Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

CAMERON GETTING READY TO GOVERN ALONE; PM TO FORM MINORITY GOVERNMENT IF TORIES FAIL TO WIN ELECTION MAJORITYCoalition Begins to 'Consciouslyuncouple' Ahead of Election Year

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

CAMERON GETTING READY TO GOVERN ALONE; PM TO FORM MINORITY GOVERNMENT IF TORIES FAIL TO WIN ELECTION MAJORITYCoalition Begins to 'Consciouslyuncouple' Ahead of Election Year

Article excerpt

Byline: EXCLUSIVE Nicholas Cecil Deputy Political Editor

DAVID CAMERON has privately signalled he is ready to form a minority government if the Conservatives fall short of a Commons majority in next year's election, the Standard has learned.

The Prime Minister is already thinking about going it alone rather than joining the Liberal Democrats in another coalition, according to a Downing Street source. Many rank-and-file Tory members and MPs would be overjoyed at him distancing their party from the Lib-Dems in a new government.

Governing alone would give the Conservatives far greater freedom in office. But Mr Cameron also recognises the difficulties of leading a minority government, which would inevitably face endless battles to get new laws through the Commons.

More than nine months before the general election, the Tories and Liberal Democrats were Continued on Page 6 Continued from Page 1 already "consciously uncoupling" today. The Lib-Dems called for a fundamental shake-up of the so-called "bedroom tax" in a dramatic withdrawal of support for a flagship Coalition welfare reform. Tories branded the move a "cynical PR stunt".

At the same time, plans drawn up by Conservative lawyers to limit the power of the European Court of Human Rights were reported as set to be announced within months as a pillar of the next Tory manifesto.

A key opponent of the move, Dominic Grieve, was axed as Attorney General in Mr Cameron's sweeping reshuffle.

Lib-Dem leader Nick Clegg claimed that after the removal of Mr Grieve and veteran MP Ken Clarke from the Cabinet, Tory "headbangers" had won in this battle over human rights laws. As the insults flew, the Prime Minister will be hoping that his rejuvenated Government will get his party over the line with a majority in 2015.

Polls still point to Ed Miliband striding through the door of No 10 next May.

But Labour MPs fear that their party's lead will evaporate before polling day, though they doubt the Conservatives will win enough seats for a majority.

Senior Tory backbencher Nick de Bois insisted his party can, adding: "The Coalition this term has served its pur-poses and set the economy back on track. …

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