter. I didn’t want that! I Don’t want David Cameron in power, we all know what will happen! I Voted the way I did, PURELY & HONESTLY to Keep Tories OUT! I’m sorry if you & others feel I’ve betrayed Lib Dems. But please understand the way I’m thinking & why I did it! I also know in my heart, Nick Clegg would have won it hands down, If we had a Better System!!!!!!

  • Here’s my letter to Ros Scott:

    Dear Ros

    I’ve seen the website where we can put forward our views and I’d like to share mine.

    I’ve been a member of the SDP, then SDP / Liberal Alliance and now the Liberal Democrats for over 30 years (I’m now 39 and my parents were SDP supporters in Scotland).

    I grew up with a Conservative MP (Sir Nicholas Fairburn, Perth and Kinross) and many Labour councils across Scotland – not ONCE have I ever felt the need to change parties from the (now) LibDems.

    However, if we get in to bed with the Conservative Party, then I feel that I will have no choice than to speak out and think about continuing to be a member of the Liberal Democrats and supporting the LibDems in the future – even though I feel that they are the only party whose views I fully agree with.

    I also feel that the Liberal Democrats should not get in to bed with Labour.

    The UK wanted a hung parliament – which we have – and for this to work, we need to ensure that negotiations take place to ensure we have what’s right for the UK, not for individual parties.

    Let the Conservatives run the country as a minority Government (as in Scotland) if they so wish, but please do not join with them.

    regards

    Robert J Brown

  • I am a floating voter who votes either Labour, Liberal Democrat or Green, depending on the manifesto pledges and the type of election (i.e. General, Local or European). This time round I voted Lib Dem in the General Election as I thought they had the most equitable policies. I would be highly unlikely to vote Liberal Democrats again if Nick Clegg does a deal with David Cameron.

    The duty of a party is first and foremost to try and deliver as many of the policies in its manifesto as can be achieved. As Polly Toynbee has recently pointed out on BBC News 24, 2/3 of Lib Dem voters are more inclined to the left, and only 1/3 to the right. I would urge the Lib Dem leadership not to hurry, to talk thoroughly to both sides, and then let its membership decide which party has conceded most grounds on issues like Trident, electoral reform, and equitable taxation. If a stable coalition cannot be formed then it’s not the end of the world to have another election.

  • I didn’t vote conservative and I would not want my Lib dem vote going towards their policies. My vote was aimed at avoiding having Cameron in power. If you did form a government with them I do not think I could vote for you again with good conscience.

  • I feel so betrayed! I believed in Nick Clegg!

    Now is the time to impose a new system. People voted for who they wanted in power and if our vote mean so little then why even give us them. FPTP is obviously antiquated and obviously of no use to us.

  • If we do go with the conservatives, I will never vote Lib Dem again!

  • I decided at the last minute not to vote Lib Dem after being a supporter because I had a horrible feeling that Nick Clegg would jump into bed with the Tories. I really, really hope that someone who has his ear reads this thread – listens to grass roots members and tells him not to do it. It will destroy your party!

    And has anyone noticed how today the Lib Dems who are in these meetings have changed their wording from PR to electoral reform and now have not even mentioned it just talked about the economy and the deficit?

    Don’t do a deal with EITHER of them. Play a blinder and agree to passing a Tory budget with all the loony elements ruled out and then sit on the backbenches with Labour and work together on PR. And for saying you wont oppose the Tories trying to rule, make sure that you get them to commit to a certain term so they cant call a snap election at a time that suits them which Cameron is already talking about doing.

    If you do this your party has acted in the national interest and has allowed an emergency budget to be passed and the Conservatives to try and form a government. Look at Greece and the lessons of the Socialists – elected on a wave of popularity now detested by their very supporters – this is going to be a disastrous time to try and govern and to do so with a party that inspires the fear and loathing that the Tories do would be terribly damaging. Look at Ireland and what happened to the Irish Greens.

    I am in the next constituency to Nick Cleggs very near the boundary and a lot of my friends live in Hallam and they have all said they will never vote Lib Dem again if he abandons PR for a couple of cabinet seats in a Tory government. I really hope he does the right thing.

  • As a an old Liberal as i was working for Malendine many years ago 1950 and also helped select Penny jessel as a candidate, I do feel Nick should not join the Tories but state he will support any policies which are in our Policy Prime Ministers Questions will never be the same again with cameron and brown almost ignoring Nick.It is a difficult situation for Nick but dont trust either stick to our principles and state to the country that you will support and good decisions for all of us Good luck

  • To all those who keep saying that between the LD and tories they won 59% of the vote..

