David Blackburn

No Lib-Con deal for at least 24 hours

No Lib-Con deal for at least 24 hours
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William Hague has just emerged from the Cabinet Office and spoken of the 'positive, constructive and substantive talks' between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats. Discussion has encompassed political reform, reducing the deficit, banking reform, regulation of small businesses, environmental issues and civil liberties. Hague says that a further meeting will take place at some stage in the next 24 hours. 'That meeting,' he added. 'Will concentrate on deficit reduction and economic stability'.

The language of the statement suggests that an informal pact is more likely than a formal coalition. It is surely indicative that the follow-up talks aim to secure economic stability in the interests of the country, rather than seek a lasting compromise on issues such as voting reform, education reform and energy security. However, it is equally possible that accomodation has aleady been reached on those issues, and that tomorrow's meeting will address the final sticking point to a coalition. But with Westminster the venue for clandestine schemes - Gordon Brown met Nick Clegg in the furtive recesses of the Foreign Office this afternoon - nothing is certain, except that Labout isn't out of the game yet; oh, and that the 'New Politics' has a distinctly Medician feel to it.