Deal or no deal? That’s the question Nick Clegg will ask fellow Liberal Democrats after British voters granted his party a major say in who gets the keys to No 10 Downing Street.
David Cameron’s centre-right Conservatives hope to cooperate with the centre-left Lib Dems after failing to win an overall majority in parliament.
A pact could end Gordon Brown’s tenure as prime minister but Clegg stressed it would not be made at any price.
The Liberal Democrat leader told reporters on Saturday that his party had “four big priorities” if they were to be invited to join a Conservative-led government.
“Firstly, fair tax reform; secondly, a new approach in education to provide the fair start that all children deserve in school; thirdly, a new approach to the economy so we can build a new economy from the rubble of the old; and fourthly, fundamental political reform of our political system,” Clegg said.
Yet investor concern over Britain’s public finances could make this unlikely political marriage a reality, albeit a forced one.
Constitutional precedent says the prime minister has the right to first try and form a government.
But it’s unclear whether the markets will grant Gordon Brown the time he needs to find the necessary coalition partners to work with.