    Please take into account the number of people, including myself 1st time LD voter, who voted to stop the tories getting in. In my area Labour cant win so its between LD and tories so we voted LD but sadly did not win.

    I for one will have doubts to ever voting LD again if Nick Clegg sides with the tories.

  • LaSimplicite 9th May '10 - 10:30pm

    It is absoultely despicable that Nick Clegg should go against his conscience and values along with his party’s interest simply for his own thirst for power. Before the election, he talked with great determination about PR, but over the last few days, it has descended from “electoral reform”, then “political reform” to not even bother mentioning it today. If he didn’t feel it was justifiable to form a coalition with the Labour party, then I suggest that he forms no coaltion at all, just let the tories run a minority goverment which would not last long. But if he gets in bed with the tories, he is shooting himself in the foot, and that would be the end of the LibDems. We will certainly never vote for them again, that’s for sure!! WE ARE NOT TORIES!!!!

  • Please Nick don’t get involved with the Tories, I voted Lib Dems for change. I liked all your polices and Think of you as a good part leader, but please don’t form a coalition government with the Tories. We had a bad time with them in the past up here in Scotland. We only have one Tory MP in our parliament which says a lot really. Lib Dems came third here and that was great news even though you never came first but to be third here is really good, it shows the Scots also want change. I don’t think a Tory, LIb Dem government would work. Although i do think we need a fairer voting system. Please Nick keep campaigning for change and maybe by the next election you will have more seats. Whatever you do please don’t ruin your chances to make good change Lib Dems are the best party out of them all.

  • LaSimplicite 9th May '10 - 11:08pm

    LibCon Coalition = Real “Con” Coalition = Real Conservatives Coalition and a Real Con !!!

  • Too many living in cloud cookoo land. We finished 3rd not 1st and the tories did finish 1st. So we cannot expect to get all that we want. That is how grown up politics works. To all those who say I only voted lib dem to keep out the tories I say that the party has to concentrate on those who vote for it first, not as a surrogate for labour. If we are merely a substitue for a real labour vote then we are not a real party at all. We must be able to deal with all our oppenents, not just one.

  • Perhaps I should make my comments clearer..

    In this two party area, LD or Tory, for me the choice was easy as I agree with the LD’s policies 100% more that the tories so I voted for the LD candidate. I have always voted LD in the local elections but due to where I lived before I did not vote in the national elections due to the fact we would have needed a major swing to oust the Tories!!.
    We need stability in the country and a LIb/Lab pact is the best way for that to happen. There is a real danger that the tories will drag this country further down. I agree that the other way, Nick Clegg not backing anyone and tories forming a minority goverment, will be the way to show people how bad the tories are.. I think the expression would be…. “Give them enough rope…etc”

  • John Harvey – YOu keep saying that nick Clegg said BEFORE the election that he would work with the party with the most votes first. Well exactly!! He had to know that was the Tories. And that was why you didn’t get my vote. I don’t trust him – he worked for Leon Briton allegedly he is good friends with lots of Tories. I feel like it is a stitch up.

    No one thought the lib dems could win but people did think they could do much better than they did – by saying he would work with the party with the most seats he already ruled out working with Labour no matter what the result of the election – unless that result was Labour coming first which was never going to happen. He should never have said that.

    Apparently the phone is ringing like crazy at your headquarters. People are not happy. If Nick Clegg does this and enters a formal coalition I will never vote Liberal Democrat again as long as I live and I am not alone.

  • I am sure that most LD supporters are uncomfortable with the choices we now are left with. I am too. I find no pleasure in seeing that a coalition with Cameron is the only real arithmetic that works. It’s all very well saying that Lib/lab is better but it doesn’t work on numbers and would have to rely on others – do we really want to have to pay a price to the DUP and SNP so that we annoy english voters.

    My argument is that the party should not duck a hard choice, not that I like it. If we duck a choice for government now, the public may well believe that we will never take the risk of being responsible for hard decisions in the future and if we get the pr we all want this situation will recur often. Are we going to remain on the sidelines forever?

    I am a passionate believer in PR and always have been. Unfortuately I think the easiest way to lose a referendum is to cobble an uneasy arrangement with Lavbour and let the people punish us for that in a referendum. Remember, just because a referendum is supposed to be about voting reform it does not follow that the electors vote for that reason.

    Whatever we do we are likely to lose some support rom either the “Vote Clegg get Cameron” or “Vote Clegg get Brown” arguments.

