Conservative Diary

« 86% of Tory members prefer minority government to coalition | Main | Senior 1922 Committee members set to meet early this week »

Cameron should mind his internal as well as his external coalition

The Daily Mail reports this morning that a weakened Nick Clegg is being told by his party that electoral reform is the price he must exact from the Tories for any sort of deal." The newspaper continues:

"The Lib Dem leader is meeting this afternoon with his ruling federal executive  -  an elected committee of 35 senior activists, MPs and party officials  -  to discuss his next move."

There are similar reports from Sky and BBC reporting Mr Clegg's determination - and obligation - to build consensus within his party.

If Mr Clegg is consulting far and wide at this stage, I hope Mr Cameron is doing the same. The Conservative leader was careful to call Michael Howard, Iain Duncan Smith and other senior Tories before yesterday's invitation to the Liberal Democrats. He certainly needs to be aware that the party is psychologically in a weak place. Most Tory members expected to win the election outright. There is a looming post-mortem on the failure of the Tory campaign to achieve that. Conservative MPs and candidates are ready to move on but they want a more collegiate leadership in future. They want to be more involved in decisions about party strategy. They certainly want better internal communication.

On the Today programme Liam Fox talked of the need for collective leadership. Tim Shipman, in the Daily Mail, warns that "disgruntled backbenchers voiced scepticism at [David Cameron's] plans for an agreement with Nick Clegg and urged him to change his leadership style, complaining that key decisions are taken by a clique around the leader."

Media attention is understandably focused on building a formal and informal coalition with the Liberal Democrats. It is also right that Mr Cameron builds a stronger internal coalition.

Tim Montgomerie


You must be logged in using Intense Debate, Wordpress, Twitter or Facebook to comment.