David Cameron is "happy to talk" with other parties to ensure Britain gets a "strong and stable" Conservative-led government, a senior Tory said today.
Shadow Schools Secretary Michael Gove stressed it was for his leader to decide who he should talk to, but did not rule out talks with Nick Clegg's Liberal Democrats.
And as Britain headed for a hung Parliament, Lord Mandelson, one of Gordon Brown's key lieutenants, called for a "calm and responsible" approach to any possible coalition talks.
The peer said the electorate had voted for change but had not voted "decisively in favour of the Conservatives".
He told the BBC: "I think, before we start trying to rush around and trying to sort of negotiate or make deals, we just have to wait for the air to clear a little bit more, so that we see those results so that everyone knows where they stand and then approach this in a calm and responsible way, in any discussions that need to take place later on during the day or during the weekend."
Mr Gove said: "I stress it is for David Cameron to decide with whom we should work. We do not yet know the basis on which the new Parliament will be constructed entirely, we don't know the precise arithmetic."
But he added: "It is certainly the case that David Cameron is happy to talk to people in other parties in order to ensure that we can have a strong, stable, Conservative-led government to provide the country with the change it needs."