As fired off on request from the Evening Standard for today’s edition (subject to spiking):
Nick Clegg should immediately freeze co-operation on the boundary review which the Conservatives know will increase their parliamentary strength. He should set up a team, including old hands such as Charles Kennedy and Sir Menzies Campbell (with memories of the Maastricht parliamentary struggle) to reach out to reform-minded MPs in the Labour and Conservative parties and manage the parliamentary guerilla tactics needed to get this legislation through. There also needs to be much better “selling” of the measures to the public.
By giving in to the rebels, David Cameron now, metaphorically, has a “Please kick me” sign stuck on his back as far as his backbenchers are concerned. I have given up hoping for him to show strong leadership. I think he needs to remind himself and his colleagues of the Fixed Term Parliament Act. If the Lib Dems withdraw their support from the coalition and Cameron loses a vote of confidence, Ed Miliband could form a replacement government without an election. Perhaps some Tory minds should focus on that.