Monday, 10 May 2010

Lib Dem: You can’t trust the f***ing Tories

It seems we are inching towards a deal between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, with both leaders due to meet their MPs today.
They should not underestimate the unease and distrust in their ranks at the – especially among the Westcountry contingent who have just spent four weeks slogging it out in one of the dirtiest election campaigns many said they had seen.
Today’s Western Morning News contains a number of juicy comments from both Tories and Lib Dems – some on the record, some off – which should give the consensual negotiators pause for thought.
It seems to have brought out the potty-mouthed worst among them.
Liberal Democrats
One Lib Dem in the region said a deal with the Conservatives would be a "f***ing travesty". This morning on the way into a sun-drenched Parliament, a Lib Dem MP told me: “You can’t trust the f***ing Tories.”
Another frontbencher said: "Not many Lib Dems joined the Lib Dems to help the Tories, but every party lost so we are where we are. There are probably quite a lot of Tories who are not thrilled by the prospect of working with Liberal Democrats."
On electoral reform, a Devon Lib Dem source said: "This is what we have been waiting for, for 80 years. The economic crisis is huge but will continue for a few years. Constitutional reform would last 100 years. I am left with the slight sense the Tories are just leading us a dance and don't really want a deal at all."
Tories in the region seem no keener to cosy up to Lib Dems.
Hugo Swire, Tory MP for East Devon and a former member of the Mr Cameron's shadow cabinet, ridiculed the idea that the Lib Dems are "the new, fresh party", saying they had been a "disaster" when running Westcountry councils.
"The reason we kicked them out of overall control in Cornwall, the reason we kicked them out of Devon County Council and Somerset County Council… is we know how completely useless they are when they are in power."
One option understood to be being considered is a "confidence and supply" deal, under which the Lib Dems would undertake not to bring down a minority Conservative administration in return for assurances on certain policy areas.
"Given how flaky the Liberals are, how long that will last, who knows," Mr Swire added.
A Labour source claims Lib Dems in the region will defect to them on mass: "There will be mass insurrection among the Liberal Democrat grassroots."
And Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw said: "I still find it hard to believe that the Lib Dems would agree to a deal with the Conservatives without a referendum on electoral reform and if they fail to reach a deal with the Conservatives then our door is always open.
"We support a fair voting system. It was in our manifesto. There is an alternative to a Con-Lib collation, in a progressive alliance of Lib Dems, Labour, possibly the moderate Northern Ireland parties, that could deliver that historic political reform and manage the country and the economy stably for the next two or three years."
2pm UPDATE: All morning I have been speaking to MPs, new and old, of all three parties. A selection of their views:
Labour: "Brown must go, it's just a question of when. He was toxic on the doorstep."
Tory MP on Lib-Dems: "They will sh*t on you, they will be b*st*rds and then they will stab you in the back."
Lib Dem MP telling Tories: "Play your cards right and I'll make you my PPS."

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