In Manchester this week, there’ll be much talk from the Tories about how they are gunning for a majority. But in private, many senior Tories will admit that being the largest party in another hung parliament is a more realistic aim. As Matthew d’Ancona reveals in the Telegraph this morning, there has been talk—albeit brief– between the principals about a second coalition.
Matt also reminds us how, if it had not been for Cameron’s intervention, a mansion tax would have been imposed by the coalition. I suspect that if there is to be another coalition, the Liberal Democrats would insist on some kind of mansion tax. It has come for them a proxy for wider questions about how much influence they would wield inside a second Tory-Lib Dem coalition.
Now, it is hard to see how Cameron would agree to a mansion tax: his Tory soul rebels at the idea. CCHQ has also raised rather a lot of money off the party’s opposition to it. But senior Lib Dems stress that it’d be very hard to get any second coalition agreement past their party if it didn’t contain at least some form of mansion tax. This is all a reminder that if there is a second set of coalition negotiations, they’ll be far harder than the first.