The Liberal Democrats have been spoiling to attack the Conservatives for some time. To be fair this could be said the other way but at least Conservative Ministers are not briefing their Conservative colleagues to oppose the 'wicked Liberals' on almost everything. The air will be most foul. The Liberals feel aggrieved for not getting Lords Reform, although there seems to be some agreement on flaws in the legislation in the first place. Also many Lib Dems are not happy with the welfare reforms the Conservatives want, this is the line I think they will use on the campaign in Eastleigh ‘vote for us or the wicked Tories will get in’. The Conservatives are equally not happy with the Liberals deciding the new boundary changes are not fair all of a sudden. Nor do they like the seemingly timid Conservatism that the coalition government is pursuing in most cases (although I would also point to DC on that one for some blame).
Both parties are obviously going to vent their furies on each other and it will be unrelenting. It will be even worse because the Conservatives will throw everything into this by-election. For some this is a test of not only recent benefit cuts and the EU referendum pledge but of David Cameron’s leadership. If Cameron loses here it will be a huge loss in confidence in the party and him, especially considering that Eastleigh used to be a Tory safe seat. I’d watch your back Mr Cameron.
Personally I think this is a nail in the coffin for the Coalition, regardless who wins. The fighting will be very tense and will continue on after the by-election. However, as Cameron keeps saying the coalition is united on economic policy. But again, looking how the Lib Dems are now starting to refuse to cut areas, particularly on benefits, I doubt this will last much longer either.