Cameron expected to go to the Palace tonight
I hear that the plan is for David Cameron to go the Palace tonight. I thought this might not be the case, that the trip might wait till tomorrow. But that is not what the Tories are expecting. Preusmably people felt this had all gone on long enough and if it can be done quickly, even if that means interrupting the Queen’s evening, then so be it. Better for markets, democracy and traffic.
Labour’s smiles might disappear a little – many seem relieved at stepping down from office – when they see the notes Nick Clegg took with him to a meeting with David Cameron. They met in the shadow Cabinet room – not the last time they’ll sit round a Cabinet table.
The list includes “Hayden Phillips” reforms – the re-writing of the rules on party funding. This suggested a cap on donations which would make it very difficult for the trade unions to pump money into the Labour Party in the way they have for years.
The list also includes “Short money” which is the money political parties get from the government… a sort of covert state funding for political parties. Nick Clegg obviously thinks it’s important his party gets a bit more in the kitty to match its new responsibilities.
What responsibilities will they take up? There’s an interesting section on this in the note. The question has clearly been on what ratio are they entitled to jobs in government? Is it their ratio of MPs to the Tories? That would mean 16 per cent of jobs. Or their ratio of votes – 39 per cent? I wonder if – in the spirit of coalition – they went for something in the middle?
I hear that they may not have decided to go for a Treasury job. It’s true that Vince Cable went to talk to Alistair Darling this afternoon but it may not be a Lib Dem MP doing one of the top two Treasury jobs. It’s been suggested there might be one Lib Dem in each ministry – that, if you take out the law officers but add on Nick Clegg as a possible deputy PM – would make around 20.
You can see a sneak of the Guardian’s shot of the Nick Clegg negotiating notes on their website here.