The party’s formal statement on talks

From David Laws:

“We have had a very positive discussion. The Parliamentary party and shadow cabinet have fully endorsed the position set out by Nick Clegg.

“We will continue to put the national interest first and play a constructive role in providing the stable and good government people deserve.

“We have heard what the Labour Party and Gordon Brown are saying but in line with the position Nick Clegg outlined yesterday we are continuing discussions with the Conservative Party as the party with the most seats and votes..

“We want to complete this process as soon as possible but people will recognise that it is also important to get these decisions right in the long term national interest.”

Footnote: the party’s formal internal consultative process is currently at works, which includes state / regional party chairs talking to local party officers. If you are involved in a local party, you may therefore want to let your local party officers know your views. You can look up the contact details for your local party at

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  • I understand why Mr Clegg is undertaking this process (indeed he must), but I just hope that he does not make too many concessions to David Cameron. I voted Liberal Democrat to see their policies implemented, not tory ones.

    I am finding it difficult to understand how they will be able to reconcile such large differences in key policies. There are few tory policies that I agree with and I certainly don’t want to see David Cameron in number 10. I suppose it’s too much to ask that Nick becomes PM, and Vince chancellor in return for support? Ah well 🙂

  • I can’t believe the party leadership would be dumb enough to spurn Labour’s offer of a referendum. Unless, the Tories match the offer (or better it), this will be the ONLY chance the party gets for a very long time indeed. It is clear that the bulk of the membership are more inclined towards a progressive coalition than a marriage of convenience with the Tories.

    The deal with either party should be (1) a referendum in September; (2) a second election under the new system (assuming it passes) within a year. Yes, the party may suffer in the short-term for making PR a pre-condition of a deal, but this is the prize we have all been waiting for – we need to grab it with both hands.

  • Nick – For all we know angry voters would strike down a referendum as a result of bitterness that we propped up Gordon Brown in government. Have patience and have confidence that your namesake is one of the few people in politics whose integrity is impeccable (I’m pleased to say almost all the others are to be found either on our frontbenches or relegated to the backbenches of the other parties where they can’t do any ‘damage’).

    Second, it is doubtful that elections soon after a coalition deal is struck would either be something the other parties would agree to or something which would be in the interests of the country. It would be absurd to demand it. If we are successful in getting electoral reform then this will be the first of many coalition deals and we shall have to live with policy compromises.

  • Andrew Suffield 8th May '10 - 9:33pm

    Clegg wishes both to profess support for PR [1] but also take advantage of FPtP

    That doesn’t even make sense. This endless “wooh Clegg sucks” line is tiresome.

  • “This is not required by PR, so please, everyone stop suggesting Clegg believes in it.”

    @Alec – We can’t reply if what you say makes no sense. How could any sequence of negotiation be required by a voting system?

  • Peter Townes 8th May '10 - 9:46pm

    Last time we went in with the Tories in the 1930’s in the national interest,they nearly wiped us out,and would do the same now given half a chance,I am sure Nick would be at home with fellow public schoolboys but must take account of what the wider party feels and not be lured by the trappings of power.

  • Margo McDonald 8th May '10 - 10:31pm

    Gordon Brown is going no-where he is our Prime Minister but I would be more concerned about your own leader more-so as David Cameron and Nick Clegg have spent over 70Min tonight talking alone behind closed doors without their Party Leaders so secretive that David Cameron left by the back door?

  • Margo McDonald 8th May '10 - 10:41pm

    Gordon Brown has left the door open for Nick Clegg if unable to come to an agreement with David Cameron but after this meeting this evening which willbe followed up tomorrow around 11PM I doubt very much if Clegg will need to make contact with Gordon Brown except to tell has reached an agreement with Cameron.

    Let’s wait and see what tomorrow brings.

  • David Allen 8th May '10 - 10:59pm

    Should we turn them down because they are too badly in disarray to form a plausible government?

