Monday, May 19, 2008

Clegg "to back election winner" shock

God forbid that I ever turn into one of those gnarled old ex-lobby hacks who continually lament that political reporting is not what is was in their day....but the latest breathless revelations from Rosa Prince of the Telegraph's new-look political team had me shaking my head.

Writing on the usually excellent and informative Three Line Whip blog, she informs us that Nick Clegg will back David Cameron to become Prime Minister in the event of the Tories being the largest single party in a hung Parliament at the next General Election.

"Before now, it had been thought likely that Mr Clegg would wait until after an election to embark on negotiations with both of the main parties in the event of a hung Parliament. But The Daily Telegraph understands that he has decided that the public would not forgive him if he propped up a Labour administration that they had voted to throw out."

Well, blow me down. How long did it take The Daily Telegraph to "understand" that one, I wonder? I mean, it's not exactly rocket science, is it, to suggest that there would not be many votes for Cleggover in propping up a defeated Brown administration? With a second General Election likely to follow within the space of a year, he knows perfectly well it would be electoral suicide for him and his party.

The real dilemma for Clegg will come if Labour is the largest single party and the Tories are sufficiently far behind that they cannot form a government even with Lib Dem support - still a possible if currently rather unlikely scenario. In those circumstances the Lib Dem leader might be obliged to prop-up Labour in order to avert constitutional chaos.

Avid election speculators may like to take part in my Poll on the election outcome which I will be running between now and whenever the election comes. I plan to tot up the results each month and track the changes to see how opinion among blog readers is moving.

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