In an interview for The Times, LibDem leader Sir Menzies Campbell has revealed that his chief whip, Paul Burstow, has been given the task of reporting on how coalition talks should be conducted. In addition he told The Times that the price of doing a deal with Gordon Brown would be a firm commitment to proportional representation for Westminster. A poll of Tory activists by this website recently revealed that a promise to hold a referendum on PR for Westminster would be “unacceptable” to 67%.
The LibDem leader’s interview pointed to negativity towards the Tory leader. He said there was no personal chemistry between the men and continued:
“I noticed that Mr Cameron was saying we should let people stand up at Premiership football matches. You slightly wonder, if someone sent him a petition saying that the Earth is flat, would he say that this is a proposition that required careful scientific analysis.”
Sir Menzies’ intervention comes after a number of disappointing poll numbers for his party. A YouGov survey and yesterday’s Communicate Research poll both put the LibDems on just 17%. ConservativeHome’s overall poll of polls has the party down to 18%. Iain Dale thinks that Ming has made his first significant mistake with this talk of coalitions:
"Now that he has discussed the subject once, the media can be forgiven if the question is repeated again and again. It’s a legitimate subject for debate. The polls currently point to a Conservative victory, but I think a hung Parliament is by no means beyond the realm of possibility. By even mentioning the possibility of a formal coalition, Sir Ming has opened a Pandora’s Box."