Prime Minister David Cameron rallies coalition troops after a disastrous election result for Lib Dem partners, amid accusations he has let down Nick Clegg.
After avoiding major losses in the local elections, Prime Minister David Cameron has attempted to assure the public that the coalition is strong enough to last for a full term.
“I am absolutely committed to make the coalition government, which I believe is good for Britain, work for the full five years of this term,” the Prime Minister said.
Earlier Nick Clegg said Liberal Democrat losses across the country indicated it was his party which was “feeling the brunt” from the electorate over Government cuts.
Channel 4 News Political Editor Gary Gibbon has blogged that not only have the Tories avoided serious losses, but they have also managed to gain seats at the expense of the Liberal Democrats.
Lib Dem losses look set to destabilise Nick Clegg, with some party members already calling for him to resign. Mr Cameron came to the defence of his coalition partners, though: “I would pay tribute to the work the Liberal Democrats have done and are doing in this coalition.”
He admitted that over the issue of AV, the coalition sat on both sides of the electoral reform fence, but reiterated that this was always going to be the case.
“We always knew that the referendum would mean Conservatives and Liberal Democrats disagreeing and being on opposite sides of the campaign, one campaigning for Yes one campaigning for No.”
Counting his blessings
David Cameron, on the basis of what we know about last night's results, is counting his many blessings. The Tories could be barely down one percent on share of the vote from the 2010 general election. Their supporters don't have much quarrel with what they're doing, and they even seem to be hoovering up some Lib Dem support here and there in the south to add insult to coalition injury.
Read more on Gary Gibbon's blog here
However, Mr Cameron’s words may not wash with the Liberal Democrats, angered by Conservative tactics and their alleged funding of the “No to AV” campaign.
Lord Ashdown has attacked the Tories over their behaviour towards their partners in Government for conducting a campaign “whose primary task is to bring down their coalition partner, and then hand control of that over to the Labour war horses, and then stand back and say, ‘Nothing to do with me, guv.'”
“I hope there is a clear result tonight and whether it’s a yes or a no there will be no congratulating or celebrating. The issue will be settled and we will get on with the vital work we are doing as a coalition government governing in the national interest,” Lord Ashdown said.
An early YouGov poll indicates the No campaign has succeeded, predicting it will secure 68 per cent of the vote.