    Our negotiators are doing their job. I suggest we trust them to get what they can and see what it is.

  • I am interested in whether people think the negotiators should suggest a referendum on Westminster MC STV with a 60% rate required to mandate change.

  • I hope Nick Clegg will remember what happened to Ramsay MacDonald!

  • Many on the forum are saying (correctly) that there is an anti-tory majority at 52%. What they don’t say is that equally ther is an anti – labour majority of 59%. This anti politics should be kicked into touch. People expect the parties to look for solutions not winge about who they can’t deal with. It would be nice if the tories hadn’t won most seats and most votes but they did and we have to accept that. We could also remember (and remind Cameron) that the present system is also biassed against the tories so that he has to have a 7% lead before he gets more seats than labour.

  • After reading all these Nick please dont join with the tories or labour Just agree to support any good policies with the Tories and do explain to the country why you are doing this This governmeny cant last but we need all the help to get the Finaces back in shape also the Euroean parliament with Germeny and France know camerons views and we shall find it difficult working with them if we join with the tories Dont do it Nick the party will suffer.

  • Fair enough to invite the Cons to SEEK ‘coalition’ – be seen to do the decent thing – but Cameron cannot be trusted to deliver whatever promises he makes, always assuming he manages to get any compromise proposal past his slightly right of Genghis Kan entourage – which he won’t. A commission for PR is totally inadequate and will be ditched following an early re-election, never to rise again till the Cons are ousted.

    Better to admit Cons failed to offer enough, open negotiations with Lab, on basis that Brown must go, bring some ‘Others’ on board to ensure workable majority.

    No PR – no deal!

  • Keith Hopkins 10th May '10 - 4:11pm

    I am an L-D party member, if normally a fairly quiet one in recent years.

    It seems to me, as someone who as been on the ‘receiving end’ of Tory policy in the 1980’s and 90’s, that if our party wants to do a deal with the Devil, it’s a good idea to remove his horns and pitchfork first. Electoral reform has to be conditions number 1, 2 & 3. The fear is that they will stall until such time they believe they can do without us, then call an election under the old FPP system, and the moment will be lost.

    Get the reform first, and they’ll think twice about any snap election they think they might win while the system is in their favour.

    Labour crave power, the Tories believe it’s theirs by divine right. Find out which one wants it more…

    Kif
    Kent

  • Louis Wynne 10th May '10 - 4:34pm

    I am not a Liberal Democrat, and voting in the Morley and Outwood constituency I voted Labour and Ed Balls to keep the Tories out. How many people up and down this country did similar? Liberals voting Labour and vice versa, I think having read the opinions expressed here and elsewhere it is clear a large body of the vote on the 6th May was a vote against the Conservatives.

    It’s very hard to say how the Liberal Democrat base splits, but if the natural instinct of the majority is to oppose a regressive, reactionary right wing agenda, why shy away from it because the Tories got my votes? If you held an election today on one question, “do you want a Tory government” what do you think the result would be? It’s the old right wing divide and rule agenda and if the Liberal Democrats swallow it and don’t have the guts to stand by their principles they will lose the respect of a great many people.

    Yes, be blunt, “Labour, Gordon’s got to go”. I think they know this all too well themselves, I’m sure he knows it. The opportunity is there to be a moral leader and to represent the majority of the nation who do want progressive politics which is representative and egalitarian. It seems we are all so immersed in a 24 hour media world that we can’t see the wood for the trees. If a right wing fleet street scream hysterically “we won, we won, it’s not fair!!!” and a rabid pack of 24 hour TV broadcasters run like so many headless chickens following the same agenda, carrying the same headline, that still doesn’t make it true!

    Listen to the people, listen to your instinct. The majority of this nation do not want the Tories, somebody needs to have the strength of character to stand up and say it and lead the nation through our troubles with the good of the many not the interests of the few as their mission.

    If the Liberal Democrats think they can control the Goldsmith and Murdoch backed Tories monster they are very deluded.

  • peter Gwynne 10th May '10 - 4:43pm

    I haven’t read all these mesages but if I flick through them randomly the same message comes up, and I agree with it. I didn’t give up my time to give out leaflets for the Lib Dems, only to end up stricking a deal with the tories. I should have listened to Peter Mandelson who warned us that if we flirt with Clegg we end up married to Cameron. In the long run a decision to work with the tories will be disasterous for future Lib Dem vote.

