By Peter Hoskin
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I’m not saying that Nick Clegg will resign. Nor that the allegations surrounding Lord Rennard and his party, as dispiriting as they are, necessarily yet warrant a resignation. But the past week has certainly raised the prospect of blood further down the tracks. Mr Clegg’s appearance on LBC radio this morning didn’t create the impression of a man who is in control of his own defence – let alone of his own destiny.
So what would happen if he did resign? The first point to make is that it would, most likely, fray the ties that bind the Coalition together. Relations between the Tory and Lib Dem leaderships may no longer be all roses and chocolates, as they were at the start of this Government, but Mr Clegg is still – as I’ve written before – a natural ally for David Cameron. He remains one of the most effective advocates of coalition itself, and of this Coalition’s policies. He remains a venomous critic of Labour and of their policies. He is an adhesive helping the whole thing stick together.
When it comes to other senior Lib Dems, something similar could be said of Danny Alexander and David Laws. Norman Lamb, too, is someone who might do easy business with the Tories. And perhaps, to a much lesser extent, there are Ed Davey and Jo Swinson.