Now the negotiations are underway, some focus has now fallen on the Lib Dem's "Triple Lock" mechanism for decision making. I was asked about this on LBC yesterday and did my best to explain how it works from what I know.
My understanding is that there needs to be agreement from 75% of all MPs and also 75% of all members of the Federal Executive. If that cannot be reached then a special conference is convened and 2/3rds of voting reps (who vote) have to agree. Failing that it then goes to a postal ballot of all party members where the threshold is 50%.
David Mellor pressed me on this and suggested it was a complex convoluted mechanism that could take many weeks. I agreed it could take some time but pointed out that I also understand that as long as the leadership thinks it will win the vote then it can go ahead and the decision can be ratified later. I also said that it was a good feeling to be in a party that was so democratic. Ken Livingstone chipped in at this point to mention that the Labour Party used to be democratic like this too. Indeed.
I think that this mechanism actually strengthens Nick Clegg's hand during the negotiations to insist on some sort of decent concession regarding proportional electoral reform and also other important Lib Dem issues. David Cameron, whilst having to take account of the feelings of his MPs and party has no directly accountable mechanism in place. Nick Clegg on the other hand can point out to Cameron that whatever is being discussed not only might be a "difficult sell" to his party but that it could actually be vetoed by them. Therefore he is able to drive a harder bargain precisely because he has the weight of the democratic will of his party directly behind him.
I am a voting rep and I know plenty of others who would be ready to vote against something that was not a proper concession on proportional electoral reform for example. I also think the majority of the membership at large would be on the same side.
Nick Clegg and his negotiating team will be very aware of this. So will David Cameron and his team. For this reason, I think the Triple Lock will ultimately be seen as a very good thing for imposing party democracy on the process.