Over at ConservativeHome, Paul Goodman asks if Cameron and Osborne share Francis Maude’s view that the coalition should continue after the next election even if the Tories win an outright majority. My impression is that they do. If the Tories won a majority of between 10 and 30, I’d be surprised if Cameron didn’t try and keep the coalition going.
There are four main reasons why I think the Tory leadership would want to keep the Liberal Democrats in the government in these circumstances. First of all, Cameron is a natural at being a coalition Prime Minister. He is better at it than he would be at being a purely Tory one. The leadership also appreciates how coalition gives it cover to do things that it would be politically more difficult to do otherwise. Third, Cameron likes the way in which coalition changes his relationship with his own parliamentary past. Finally, and most importantly, if the Liberal Democrats went into the government with the Tories in this scenario, they would have taken a massive step to becoming Tories. David Cameron would have realigned British politics, ending Tony Blair’s dream of Lib-Lab progressive century.