That Telegraph story: true or false (or somewhere inbetween)?

by Stephen Tall on May 19, 2008

At lunchtime, I posted my take on the Telegraph’s exclusive claiming the Lib Dems would be prepared to back – or, at any rate, not vote down – a minority Tory administration if David Cameron’s party is the biggest single group in a Hung Parliament.

Of the 40 comments so far posted in response, opinion seems divided between those, like me, who think this would be shrewd politics; and those who think it would be absolutely barking mad. I prefaced my LDV piece with a big caveat:

The first question we need to ask is, is the story true? I’ve not seen any furious rebuttals from the party yet, so we might reckon that there’s at least enough fact in it to be plausible.

Curiously, prominent Lib Dem blogger Paul Walter is reporting the following over at his Liberal Burblings:

A very reliable and informed source tells me that the parliament/Clegg/Tories Telegraph story referred to below was a planted piece of mischief making by the Tories rather than anything originating from Clegg & co. I note that the article contains no direct quotes and is mostly written on the basis of “The Daily Telegraph understands that…”.

All of which begs the question: what’s the truth? And how did this story get started? Perhaps it was simple “mischief making” by the Tories, yet the silence to date from the party – and they’re not all in Crewe and Nantwich today – suggests there’s more to this than simply the Torygraph living up to its nickname.