Friday, May 14, 2010

Undemocratic and illogical

Can you imagine the attack that Labour would have faced if it had tried to introduce this new rule to prevent dissolution of parliament without the support of 55% of the House?

This raises the spectre of a government losing a finance bill or other confidence motion or even being entirely unable to push legislation through the House, but being able to cling on to an illusion of government.

If it was applied to an MP or a councillor, they would be overjoyed at being secured against all but an overwhelming defeat. This is actually an abuse of the constitution for a shamelessly party political motive on the part of the Liberal Democrats, as they want to prevent the Tories from choosing the right moment to abandon the coalition, drop their mates and run to the polls.

It is wrong and should not be allowed to pass. There already seems to be a groundswell of opposition on the government back benches, so I'm going to put my faith in the Tory traditionalists actually doing the right thing and stopping this legislation before it gets going. I doubt Cameron wants it, which is why he's made sure that Clegg gets to front this up to the House when it reconvenes next week.


Stewart said...

It seems to me that this proposal came about because the Tories and Liberals don't trust each other! The Libs were worried that, 3 or 4 years down the line when all the nasty stuff had been done and Cameron was suddenly popular for some reason (cf 1983 and Thatcher - Falklands war in her case) he'd cut and run for a General Election and they'd be out on their ears without their full 30 pieces of silver - sorry, five years in "power". That's why the 5 year fixed term Parliament, to tie the Tories in.

In return the Tories wanted a mechanism to prevent the Libs chickening out part way through the 5 years that they (the Tories) have signed up to tolerating them for. The agreement already allows the Libs to sit on their hands for some of the nasty stuff they really can't stomach (eg married couples' tax allowance), leaving the Tories to put it through by themselves because they have a majority over the rest of the House of Commons (ie Labour, Nationalists etc). However if things got really hairy the Tories don't trust the Libs not to renege altogether (would you???) and vote against them in a confidence vote, in effect forcing an election at the time of the Liberals' choosing (as opposed to Cameron's choosing as prevented above).

Hence the 55% requirement alongside the fixed-term Parliament, to give a "double-lock" agreement that ties both sides in irrevocably.

And it is irrevocable because the Liberals, if they became disillusioned enough to want to bring down the Tories, would have to vote to repeal this legislation that they had put through just a couple of years previously, which would not be politically tenable (they’d be shown up as, at best, terribly naive). Therefore they will see the coalition through to the bitter end.

Lairg said...

Believe me Mr PH, there are a number of Tories who are both disgusted and appalled at this development.

We'd condemn it if Labour tried it so it is only right that the more honest amongst us are consistent when condemning the Leader of the Conservative Party for this anti-democratic outrage.

Michael Flynn said...

It seems to me that the Tories have instantly let power go to their head. You cannot change the definition of majority to 55%... what next? A repeal on gravity? Allowing things to be very unique?

It is an outrage and I hope to all that is good that it fails to go through.