22 Days in May: The Birth of the First Lib Dem-Conservative Coalition

By David Laws

David legislation was once one of many key Lib Dem MPs who negotiated the coalition deal, and the e-book comprises his in-depth, behind the curtain, account of the talks with the Conservative and Labour groups after the overall Election, in addition to the debates inside of his personal celebration approximately how the Lib Dems may still reply to the demanding situations and threats of a hung parliament. The Liberal Democrats' and Conservatives' determination to shape a Coalition executive has replaced the face of British politics. This publication units out the interior tale of ways this momentous occasion opened up, and the way - jointly - the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives have began to deal with the problem of an important executive funds deficit.

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Danny Alexander will repair it with Peter. ’ Mr Brown made one final pitch: ‘Don’t be upset through your effects, Nick. you've gotten made a big impact. The schedule of the longer term has been set through this election. we have to paintings heavily. . . ’ ‘Yes, convinced, definite, that’s very helpful,’ Nick acknowledged. there has been a last trade of pleasantries after which the telephone name ended. It were twenty-three mins lengthy – two times the size of the dialogue with David Cameron. Alison Suttie, who were listening in, acknowledged: ‘That gave the impression of a twenty-five minute lecture! ’ ‘Well, it definitely wasn’t a lot of a conversation,’ stated Nick. The Lib–Lab discussions had now not obtained off to an excellent commence. Nick used to be now not the single one that felt that Mr Brown’s negotiating type lacked a definite subtlety and style. Peter Mandelson was once listening in at the dialog and in his memoirs he diplomatically files that, ‘I was once a bit fearful that Gordon may need encounter a section too seriously, telling Nick what he should still imagine instead of asking him what he concept’ (The 3rd guy, p. 545). certainly. That night the talks with the Conservatives begun. To my delight, we weren’t losing any time. The negotiating staff assembled – Danny, Chris, Andrew and me, besides Alison Suttie. We met first within the nationwide Liberal membership, once we finally succeeded in persuading a slightly strict doorman that lets be depended on to take advantage of one of many gloomy assembly rooms down within the basement. We met at 7pm and simply had till 7. 30pm to be round the nook within the cupboard place of work for our formal assembly with the Conservatives. We agreed that we wanted to spotlight our 4 key manifesto pledges – on tax cuts, a student top rate, political reform and a sustainable economic system. And we would have liked to exhibit very essentially the significance to country referendum on electoral reform, the least convincing a part of David Cameron’s afternoon assertion. Andrew used to be involved that we must always now not rush our talks. He instructed ‘slowing issues down’. Danny instructed we should always plan to satisfy for roughly 4 hours on a daily basis, and that we should always agree a destiny agenda of conferences now. i'd were satisfied to fulfill through the day and evening to make respectable growth, yet i used to be simply relieved that the talks have been beginning particularly early. In Scotland, following the 1999 Scottish Parliamentary elections, it took till the Monday after polling day for severe talks to begin, which I felt was once a lot too overdue. We not less than had sixty hours head begin compared. At 7. 25pm we ended our arrangements, left the nationwide Liberal membership and made the fast trip round the nook onto Whitehall, and over the line to the cupboard place of work, at 70 Whitehall. We have been expert prior to the election that, within the occasion of a hung parliament, a set of places of work and a convention room will be put aside for cross-party negotiations the following within the cupboard place of work, simply round the corner to Downing highway. We arrived to be greeted by way of the Civil provider staff who have been there to aid the negotiations. either the Civil carrier and Buckingham Palace were getting ready for the chances of a hung parliament for lots of months.

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