  • I have voted Lib Dem at the last two General Elections. I can honestly say that if the Lib Dems do a deal with the Tories then I will never vote for them again. The thought that I have in some way contributed to David Cameron becoming PM sickens me. Of course there is a progressive, anti-Tory majority. And the majority would be far greater if we had a fair voting system. I cannot understand why a Lib-Lab pact is not being given more consideration exspecially when this could deliver a fair political system. I would imagine that a deal with the Tories would decimate Lib Dem support at any future General Election, as the choice is then purely between a renewed Labour Party (without Brown) and the Tories.

  • I didn’t vote Libdem to allow a Coservative Party try to take power. I am a life long Libdem and I firmly believe that we have more in common with the Labour Party. I work in Education and know that the policies of the Conservatives were a disaster for Education the last time they were in power.

  • Laura Banks 10th May '10 - 6:49pm

    I am not a Lib Dem member but I have wavered between Labour and Lib Dem in my voting in the past depending on the area in which I have lived (i.e. so called tactical voting). I for one, however, will never vote Lib Dem again if they align themselves with the Tories. It is a betrayal of most Lib Dem voters who have supported them on the basis of policy – which are completely at odds with the Conservatives.

  • Michael Headon 10th May '10 - 9:16pm

    Nick Clegg has integrity not shown by Gordon Brown. He is in a very difficult position and must have an eye to a long term strategy for power and for this nation. I trust him completely whichever way he goes. He will have enough difficulties with the right wing press without supporters giving him ultimatums. The economy is top of the agenda without doubt but political reform and a referendum on PR are essential. I don’t go with the Conservative offer of a referendum on AV. I’m so proud of Nick and all his team

  • There is a majority of anti tory voters, there is a bigger majority of anti labour voters and, guess what…there is an even bigger majority of anti lib-dem voters! By the logic of some of the more emotional contributors then nobody can do a deal with anybody. Oops. Of course none of us voted Lib Dem to prop up the Tories, any more than we voted Lib Dem to prop up Labour. We voted Lib Dem (I hope) to make real progress – a real democracy, a successful green economy, fair taxation and social justice. In a balanced parliament, we deal with whoever will take us further in our objectives on these and other matters. We don’t pick a partner on the basis of some visceral hatred.

  • I have never voted tory, but if you cannot talk to them, there is only a one way system – labour with you as a back up

  • simple words…anyone but the conservatives.

    would never bother voting again if the vote i chose to cast to make change, instead went to the smug Mr Cameron…i could use some choice words to describe that arrogant clunt

  • This is all a travesty in my opinion, I voted lib dem but not for the reason most of you have, this uncertainty in westminster at the moment will be the norm if we go to a PR system of voting, I did believe in it last week but with all the cloak and dagger, behind the scenes deals going on at the moment only makes me sceptical of such a voting system
    Labour have run this country into the ground for the last 13 years and have had an unelected gimp in number 10 for the past 5 years. If Nick props up another labour government which in turn will create another unelected PM then my vote is GONE.
    The only way for us to come out of this with any integrity is to call off all negotiations and let the Tories form a minority government and wait and see how it all goes.
    One thing is for sure, nothing can be worse than the pathetic attempt at government that this new labour party has given us in recent years.

  • Jay,

    I remind You that in this country we do NOT run a presidentail election system so we do not vote the PM in we vote for our local MP and the leader of the party that wins becomes the PM.
    The “unelected gimp” (why the need to be so personel, have You ever met him etc?) Did not need to be “elected” We have never elected a PM, with Your statment David Cameron will be un-elected as well!!!!
    The “Murdoch press” have a lot to answer for!!

  • Neil Ryding 11th May '10 - 7:41pm

    A very sad day for me. I have supported, voted and even campaigned for this party all my adult life. To now see my vote used to not only establish but strengthen a party that I, and the majority of Liberal Democrat voters despise, I see as the ultimate betrayal.
    I find this unforgiveable and will never again vote for this party.

  • I voted for the liberal democrats and I deeply regret it.

  • The Lib Dems have done what almost everyone who voted for them desperately did not want them to do… support a Tory government. They have sold their principles for the crumbs of power dropped for them by the Tories and I am appalled to think that the weight of my vote is behind this travesty.

    For a party that apparently so much valued a fair system of democracy to sell out and support that power-mongering Old Etonian, a man who has no interest whatsoever in democracy, is, quite frankly, unbelievable.

    Disgraceful, and I shall never vote Lib Dem again.

  • My view of where we are:

    1) LDs have shown their price for supporting the Tories – & nothing to do with policy. I now realise that corruption does not have to be a financial matter.

    2) The LDs have fallen for the “promises” of a few crumbs; from the Tories of all people.

