County MPs divided over new 'coalition talks'
MPS in Gloucestershire face a political challenge in the next 18 months.
At the moment, all our MPs are colleagues in the Coalition Government, mainly on the backbenches.
But come the General Election, scheduled for May 2015, they’ll be campaigning hard against their allies,
And the main battles in Cheltenham, Tewkesbury and Cotswold will most likely be between Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.
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Reports emerged during the weekend about new talks between Tory Prime Minister David Cameron, and his Liberal Democrat deputy Nick Clegg about a possible new coalition.
And Gloucestershire MPs had differing reactions.
Martin Horwood said he was sceptical that any talks were actually being held.
He said: “I think this is just gossip. There’s been no talk of negotiations and I think talking about a coalition now at this point would be premature. We are separate parties and we always have been and we will fight the coming election as hard as ever.”
But should no party gain a majority, Mr Horwood thinks a coalition, between any parties, is entirely possible.
He said: “It’s the electorate which will decide. I think whichever ends up as the largest party has the right to try to form a government.
“If they can’t have a majority and are willing to accept a reasonable number of Lib Dems, it’ll be an open process as it was last time.
“Nick Clegg has been very clear that we think coalition is a perfectly decent form of government.”
The Conservative MP for Cotswold, Geoffrey Clifton-Brown is clear that he doesn’t want coalition, but admits he has seen the benefits of parties working together.
He said: “I would want to see an outright Conservative victory, I would prefer not to have a coalition. But after a bit of suspicion at the start it has settled down and it has worked. I think with the terrible state of the economy we inherited, it was actually easier for two parties working together to get things done than one party working alone against two in opposition.
“So it’s been easier for us to sort out the economy. In that case coalition was actually a good thing.”
Mr Clifton-Brown’s party colleague and Parliamentary neighbour Laurence Robertson, Conservative MP for Tewkesbury is also keen not to see a coalition government. He said: “You don’t go into a cup final to get a draw, you go in to win. Come election time, we’ll draw up our policies and go our separate ways, and I’m sure we’ll find a way to fight as hard as possible.”