Cameron's bid to Lib-Dems: join us

With just a few seats still to declare but no party winning a majority, Parliament remains hung. In a bid to lead the next Government, the Conservative leader, David Cameron, has just made what he called a "big, open, comprehensive offer" to the Liberal-Democrats.

Stressing that his is the party with the largest number of seats, and with 2m more votes than Labor, Cameron has set out the terms of his bid to secure the co-operation of the Lib-Dems -- although it's not yet clear if he is suggesting a Conservative/Lib-Dem coalition, or Lib-Dem acquiescence in a minority Conservative government. 

Advertisement

Together, Conservatives and Lib-Dems would have a parliamentary majority. Labor and Lib-Dems would not.

Cameron said there would be no concessions on Europe, immigration or defence. But he pointed to many policy areas where Conservatives and Lib-Dems could compromise and work together -- tax reform, civil liberties, and the environment. On electoral reform -- which for the Lib-Dems is a precondition of any deal -- Cameron proposed an all-party committee on the issue which would examine the various alternatives. The negotiations, he said, would involve both parties compromising.

Cameron stressed the urgent need of "strong, stable government" to tackle what he called "the worse inheritance of any government in 60 years" -- not least Britain's massive deficit. Pointing without naming it to the current instability over the Greek financial crisis, Cameron said the world (for which read, the financial markets) was looking to Britain for decisive action.

Every inch the statesman, Cameron called for a "new government that works together in the national interest" and said this "urgent work must begin".

The Lib-Dems will now consider the offer.

Until then, Gordon Brown is in the cold. Cameron referred to him as "the outgoing prime minister". But that doesn't mean the Lib-Dems will not later be talking to Labor.

For now, Brown remains prime minister. And the talking begins. It is unlikely Britain will have a new government before next week.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

Advertisement

The latest from america

 10.17.2018 Pope Francis greets Cardinal Blase J. Cupich of Chicago before a session of the Synod of Bishops on young people, the faith and vocational discernment at the Vatican Oct. 16. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)
“We take people where they are, walking with them, moving forward,” Cardinal Blase Cupich said.
Michael J. O’LoughlinOctober 20, 2018
Catherine Pakaluk, who currently teaches at the Catholic University of America and holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard University, describes her tweet to Mr. Macron as “spirited” and “playful.”
Emma Winters October 19, 2018
A new proposal from the Department of Homeland Security could make it much more difficult for legal immigrants to get green cards in the United States. But even before its implementation, the proposal has led immigrants to avoid receiving public benefits.
J.D. Long-GarcíaOctober 19, 2018
 Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, then nuncio to the United States, and then-Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick of Washington, are seen in a combination photo during the beatification Mass of Blessed Miriam Teresa Demjanovich at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark, N.J., Oct. 4, 2014. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)
In this third letter Archbishop Viganò no longer insists, as he did so forcefully in his first letter, that the restrictions that he claimed Benedict XVI had imposed on Archbishop McCarrick—one he alleges that Pope Francis later lifted—can be understood as “sanctions.”
Gerard O’ConnellOctober 19, 2018