EVEN as David Cameron was driven to Buckingham Palace to meet the Queen yesterday, tensions began to emerge in the fragile alliance the Tories have struck with the Lib Dems.
Conservative grandees are furious at the olive branch of electoral reform being offered to the Liberal Democrats. Sir Peter Tapsell, a senior figure, has warned Cameron a shift from first-past-the-post to an alternative vote system will spell “the end of the Conservative party”.
Lord Tebbit and Graham Brady, an influential backbencher, have led calls for Cameron to run a minority government. The Thatcherite pressure group Conservative Way Forward has also made angry noises at the prospect of a Liberal tie-up, adding: “The last few days have demonstrated the chaos that would ensue after each general election if we adopted a PR [proportional representation] system.”
Last night the leading centre-left think tank, the Fabian Society, argued that the formation of a Lib-Con coalition government could fundamentally change the electoral dynamic in seats round the UK, and has identified 18 marginal Liberal seats as easy targets for Labour at a future election.
It said Liberal Democrat support could be irretrievably damaged by the party joining forces with the Tories.