    3) They have been tied into 5 year between elections so, presumably, they can’t pull the plug when they find out just what they been conned into for a couple of junior bums on seats.

    4) Clegg’s price was a grand sounding non-job – (what is a Dep PM’s job & responsibilities?)

    5) The only person who acted honorourably in this whole sordid matter was Gordon Brown who must be glad to be away from it all, & not be there to see, at first hand, the destruction of all he has done for the people of this country

    6) Roll on Cameron’s first reshuffle.

    7) The Lab MPs can now put their feet up for five years, just drawing their salaries.

    8) I will not vote for anyone again – it’s taken me a long time to realise that all those who told me on thedoorstep “they’re all the same” were dead right.

    By the way – what were those 4 points that was going to be the basis of of all his negotiations.
    Am I downhearted? – you bet I am!

    I should, perhaps, make it clear that until today I have always worked for, & therefore voted LD

  • @Peter Keen

    1) Our price for supporting the Tories is written in the coalition agreement. If you have the time it would be illustrative to compare it to the Conservative manifesto and see what we’ve saved the country from (especially if another election called by the minority Tory government would have been forced further to the right as seems probable).

    2) The alternative was no coalition deal. You and Mehdi Hassan seem to think we’ve gained nothing. ConservativeHome and Melanie Phillips seem to think the Tories gave us everything. I’m inclined to think it’s somewhere in the middle and will skew in the direction of the Tories over time as (Conservative) ministers make decisions but the result is still preferable, in my mind, to a straight-Conservative government or for that matter a straight-Labour government would have been.

    3) Actually the Conservatives have been tied in for 5 years and we’ve been tied in by the 55% no-confidence threshold. These are both to ensure one coalition partner doesn’t welch on the other as the Tories cannot dissolve parliament at their convenience without us and we cannot do likewise without them. Unless the decision is mutual then we’re all going to have to ride the train to the end of the line.

    4) Nick will be functioning as leader of the Liberal Democrat in the coalition government which is going to be tricky given there will inevitable be policy clashes, he is also consulting with Cameron on government decisions though obviously as the leader of the far larger party Cameron has more say (don’t like that; blame the English voters. I sure as hell didn’t vote for them) and he has been given the brief concerning parliamentary and electoral reform. He will probably have sub-committee responsibilities as well, I don’t know if they’ve been published yet. This is standard throughout the world’s coalition governments. The idea that Nick ‘sold out for a ministerial car’ is not only preposterous it’s deeply insulting.

    5) Gordon Brown went to the Queen before Nick had a chance to get the agreement ratified by our parliamentary party. What would have happened it they had not ratify that? Asking yourself that question tells you all you need to know about Gordon Brown’s ‘dignified resignation’. We was pressured to go by the people in the Labour party who wanted the coalition deal with them to work and when Labour backbenchers and Ed Balls prevented it from working he lost no time in attempting to sabotage discussions between ourselves as the Conservatives as a final insult to decency. This was despite, so it’s reported, Nick on the phone to him pleading for him to wait until negotiations had concluded. The only people who have displayed decorum throughout the whole process have been the LibDem negotiators, the Conservative negotiators (amazingly!), Alex Salmond (who didn’t have much to do) and the LibDem supporters who have maintained the rationality and objectivity about the process which I’m pleased to say is a group which includes everyone in the parliamentary party, the federal exec right down to the strange facebook group formed by the ‘Rage Against the Machine to No. 1′ people.

    6) I agree. Why Theresa May has been given equalities while Alan Duncan is in International Development (what was the point of Rory Stewart being given a safe seat?) beggars belief. Here’s hoping his next cabinet is less ‘defensive’ and ‘Cameroony’ – David Davis for Home Sec, Lynne for Womens’ Minister (if the split up equality) and Ken Clarke for Chancellor (or Vince, but I think he and the Tories are happier with him where he is).

    7) Actually they’re busy falsifying history and pretending that it was us ‘choosing the Conservatives’ and not their inability to control their own back-benchers, party interest and pig-headed negotiators who left us all with one Conservative government or another.

    We got significant concessions on all of the four points. And more. When you were campaigning for a party which wanted electoral reform (and thus forseeably coalition government) what more did you want? What did you expect?

  • So, let’s have a quick tally up now that the dust has started to settle…
    How many of you posters earlier in this thread (before ‘the deal’ was done) that said you would never vote Lib Dem again if Nick buddied up with Dave will actually stick to it? How many have been won over? and how many wish they had not rushed to publish their opinions so quickly?

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