Tories, Liberal Democrats agree on deal outline (Third Lead)

May 10th, 2010 - 10:13 pm ICT by IANS  

Gordon Brown London, May 10 (IANS) The Tories and Liberal Democrats have agreed the “outline” of a deal to form a new government, the Sky News said Monday.
“The outline of a deal is there but the party hierarchies now have to go back to their MPs and put the deal to them,” Sky News’s Joey Jones said.

Earlier, negotiators from both parties said there had been “further progress” in talks.

On the steps outside the Cabinet Office, Tory leader David Cameron’s deputy William Hague said: “We have made further progress in our meeting with the Liberal Democrats this morning.”

“On our part, we will report back to David Cameron again and have meetings with parliamentary colleagues.”

“The negotiating teams are working really well together,” he said.

He was echoed by Liberal Democrats party leader Nick Clegg’s chief of staff Danny Alexander, who said: “We are working well together.”

“Good further progress has been made, and I am now going to go and report on that to Nick Clegg and my parliamentary colleagues.”

A senior Liberal Democrat figure told Sky News: “The time is ripe with risk and opportunity.”

Clegg and Cameron had a “positive and constructive” telephone conversation Monday morning, Sky News said.

It came as the Liberal Democrat leader said he wanted to reach a deal with the Tories “as soon as possible”.

Speaking as he left home, Clegg said: “We are working around the clock to try and act upon the decision of the British people in last Thursday’s election results.”

“I do not think a period of uncertainty is a good thing, I want to arrive at a decision as soon as possible.”

“But it must be the right decision,” he added.

In an attempt to calm jittery financial markets, Clegg and Cameron joined forces Sunday to put the economy and the reduction of Britain’s record 163-billion-pounds (about $244 billion) deficit at the heart of their negotiations.

Sunday night, the pair held their second face-to-face talks in the space of 24 hours, meeting behind closed doors in Parliament House.

It followed a marathon session, lasting more than six-and-half hours, between the Conservative and Lib Dem negotiating teams.

Cameron faces a potentially tricky meeting with his MPs Monday night at Westminster as he addresses them on the discussions.

Many remain deeply hostile to the idea of bed-sharing with the Liberal Democrats - particularly if it involves reforming the voting system as this would trim back Conservative dominance in future polls.

Cameron is meeting his shadow cabinet ahead of his MPs while Clegg is addressing his parliamentary party in the Parliament House.

But even as the two parties were edging closer to an agreement, it appeared that Gordon Brown had not given up hopes of retaining his grip on power.

Sky sources say the prime minister had a meeting with Clegg Monday morning, following a discussion with the Lib Dem leader at the Foreign Office Sunday night.

Both sides were playing down the significance of the talks, describing them as “amicable” but stressing that the two men were simply updating each other on the latest situation.

The focus remains firmly on the Tory-Lib Dem discussions, with neither side giving much away about what was being said.

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