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Ignore media reports of "Tory coalition plans" - the party is working for a Conservative majority and the country requires nothing less

Picture 13 Today's Telegraph carries the headline "Tories plan for a coalition" - although the story below it contains no evidence that such planning is going on.

It merely reports Ken Clarke's answer to a question from the Telegraph as to how hypothetical negotiations for a deal with  other parties might begin if there were a hung parliament.

The business secretary replied:

“Our starting point would be to say to the other two parties 'you know you have got to control the deficit and debt’, and have a plan our creditors believe for getting rid of the structural deficit over the next parliament. If they just sit there and say 'that’s just your party platform’, my own view is that the economic consequences of abandoning that would be catastrophic. The core problem is the debt and the deficit, and the Conservatives have been the most consistently sensible on that. I don’t think it would be in the national interest to resile from that.”

Picture 14 In his interview with Jeremy Paxman last night Mr Cameron also gave a straight answer to a straight question when said that “if there is a hung parliament, we have to be responsible, we will have to try to make it work, we will have to make sure it works for the people in our country.”  

But more importantly, he emphasised:

"I'm trying to win this election outright, that's what I'm fighting and campaigning for. I think it is achievable, I think we have a huge fight on our hands."

Quite how all this this amounts to "plans for a coalition" I don't know. The Telegraph story is mere conjecture, as it appears to admit further down its report (my emphasis in bold):

"It is thought that, although continuing to warn publicly of the dangers to the economy of a hung parliament, the Conservatives may have begun privately considering how a coalition government with the Liberal Democrats could be possible."

It also cites similar speculation from Michael Portillo of all people.

CCHQ has not even dignified the story with a response.

I have blogged before that the many of the media relish the scenario of a hung parliament and it is almost as if they are talking it up because the chaos and political wheeler-dealing would be "good for trade".

David Cameron is right that the party and all those campaigning on the ground must continue to focus on securing that all-important overall majority.

Because whilst a hung parliament might be good for journalists, it would most certainly not be good for the country, as another report on the front page of the Telegraph reminds us today.

It cites new unnerving new research from the Centre for Business and Economic Research:

"A hung parliament could cost consumers as much as £1,250 to £5,000 a year, leading to higher mortgages, petrol prices and holidays abroad, a leading think tank has calculated. Interest rates could rise to 3.5 per cent, from today's record low of 0.5 per cent, the pound would fall and the financial markets could go into "full-scale crisis", the Centre for Business and Economic Research has predicted in an exclusive report for The Daily Telegraph.

"The detailed predictions from the independent think tank lay out both a "best case" and "worst case" scenario over the next three years, making clear that a hung parliament would in all cases lead to higher interest rates and a falling pound. If things were bad, and the markets believed that a weak Labour-Liberal coalition was incapable of sorting out the enormous Government deficit, the British economy would take a sharp nose-dive for the next six months, severely affecting home owners, holidaymakers and drivers. Some home owners, on tracker rate mortgages, would see their monthly payments rise by £375 a month."

This echoes concerns previously outlined by ConHome that any administration in power after the general election which either cannot or will not tackle the country's deficit runs the risk of costing anyone with a mortgage dear.

Mortgage increase
Jonathan Isaby

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