Peter Hoskin

Nick Clegg gives the Tories the go-ahead

Nick Clegg gives the Tories the go-ahead
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So Nick Clegg has finally spoken – and his words will be welcomed by the Tories.  In an address outside of the Lib Dem HQ on Cowley St, he reiterated his previous argument that "whichever party gets the most votes and the most seats, without gaining a majority, has the first right to form a government."  But added that "it seems this morning that the Conservative Party have the most votes and the most seats ... it is for the Conservative Party to prove that it is capable of governing in the national interest."

What this means in practice isn't 100 percent certain – although it doesn't sound good for Labour.  The subtext seems to be that Clegg would either let the Tories form a minority government, or would prioritise a deal with Cameron ahead of one with Brown.  He did stress the need for electoral reform, as if to say that the Lib Dems would expect some compromises from the Tories in return.  But, either way, Clegg's intervention will cheer all those weary souls in CCHQ.