Belfast Telegraph

Friday 22 August 2014

Lib Dems want deal 'clarification'

Liberal Democrats Chris Huhne (right) and Danny Alexander at the Cabinet Office as negotiations with the Conservatives continue
Shadow Foreign Secretary William Hague and Shadow Chancellor George Osborne after talks with Liberal Democrats
Tory negotiators are swamped by the media as they prepare for talks with the Liberal Democrats

Liberal Democrat MPs have called for "clarification" of a possible deal with the Tories, including on the key issue of electoral reform.

The party's MPs also called for further information about plans regarding education funding and fairer taxes.

Lib Dem frontbencher David Laws said the party believes it is vital that to have a stable and strong government which can tackle the economic problems, bring down the deficit and tackle political problems.

He added that very good progress had been made in talks with the Tories, and the Lib Dems were very pleased to hear about some proposals made by the Conservative Party in a wide variety of areas.

Mr Laws said the party seeks to ensure a government stable in the national interest so that it can deliver and meet the very difficult challenges in relation to political reform and to the economic situation.

He said: "And although we are very, very conscious of the need to make these decisions quickly - and that was a clear decision of the parliamentary party today - we also want to make sure that we get these matters right, and this discussion is dependent not only on the Liberal Democrat party but also on the proposals and discussions that are on-going with the Conservative Party and the representations that frankly are being made by the Labour Party."

Liberal Democrat energy spokesman Simon Hughes said he would be "surprised" if a deal was done by the end of Monday but added: "I'm sure there will be a government by the end of the week," he added.

A further meeting of the parliamentary party will be held later, front bench economics spokesman Jeremy Browne said.

Tory former Cabinet minister John Redwood urged Liberal Democrats to go the "extra mile" and get behind a "well-intentioned" Conservative government.

Of voting reform, he told BBC News the Lib Dems had to understand that a lot of Tory MPs "don't want that at all".

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