The die is cast. With only 305 seats, and needing 326, Cameron makes a bold gesture (audio here) to reshape the center-right:

David Cameron has made a "big, open and comprehensive offer" to the Liberal Democrats to help build a "strong and stable government". He said he would be open to looking at electoral reform and set up an all-party committee. He restated many Tory policies and said that there were areas where the two parties could find agreement, such as education and cutting taxes. He also highlighted areas of disagreement such as Afghganistan and Trident, immigration and the EU. He concluded saying: "I hope we can reach an agreement quickly." He said the urgent priority facing a new government was reducing the deficit.

Already some conservative resistance:

In entering coalition talks, Cameron tests his authority within party. Inquiry into electoral reform? The Spectator cannot support this.

Brown is hoping to stay in the game too - but this offer seizes the initiative in forming a government. But anything can happen:

The last time a general election produced a hung parliament, in 1974, the historian Peter Hennessy suggested that the way to proceed was determined during a stroll in the park by the three most discreet men in the realm – the Queen's private secretary, the Cabinet secretary and the private secretary at No 10.

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