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In 22 Days in May, his account of the coalition negotiations, David Laws, the Lib Dem MP and former chief secretary to the Treasury, claims that the Lib Dems were well-prepared. Yet the truth is that whatever the contents of the coalition agreement, things were likely to go wrong. For a left-of-centre party to join a right-wing government is just asking for trouble.

Neither of the other two alternatives facing the Lib Dems in 2010 was particularly attractive. A coalition with Labour and a clutch of minority parties was mathematically fragile and unstable. Offering conditional support for, but not actually…

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