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Operation Save Dave is unlikely to succeed

March 1st, 2015

The Sunday Times reports (££)

George Osborne held a dinner with Conservative whips on Monday night to discuss tactics for the days after the vote on May 7.

Two senior MPs revealed that Tory high command is preparing to argue that Cameron has won a “moral victory” if he secures more votes than Ed Miliband — even if he has fewer seats.

In the event of a fragile Labour-led coalition taking power, they would argue that there could be a second general election within months and it would be better to stick with Cameron than hold a bloody leadership contest.

Ministers close to Downing Street say even if Cameron wins the most seats, he is drawing up plans to run a minority government rather than seek another coalition.

Senior figures believe he could keep his MPs onside because going it alone would free up 23 ministerial posts held by Liberal Democrats.

One minister close to Cameron said: “If there is an opportunity to govern without going into coalition, we would seize it.”

The fact such contingencies are being planned by Cameron’s closest supporters is not surprising given the current polling, however moral victories aren’t worth much. The position of many in and out of the party is that Dave’s leadership ends the moment he ceases to be Prime Minister, as the Conservative Party has a history of ruthlessness when dealing with its leaders, as Margaret Thatcher and IDS would attest.

The Sunday Times says at least one former cabinet minister will call for Cameron to quit when the polls close on the 7th of May if Dave fails to finish ahead of Labour.

But the most interesting part of the article is that Cameron is drawing up plans to govern as a minority rather than seek another coalition, you can currently get 9/2 on such an occurrence, which in light of reports yesterday that Nick Clegg is ready to rule out a new coalition with the Conservatives over its plan to hold a European Union referendum, might be a very plausible scenario.

The article also says Michael Gove has been telling the Conservative parliamentary party, that not one Conservative MP will lose their seat, one wonders if Mr Gove will be willing to bet on that, as I’m sure several PBers would be willing to offer him odds on that.

TSE