  • colin bannon 8th May '10 - 11:14pm

    So here we come to it: Vote Nick and get Dave. Nick rolls over and has Dave rub his tummy. And I’ve wasted yet another vote!

  • Colin Bannon, agree with you wholeheartedly, all the years I have been successfully persuading people to change their political beliefs – to accept there is a better (third) way seems at this moment to have been completely wasteful BUT I refuse to judge then too early! I might be utterly misguided but I will continue to support Nick Clegg and the party until FACTS insist I do otherwise. I trust them to do the right thing – please guys don’t prove me wrong 🙂

  • :Applauds Jock:

    Seriously – can people not realise that anything, from anyone, on PR will need to (as it should) go to the general public in a referundum – and that referendum will be lost if we show, at the first opportunity, all the reasons why the public should dislike and distrust the eternal coalition governments that will be an almost inevitable consequence of PR. I’m a massive fan/advocate for STV but even I’d consider voting NO in a referendum if the party activists (from both sides) show themselves incapable of the mature reflection, compromise and humility required to make them work.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 9th May '10 - 1:00am

    The Sunday Times says:
    “In a sign that the parties are moving closer to a settlement, senior Lib Dems indicated that voting reform is unlikely to be a “deal breaker”. One MP said the party was willing to listen to Tory proposals on PR, even if they failed to offer a referendum. But the Lib Dems are holding out for a fixed-term parliament as a precondition of any deal with the Tories.”

  • Anthony Aloysius St 9th May '10 - 1:08am

    “Senior sources within the party told the Sunday Express key advisers had been asked to pore over the rule book to see if there was an “escape route” out of the triple lock.”

  • Anthony Aloysius St 9th May '10 - 11:32am

    This FT blog suggests that Clegg may try to argue that the “triple lock” rules wouldn’t apply to an agreement that wasn’t a formal coalition, but continues:
    The important point is that Clegg could still be called to account by the fringe elements in his party, even if he wins the consent of his MPs and the federal executive (as laid down in the triple lock).
    It only takes 200 delegates signing a petition to call a Special Conference — which would force Clegg to win a vote on whatever deal he’s reached with Cameron. So there is probably a way around the triple lock. But there is no way around the Lib Dem activists.

  • Andrew Suffield 9th May '10 - 12:57pm

    Suddenly you’re willing to believe stuff you read in the Express, and nutty bloggers who claim they know what Clegg is going to do?

    Are you people drunk?

  • Anthony Aloysius St 9th May '10 - 1:45pm


    Why on earth are you assuming anyone believes it?

    I just post it for information. People can give it whatever weight they think appropriate.

  • In over 40 years of voting in elections (possibly longer than two party leaders have been alive) I have been hoping that one day there would be a proper democratic system for elections in this country so I could vote for principles I beleive in and see them respected by politicians. When the Labour party began to leave behind its principles I was persuaded by the Lib Dem case and I have voted for you in the last four elections. Now once again I feel that the party I have supported and given my vote to is about to leave me behind once again. Yes there is common ground between Clegg and Cameron but not that much compared to the lack of common ground in so much else. I am under no illusions about Labour but perhaps ‘better the devil you know’ and there’s more common ground there – would I vote again if the LDs join a coalition with the Conservatives, or agree some formal non agression pact – well that’s a hard one as there will be no party I feel I would be able to give my vote to but I’m really sorry to say that I could never vote for any party that was going to deliver a Conservative Government unless the price was PR. Alas I can see the chances of PR slipping away for another 40 years as the LD vote dwindles as many other people with liberal values will be as confused as I am by this party co-operating with a party that has a right wing lunatic anti liberal wing and who called all the shots wrongly in the recent economic crisis, are aligned with anti EU nutters at home and the lunatic fringe in the EU. If the next election is fought under FPTP the result will probably be a Conservative majority, a bigger vote for Labour and a diminished LD vote, if we ever get PR I’ll probably be dead. For me the next election under PR is the deal breaker. Can we at least ask for this to both parties as a condition of our support, will we ever get another chance as good?

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