James Forsyth

Who is behind Nick Boles’ proposed electoral pact?

Who is behind Nick Boles' proposed electoral pact?
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Nick Boles proposed electoral pact (£) between the coalition partners would have a clear benefit for the Conservatives, it would make a deal between Labour and the Liberal Democrats after the next election impossible. That is quite a prize for the Conservatives. It would mean that David Cameron would continue as PM as long as the two parties between them held a majority of seats in the Commons.

It is less clear what the Liberal Democrats would gain from it. Yes, it would help more of their MPs survive, but it would tie their hands ahead of another hung parliament and massively reduce their ability to claim that they are a distinct political party rather than just an adjunct to the Conservatives.

On Today this morning, Nick Boles was very modest about his standing in the party. But the truth is that Boles is a key figure, one of the early modernisers and a member of the Cameron circle. That he is publicly floating the possibility of an electoral pact shows that it is a subject of discussion amongst those at

the very top. Notably, David Cameron’s spokeswoman did not slap the idea down when asked about it this morning. Clegg’s people, though, are busy trying to pour cold water on the idea.