Monday afternoon update: Interviewed on Radio 4's World at One Vince Cable, Deputy Liberal Democrat leader, poured cold water on the Guardian's story. He said that in the last month The Guardian had said that the LibDems were likely to back the Tories and then to back Labour. Now, he continued, reporters at The Guardian with "a vivid imagination" had written that the Liberal Democrats had ruled out joining a coalition. Nothing had been ruled in and nothing ruled out, he said. He said that the party which emerged strongest from the election would have the "impetus" to take a lead in arranging any deal.
The Guardian has a big story tomorrow. The Liberal Democrats reportedly do not want seats around the Cabinet table in the event of a hung parliament but do not want progress in four areas. The Guardian's Patrick Wintour and Nick Watt list them as:
- "Investing extra funds in education through a pupil premium for disadvantaged children." This is already Michael Gove's policy and Labour could readily agree to this too.
- "Tax reform, taking 4 million out of tax and raising taxes on the rich by requiring capital gains and income to be taxed at the same rate." Many Tories would love to see such a policy and Edward Leigh proposed it three years ago – although funded in a different way.
- "Rebalancing of the economy to put less emphasis on centralised banking and more on a new greener economy." I'm not entirely sure what centralised banking means but this sounds possible for both Labour and the Tories.
- "Political reforms, including changes to the voting system and a democratically elected Lords, that go further than proposed by Labour." Labour will probably be more willing to embrace electoral reform than the Conservatives (86% of Tory members oppose PR) but the Conservatives could offer more on civil liberties.