James Forsyth James Forsyth

PMQs: Labour’s constant attacks make a Lib-Lab coalition unlikely

Today’s PMQs showed that Labour still have no plan for Nick Clegg other than to attack him. With Clegg standing in for Cameron, Harriet Harman didn’t try and tease out any differences between the coalition partners but instead attacked him as the best deputy any Tory Prime Minister could have and as an accelerator on the Tory agenda not a brake.

On one level, this makes sense. There are a certain number of votes on the centre-left of British politics that Labour and the Lib Dems are competing for. Painting the Lib Dems as Tory accomplices helps Labour in this market.

But on another, these highly personal attacks on Clegg make a Lib-Lab coalition that much harder to imagine. As Clegg claimed that ‘no one on this side of the House [eg either the Lib Dems or the Tories] would have broken the economy in the first place’ one realised how hard it would be for Clegg to sign on as Miliband’s deputy after 2015.

Of course, the Labour leadership is becoming increasingly confident that it might win outright. But if they don’t, it is hard to see how a Lib-Lab coalition could be put together as long as Clegg is Lib Dem leader.

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