Speaking to various senior Conservative backbenchers in the past 24 hours, I’ve been struck by how much support there is for the formation of another coalition. There is a recognition that if the Tories have around 290 seats on Friday morning—which is at the optimistic end of the election projections, it is simply not realistic for them to try and run any kind of minority government.
The view among those I have spoken to is that Cameron should be given a decent amount of flexibility to negotiate a deal with the Liberal Democrats as that is the most likely way for the Tories to be able to begin to put together a majority in the Commons. In terms of sequencing, I suspect that if there was another coalition deal, it would be approved by the Tory parliamentary party before Nick Clegg starts to try and sell it to his own party.
I get the impression that the view of the men in grey suits is that Cameron should be allowed to exhaust every option in terms of forming a government before anyone starts speaking about the leadership. But we shall have to see if the various potential Tory contenders, of whom I count more than a ten, are that disciplined on Friday morning.