In an about face on the weekend’s negotiations, Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats have turned to embrace the now Brown-less Labour Party.
The impact: a Labour-Liberal Democrat coalition is now very likely.
In a public statement, Nick Clegg has said, in the context of explaining the limited progress his party has made with the Conservatives:
Gordon Brown has taken a difficult personal decision in the national interest. And I think without prejudice to the talks that will now happen between Labour and the Liberal Democrats, Gordon Brown’s decision is an important element which could help ensure a smooth transition to the stable government that everyone deserves.
Other parties, including Plaid Cymru, the party for Welsh independence, are in support of the Brown move and a potential coalition that would include several other progressive political parties, including Alex Salmond and the Scottish Nationalist Party.
The result of such a coalition could be a parliamentary majority, depending on how many fringe parties join in.
The reason why the Liberal Democrats would prefer Labour is that they would offer a vote and or referendum on proportional representation, which would garner more seats in the Parliament for the Liberal Democrats at the next election.
The Conservatives have countered with an offer for a referendum on the alternative vote, which is weaker electoral reform.
Update: Liberal Democrat – Labour coalition with other progressive parties would have 330 seats, enough for a Parliamentary majority, according to the New Statesman.
The pound remains near its lowest levels of the day:
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