His statement said:
"In the interests of trying to create a stable, secure government, we will go the extra mile and we will offer the Liberal Democrats, in a coalition government, the holding of a referendum on the alternative vote system, so that the people of this country can decide the best electoral system."
It appears that before that statement the Tories may only have been seeking an 'confidence and supply' agreement, why else would Hague add the phrase in a coalition government after the word offer? If a coalition was already the default position surely this would have appeared in the phrase a stable, secure, coalition government at the top of the statement?
Then there is also the move from a conference on electoral reform to the Pauline conversion of the Damascus Road of offering a referendum on AV. Why is it that both of the two old parties are most fixated by AV*? The simple answer of course is that while it is electoral reform it is most like the current system and still offers them some hope of forming a majority government on less that 40% of the popular vote.
Both Labour and the Conservatives wish they were still in a two party system are are delusional about conceding any ground the multitude of other parties that have fought hard to make small inroads under FPTP. They still are thinking it is their right to govern are are willing to concede the littlest option but not the fairest.
So was it really an extra mile or merely a jump of panic?
* To be fair the latest wooing from Labour is a referendum later on STV after whipping through AV.