David Cameron has been warned to expect a leadership challenge if he tries to force the Conservative Party into another coalition.
A close ally of the Prime Minister said the party would ‘come for him’ if he fails to win a majority at the 2015 general election.Mr Cameron is said to be prepared to offer Tory MPs a vote on any future coalition deal with the Liberal Democrats to bind them into a decision to go for a new pact, just as Nick Clegg did with his MPs in 2010.But Conservative MPs yesterday said that the party ‘will not swallow another coalition’ and demanded that party members, as well as MPs, are given power of veto.
They privately warned that Mr Cameron’s critics could seek to oust him if he tries to team up with Mr Clegg again. One of the Prime Minister’s closest advisers told the Mail: ‘They won’t move against David before the election but if he doesn’t win a majority they will come for him.‘Some people are champing at the bit for a leadership contest. Our job is to make sure that there isn’t one.’ Some 25 MPs are thought to have pledged loyalty to prospective leadership candidate Adam Afriyie, who has said the Tories should never go into a coalition. He is holding a rebel summit next month.
Up to 100 MPs are said to be defiantly opposed to any further coalition – numbers that could entice better-known rivals, such as Boris Johnson, into a leadership challenge.One MP said: ‘If Cameron pushes for another deal with Clegg, it will be a gift for Boris.’Another claimed that planning for a coalition was a ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’.And with MPs queuing up to air their concerns, Peter Bone said: ‘If we don’t win an outright majority we should govern as a minority government.’He called for plans to give party members veto powers over the formation of a coalition to be discussed at the Tory conference next month.
Graham Brady, chairman of the backbench 1922 Committee, agreed.He said: ‘I think it’s essential. If there were to be another hung parliament where coalition was a possible outcome, then I think it’s important that all of the parties that might be a part of that have a proper full discussion and participate in the decision-making process.’Former Tory donor Lord Ashcroft tweeted: ‘Any proposal for a second coalition should be put to all party members.’
MP Douglas Carswell said the current coalition was presented as a ‘fait accompli’. He added: ‘I think the coalition agreement we have at the moment sold us short.’Philip Hollobone MP said: ‘I do not think anyone wants a coalition, apart from the LibDems because they will not get into government any other way.’A Tory party spokesman said: ‘We are working for a majority Conservative government. – DailyMail