The Tory leader is trying to patch together a government:
Stressing that Britain needed to urgently tackle its record deficit and reassure financial markets, Cameron said there were many areas of common ground with the Liberal Democrats and he saw the basis for a strong government.
Cameron, whose party won most parliamentary seats but fell short of an overall majority, cited reform of the electoral and tax systems as areas where negotiation was possible.
He also cited subjects on which the Conservatives would stick to their positions, notably a refusal to transfer any further powers from London to the European Union, and a commitment to maintaining Britain’s nuclear deterrent.
Toby Young’s take:
Clegg would be absolutely crazy to reject the offer Cameron has just made – or, more importantly, he’d look unreasonable and do no better in the the next general election than he did in this one . . . interestingly, the deal being done today is being done right out in the open. First Brown makes an offer on the steps of Downing Street, then Cameron makes an offer from outside Conservative Party HQ and, presumably, Nick Clegg will soon make a public statement in which he announces his list of demands, followed by more offers and counter-offers. Of course, it’s not the content of the offers that matters, but the fact that they’re being made in public. It’s more important that David Cameron sounds reasonable than he should be reasonable. Ditto for Gordon Brown and Nick Clegg. Clegg will have to side with whichever party leader sounds the most statesmanlike, not the one willing to make the most concessions. And, given that the Tories polled more than two million votes than Labour, that is going to be David Cameron.