Nervous Lib Dem Ministers are pushing for a truce with the Tories to keep embarrassing Cabinet discussions secret, The Sun can reveal.They fear their crusades for tax hikes and softer immigration curbs could be used against them at the next General Election.
It comes as Coalition tensions deepen with David Cameron campaigning today in Eastleigh — even though PMs traditionally snub by-elections.
His trip to the Hampshire seat — vacated when disgraced Lib Dem ex-Energy Secretary Chris Huhne quit — shows how much the February 28 showdown matters to the Tories and his leadership.
Both parties hope to win the poll, which they see as a crucial dress rehearsal for the 2015 General Election. A key Tory goal then is to take 20 seats from Lib Dem chief Nick Clegg’s party in the South and West of England.
A Lib Dem Minister told The Sun yesterday: “It makes a lot of sense for us and the Tories to agree over what we throw at each other in 2015. A lot is discussed when formulating policy and not all of that looks great with hindsight in the public domain.
“We could both lose out if the election campaign descends into the publication of lots of private emails.”
In a sign of the bitterness surrounding the Eastleigh contest, Mr Cameron yesterday used Prime Minister’s Questions to attack his Coalition partners.
After a Tory MP accused Eastleigh Lib Dem hopeful Mike Thorn-ton of hypocrisy over planning, the PM launched a withering dig at Huhne who lied over his speeding points case.
Contrasting him with the Tory candidate, he rapped: “I would say to people in Eastleigh, if you want a straight-talking candidate who does exactly what it says on the tin — Maria Hutchings is a local mum, a fantastic campaigner and she would make a great MP.”
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