Can Nick Clegg really be about to abandon electoral reform?

I don’t believe so.

Monitor Twitter and the blogosphere today, and the conventional wisdom consensus that emerges is that Nick Clegg is indeed about to do a deal with the Conservatives, possibly even at the cost of electoral reform.

Here, for example, is what Krishnan Guru-Murthy, the respected Channel 4 News anchor, says:

Well, from what Gove, Ashdown and Hague have said so far today it does sound like a deal is likely . . . and PR is not.

Is this really possible? I cannot believe it, and not just because Clegg reiterated his support for electoral reform at yesterday's rally in central London. You can call it wishful thinking, but I genuinely believe that there is an element of going through the motions happening here, and that talks with the Tories may yet break down.

After which the Lib Dems will give a serious look at Labour's comprehensive offer of PR and numerous cabinet places.

 

James Macintyre is political correspondent for the New Statesman.
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Cabinet audit: what does the appointment of Liam Fox as International Trade Secretary mean for policy?

The political and policy-based implications of the new Secretary of State for International Trade.

Only Nixon, it is said, could have gone to China. Only a politician with the impeccable Commie-bashing credentials of the 37th President had the political capital necessary to strike a deal with the People’s Republic of China.

Theresa May’s great hope is that only Liam Fox, the newly-installed Secretary of State for International Trade, has the Euro-bashing credentials to break the news to the Brexiteers that a deal between a post-Leave United Kingdom and China might be somewhat harder to negotiate than Vote Leave suggested.

The biggest item on the agenda: striking a deal that allows Britain to stay in the single market. Elsewhere, Fox should use his political capital with the Conservative right to wait longer to sign deals than a Remainer would have to, to avoid the United Kingdom being caught in a series of bad deals. 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. He usually writes about politics.