There’s still no resolution to the muddy election outcome over in the United Kingdom, but everything now seems to hinge on whether Nick Clegg can convince his Liberal Democratic Party to accept a deal with the Tories:
Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg is meeting his MPs and peers to discuss a power-sharing offer from the Conservatives.
The Tories won most votes in the UK election but were short of a majority – Gordon Brown remains PM while Tories see if they can form a government.
He will meet his party’s governing body, the federal executive, later to discuss Mr Cameron’s proposals. He will need the support of a majority of MPs and the executive to enter into any deal.
Entering talks this morning Mr Clegg has stressed his priorities, including “fundamental political reform”, but said they would act in a “constructive spirit” in the “coming hours and days”.
Electoral reform is likely to be a key battleground – the Lib Dems have long campaigned for the first-past-the-post system to be replaced with a form of proportional representation. The Conservatives oppose changing the voting system.
As he entered the talks Mr Clegg said the election result meant politicians had to talk to each other as “people deserve good, stable government”.
He said the Lib Dems would enter into talks with other parties in a “constructive spirit” over the “coming hours and days” – implying that a deal is unlikely on Saturday.
One would think, however, that all parties are of the mind that a deal of some kind would have to be in place by the time financial markets open Monday morning.
At the same time, it would seem that things aren’t going quite as well when it comes to a Labour-Lib Dem deal:
Gordon Brown launched a “diatribe” and a “rant” at Nick Clegg during a telephone call with the Liberal Democrat leader after it was suggested he should resign, it was reported today.
The BBC reported the confrontation based on remarks by a “very senior Lib Dem source who is involved in the negotiations with the Conservatives”.
The source told the BBC’s Jon Sopel that during the leaders’ conversation last night, the tone went “downhill” at the mention of resignation.
It was claimed Mr Brown’s approach was to begin “a diatribe” and “a rant” and the source said the Labour leader was “threatening in his approach to Nick Clegg”.
Mr Clegg was said to have came off the phone assured that it would be impossible to work with Brown because of his attitude towards working with other people.
Number 10 have denied the report of Brown’s aggression, describing the chat as “constructive”.
In contrast, the Lib Dem source said discussions between Mr Clegg and David Cameron, the Conservative leader, had been “convivial”
In an official statement the Lib Dems denied there had been a row, insisting: “Any suggestion that it was in any way angry or hostile would be wrong. It was perfectly amicable and both men just set out what they said in their public statements.”
Harriet Harman, Labour’s deputy leader, also played down suggestions of disagreement.
“I wasn’t in that call, but I think it would be very surprising if there was a blazing row… I think people know big issues are at stake here, and I don’t think anybody would have been so small as to lose their temper,” she said.
How…….diplomatic of her.