Aides to Cameron want Coalition to continue even if Tories win a majority
By Tim Montgomerie
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All the focus has been on Coalition squabbles of late but Rachel Sylvester uses her column in tomorrow's Times (£) to suggest that there are senior aides to David Cameron and senior Tory ministers who want Liberal Democrats to stay in government even if the Conservatives win a majority at the next election.
Rachel Sylvester argues that what I've called "Liberal Conservatives" have decided that Liberal Democrats are essential to ensure any Tory government isn't held to ransom by "unreconstructed elements" in the Conservative Party. She writes:
"For the Tory modernisers, the Lib Dems are the ideal weapon to ward off the enemy within. The news that some of the so-called “Tatler Tories” have been dumped from the list of prospective parliamentary candidates [ConHome yesterday] is evidence that the leadership does not think that the modernisation of the party is yet complete. The Prime Minister is pleased to have political cover for keeping the 50p top rate of tax, abandoning the “prison works” approach to crime, avoiding a return to grammar schools and retaining the ring-fence on aid — all policies that infuriate the rightwingers. “The traditionalists are just not on planet Earth,” says one Cameroon."
Despite the current problems of the Coalition it is certainly true that the PM's alliance with the Liberal Democrats has meant the Cameroonians at the head of the Conservative Party have been able to pursue their policies on tax, renewable energy, Europe and crime that would have been much harder if Brady, Carswell, Davis, Redwood and other members of the Conservative mainstream had held the balance of power.
Over the bank holiday weekend three senior ministers have told me that senior advisors to Cameron are actively discussing ways of "castrating the Right". The alleged purge of the candidates' list, appointments of many "tame" peers and active briefing against senior right-wing members of the government are early signs of this strategy.