Peter Hoskin

The Lib Dem big hitters pushing Clegg towards Labour

The Lib Dem big hitters pushing Clegg towards Labour
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Today's papers have the lowdown on the events of the past few days, and one thing is becoming increasingly clear: a Lib-Con deal faces not just the opposition of the Lib Dem base, but also some of the party's most influential figures.  In a Times account of a Lib Dem meeting yesterday, it's revealed that Sir Menzies Cambell "urged his successor not to bind the party into a irrevocable deal with the Tories."  Meanwhile, the Telegraph reports that "Vince Cable played a significant role in resisting an agreement [with the Tories]."  And Paddy Ashdown was across the airwaves this morning, explaining how a Lib-Lab coalition could provide "stability" and "legitimacy," against a "rabidly anti-European" Tory party.

Signs are, we're witnessing a strange Lib Dem power clash.  Nick Clegg is perhaps the most naturally right-leaning leader in his party's modern history, and someone who – as Rachel Sylvester observes – has good "chemistry" with David Cameron.  But the party machine is doing all it can to push him in the opposite direction.  We will discover the result of that struggle over the next few days.