Look at the polls and you’d think that Nick Clegg’s circle would be down in the dumps. But, as I say in the magazine this week, they actually head to Glasgow in good spirits. Why, because Clegg’s position as party leader is secure and another hung parliament remains the most likely result of the next election.
If in May 2010, you’d said that Clegg would back a strike on a Middle Eastern country without a UN mandate and then lost a House of Commons vote on the issue with 24 of his 57 MPs not backing him on it, we’d have assumed that he’d have been toast. But Clegg’s position is so secure at the moment that this hasn’t even caused any leadership chatter.
Another thing pleasing the Liberal Democrats is how likely a hung parliament looks. Many of them hope that they’ll get their dream scenario with both coalitions possible. But they should be careful what they wish for. If both coalitions were possible—imagine that both Labour and the Tories had 290 seats and the Lib Dems 40-odd—then the Liberal Democrats would have to decide what kind of party they actually are. As one minister tells me, ‘that would create a schism’.Tags: Lib Dem conference 2013, Nick Clegg, UK politics