I don't know how much is mischief making and how much is real but the Conservative leadership needs to be very careful about suggestions of a more permanent arrangement with the Liberal Democrats at any election, let alone the next General Election. It is bad enough that this leadership appears to be allowing the media to believe that Conservatives are standing aside to give Liberal Democrats a fair wind in the forthcoming Oldham East and Saddleworth by-election.
So when Conservative MPs start speaking of some continuation - even a merger - I feel they are stepping beyond their remit. The comments of Francis Maude and Nick Boles do not sit easily with those of us who have spent years facing the nasty, spiteful, social democracy that typifies the Liberal Democrats in my neck of the wood. Mark Pritchard is right to call out those trying to destroy the party through an unwanted and unnecessary merger.
I am not a 'thatcherite' - whatever that means - but I do not believe the Party is served well by those who allow the expedience of successful government to get in the way of campaigning for the things we really believe in. If 'Orange Book' Liberal Democrats wish to join forces with us, that's great all they need to to is go here, complete the necessary forms and fight with us!