In the swirls of election comment, Andrew Neil’s analysis hasn’t taken hold yet. But watch out for it to become orthodoxy – for at least for five minutes. The Conservatives have their dander up. Shares in Clegg may be a touch overvalued. After the election, a notional two weeks are being set aside to form a government. Is it long enough to agree any position on something as radical as electoral reform? Only if the Lib Dems win 100 seats and the Conservatives less than 250. That’s my formula for today. On poll averages, the Lib Dems haven’t quite made it but the Conservatives are starting to look comfortable. It would have been oh so easy to deal with Labour who seem to be fading. On current trends with the Conservatives gaining 250 seats or more it’s reasonable to conclude that the most likely outcome is Tories as largest party without an overall majority. They could demand support for the sake of stability.
Andrew Neil says
My guess is that, in these circumstances, Mr Cameron would attempt to form a minority administration rather than do a deal with the Lib Dems. Mr Clegg would be under huge pressure from his generally leftish rank-and-file not to sup with the Tories and would have to insist on radical electoral reform (a much purer form of PR than the AV system Labour is offering) if he was to be allowed to help them in any way. Mr Cameron would be under immense pressure from his anti-PR rank-and-file to do no such thing. His troops would be angry that he failed to win the election outright and would be in no mind to let him agree to a reform that would mean the end of majority Tory governments.
Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London