Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 September 2014

'Further progress' made in Tory-Lib Dem talks

Oliver Letwin, William Hague and George Osborne make a statement outside the Cabinet Office
Nick Clegg has pledged to reach a decision on a coalition with the Tories soon
Tory leader David Cameron leaves his London home to resume talks with the Lib Dems

Hopes of an historic power-sharing deal between the Tories and Liberal Democrats are rising as the party leaders began talks with key colleagues about the negotiations.

Shadow foreign secretary William Hague said "further progress" had been made at Whitehall talks between the two parties on Monday morning.

Mr Clegg's chief of staff Danny Alexander emerged with a virtually identical statement.

He said: "We are working well together. Good further progress has been made and I'm now going to report on that to Nick Clegg and my parliamentary colleagues."

As Tory leader David Cameron began to brief the shadow Cabinet and Mr Clegg spoke to a meeting of Lib Dem MPs at Westminster, one senior Tory indicated a deal could be close.

"I hope so," said Mr Cameron's Commons aide, Desmond Swayne, when asked if he expected him to be Prime Minister tomorrow.

His comment came as Tory sources revealed that Mr Clegg and Mr Cameron had met face-to-face again this morning while the negotiating teams were locked in talks at the Cabinet Office.

The latest 30-minute conversation, which followed a half hour telephone chat earlier in the day, "went well", the source said.

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