Web Only: the best of the blogs

The five must-read blogs from today, on the coming Tory deal, Andy Burnham and former politicians.

1. Lib Dems should take the Tory deal

If the Lib Dems are ever to get proportional representation, they need to demonstrate that coalitions can work in practice, argues Mark Thompson. The Tories' offer provides them with their best chance to do so.

2. Andy Burnham opposes Lib-Lab coalition. Time to lock 'n' load?

Paul Waugh reports on Andy Burnham's remarkable decision to oppose a Lib-Lab coalition publicly and support David Blunkett's position.

3. Is Cameron offer of an AV referendum a cast-iron guarantee?

Remember David Cameron's "cast-iron guarantee" of a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty? Iain Martin wonders whether the sane guarantee applies to a referendum on electoral reform.

4. Alastair Campbell uncut

John Rentoul says that we can expect more Blair-Brown revelations as Campbell prepares the unexpurgated version of his diaries.

5. Why the media turn to former politicians in a crisis

At the Guardian, Jon Henley explains why we're seeing so much of Paddy Ashdown, David Steel, John Major et al.

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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.