Chris Heaton-Harris and the Tories’ discipline problem

One of the increasingly notable (and in many ways remarkable) things about the coalition is the stark difference in the levels of party unity and discipline in the two parties. While Liberal Democrat MPs and members have committed – often selflessly – to the implementation of the coalition agreement, the same cannot be said of the increasingly fractious Conservative party. Old wounds over Europe have clearly not healed, and the salt of equal marriage and the prime minister’s commitment that this should be the greenest government ever are making many on the Conservative fringes increasingly uncomfortable.

The story of Chris Heaton-Harris is only the latest (though most bizarre) in a series of examples of this discomfort, and the loss of prime ministerial authority which it has accompanied, as Jonathan Calder notes:

The Conservative leadership has already announced that Chris Heaton-Harris will not face disciplinary action after apparently encouraging of James Delingpole to stand as an anti-wind-farm candidate in the Corby by-election.

Which is odd, particularly when you learn that Heaton-Harris is the agent for the Tory candidate Christine Emmett.

This failure to act looks like a reflection of David Cameron’s weakness as Conservative leader. He is now openly despised by the party’s right wing and dare not move against one of their favourite sons. The Guardian, incidentally, is also suggesting that the energy minister John Hayes may have had knowledge of the plan. Certainly, wind farms stands second only to Europe in the list of the Tory right’s obsessions.

The big question that remains unanswered, of course, is the effect of this loss of authority on the future of the coalition. It clearly played a big part in the government’s inability to reform the House of Lords, though the fallout from that looks to have been fairly neatly contained (for now). And it was evident once again over the issue of Europe – the most toxic of all for the Tories. But the ultimate consequence of the Tory party’s increasing ungovernability while acting as the largest party in a coalition government remains to be seen.

* Nick Thornsby is Thursday Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs here.

Read more by or more about , or .
This entry was posted in News.
Bookmark the web address for this page or use the short url http://ldv.org.uk/31536 for Twitter and emails.
Advert

One Comment

  • Elizabeth Grant 16th Nov '12 - 8:31am

    It is not surprising that the Tory Right has sought to strengthen its grip and frankly I don’t see why they shouldn’t leave and sign up to their ‘natural’ home in UKIP (ironic). Cameron needs to mobilise the moderates although it is useful for him to site need to unify the party on issues. Quite agree that Lords Reform has been a casualty of this. Going forward it does not aid Coalition politics and I see increasing instability ahead.

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

*
*
Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?

Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarBolano 18th Apr - 3:55pm
    @Philip Thomas 17th Apr '15 - 10:35pm "Yes, best would be no fees at all. Of course, we’d have to raise the money somewhere else,...
  • User AvatarCaron Lindsay 18th Apr - 3:51pm
    So, John, what do you suggest that we do? Completely change strategy 19 days out? That'll help.
  • User AvatarPeter Watson 18th Apr - 3:51pm
    @Pete Salmond "students used to be about idealism and seeing the bigger picture, now they seem to be about just voting on a single issue...
  • User AvatarTabman 18th Apr - 3:46pm
    John Tilley "There are only 19 days to go and then we have to rebuild the party after the folly of recent years." I'm looking...
  • User AvatarTabman 18th Apr - 3:39pm
    John Tilley "Why do you think it is that the opinion polls for the last four or five years indicate that Liberal Democrats are not...
  • User Avatartheakes 18th Apr - 3:33pm
    For the four seats identified add another 6, maybe even Orkney. We are a moment in political history a huge number of nationalist MPs akin...
Sat 25th Apr 2015