Tories resume talks with Lib Dems
Cameron and Clegg hold further meeting
HOPES that a Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition will become Britain’s next government rose this afternoon as talks between the two parties got under way in the Cabinet Office.
The new resumed discussions came after almost three hours of negotiations this morning between Lib Dems and Labour - but this was trumped by the surprise news that Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg was involved in face-to-face talks for more than an hour with David Cameron.
Conservative negotiator William Hague said: “As you know, we believe very strongly there should be a government with a strong and secure majority in the House of Commons and, of course, an elected prime minister.
“We remain very, very firmly of that view. We set out our proposals to achieve that yesterday and we have come here to hear the Liberal Democrat response.’’
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Energy Secretary Ed Miliband, a member of the Labour negotiation team, described this morning’s meeting with the Lib Dems as “constructive. I think there are many points of agreement.. I thought there was a good atmosphere and a good constructive basis for our discussions.
“Since yesterday the Lib Dems have been talking to both the Conservatives and ourselves. I hope our discussions will continue because I think there are points of agreement and other issues to work through.’’
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But this was regarded as a lukewarm response to Labour’s talks with the Lib Dems.
There is growing opposition within Labour of sharing power with the Lib Dems. Former Home Secretaries Dr John Reid and David Blunkett - who both have the ear of party activists - warned that a Lib Dem would see Labour decimated at the next election and Scottish Labour MPs said they wanted nothing to do with it if it also involved their deadly rivals the Scottish Nationalists.
Dr Reid said that voters would punish Labour if they felt it was trying to “cobble something together that patently isn’t in the national interest’’.
Mr Blunkett was even more devastating: “Can you trust the Liberal Democrats? They are behaving like every harlot in history.’’