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David Cameron insists a Tory majority is still "quite possible" as he bats off questions about coalitions with the Lib Dems

TV Debate Clegg and Cameron David Cameron has given an interview to this morning's Observer, in which its journalists have tried to coax him into saying what he would or wouldn't do in the event of a hung parliament with regard to dealing with the Liberal Democrats.

Quite rightly, he insists that the Conservatives are working for an outright majority:

"I think it's still quite possible to win. That's what we're shooting for."

He also again warns against the dangers of a hung parliament:

"The world wants to see Britain deal with its debts, get on and make decisions, avoid the jobs tax, get the economy moving. I think all those things are more difficult with a hung parliament." 

There is a little love-bombing of Lib Dems:

He argues that... "the modern liberal Conservative party" should be winning the support of "a liberally minded person who wants to get rid of identity cards, wants to give the environment a proper priority, education comes high up your list, and believes we should have a government that respects civil liberties rather than tramples on them. One of the keys to this election is people who are broadly speaking small 'l' liberal."

But he refuses to be drawn on the question of whether he would do deals with the Lib Dems if there were a hung parliament:

We draw him into some debate about what the Tories would do if no single party had a majority. "We would behave in a responsible way." What does that mean? He tries deflecting with a joke: "Obviously, it's pretty clear that we wouldn't prop up a Labour government . You can rule that one out."

What he does not rule out is the possibility of coalition or some sort of other deal with the Lib Dems. He declines several opportunities definitively to say no to it, sensibly hedging his bets in case Clegg does turn out to be the kingmaker. And if the price was swallowing the Tories' hostility to electoral reform? He begins by defending first-past-the-post. "I want us to keep the current system that enables you to throw a government out of office," he says. But if it was the price of getting into power with Lib Dem support, he merely says: "We think this is an important issue."

I have written on LeftWatch today about how Nick Clegg and Paddy Ashdown have between them this morning effectively ruled out either propping up a lame-duck Labour government or going into coalition with the Conservatives.

So it would seem, in that sense, that a Conservative administration looks all the more certain after the election. The question is whether or not it will have a Commons majority.

As I wrote yesterday, as the media talk up the possibility of a hung parliament, it is all the more vital that Conservatives continue to work for that majority, not least because of the dangers that a hung parliament would pose for the country and the economy.

> We reported on Friday the result of the latest ConHome readers' survey showing only 12% of members finding the idea of a Lib-Con pact as desirable or acceptable.

Jonathan Isaby


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