9 May 2010

More talks between Cameron and Clegg

10:02 pm on 9 May 2010

Britain's two main opposition parties are holding more talks on forming a new government following last week's inconclusive general election.

Senior Conservatives and Liberal Democrat negotiators will meet again on Sunday following a private 70 minute meeting on Saturday between Conservative leader David Cameron and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg.

The Conservative Party described their talks as "constructive and amicable".

In an e-mail message to supporters, Mr Cameron said he would not be "rushed into any agreement" but may be able to give "ground" in some areas.

Mr Cameron said areas of common ground included "the need for education reform, building a low-carbon economy, reforming our political system, decentralising power, protecting civil liberties and scrapping ID cards".

Calls for Gordon Brown to resign

Gordon Brown remains prime minister and has offered the Lib Dems talks if no deal is reached with the Conservatives.

But there are growing calls for Mr Brown to resign.

Several Labour MPs, including John Mann, say he should step down and allow the party to go into opposition with the prospect of another election within a year.

Mr Mann says the electorate, including very many Labour voters, do not want Gordon Brown to remain as prime minister.

He says any suggestion that Gordon Brown can stagger on as prime minister and labour leader isn't tenable or credible.

Clegg meets Cameron

The BBC reports the talks between Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg at Admiralty House in Westminster followed brief conversation at the VE Day commemoration event earlier in London.

Senior Liberal Democrat MPs have endorsed in full Mr Clegg's decision to talk to the Conservative Party first.

Thursday's general election resulted in the first hung parliament since 1974.

The Conservatives won the most seats in the election, but failed to secure an overall majority which would have allowed them to govern alone and remove Labour from power.

Mr Clegg considers the Conservatives, as the biggest party, have the right to seek to form a government first. Negotiators held their first meeting on Friday.

Clegg wary of hasty decision

The Conservatives want to finalise a power-sharing deal before the financial markets open on Monday, but Mr Clegg is wary of a hasty agreement that he cannot sell to party members who must give their approval.

The parties are not natural political partners, with the Liberal Democrats closer to Labour in many areas.

Mr Clegg told reporters on Saturday their big four priorities are:

"Firstly fair tax reform, secondly a new approach in education to provide the fair start that all children deserve in school, thirdly a new approach to the economy so we can build a new economy from the rubble of the old, and fourthly fundamental political reform to our political system."

The ABC reports electoral reform is likely to be the biggest sticking point.

The Liberal Democrats want to change Britain's first-past-the-post voting system to a system of proportional representation, which the Tories oppose.

On Friday, Conservative Party leader David Cameron proposed setting up an all-party inquiry into electoral reform.

Meanwhile, Labour Party leader Gordon Brown has offered the Liberal Democrats talks if they can't reach a deal with the Conservatives.

Poll result

The Tories secured 306 of the 649 constituencies contested on 6 May. However, 326 are needed for an outright majority.

Labour finished with 258 MPs, down 91, the Lib Dems 57, down five, and other parties 28.

The Conservatives won 36.1% of votes (up 3.8%), Labour 29.1% (down 6.2%) and the Lib Dems 23% (up 1%).