Tag Archives: coalition agreement

What the academics say: How the Lib Dems won the Coalition Agreement

clegg cameron rose garden‘The UK Coalition Agreement of 2010: Who Won?’ is a fascinating paper written by Thomas Quinn, Judith Bara and John Bartle. It was published in May 2011, but I only stumbled across it yesterday. Here’s what it aimed to set out:

a content analysis of to determine which party gained (or lost) most. ‘Gained’ and ‘lost’ here both have very specific meanings since they are based on comparisons of party positions as set out in their respective manifestos with the position of the new government set out in the agreement. In global terms we find that the agreement is nearer to the Liberal Democrats’ left-right position than the Conservatives’.

This is graphically illustrated by measure the two parties’ positions along a right-left scale:

coalition agreement 2010

Posted in What do the academics say? | 32 Comments

Liberal Democrat MPs may be bound by the Coalition Agreement, but that shouldn’t stop us campaigning against judgemental Tory marriage tax break

Wedding ringsWay back in May 2010, I divided the Coalition Agreement into The Good, The Meh and the “Bring me the gin now.” What do you think the very first item on the “lock me in a cupboard with a bottle of gin when they vote on this list” was?

“We also agree that provision will be made for Liberal Democrat MPs to abstain on budget resolutions to introduce transferable tax allowances for married couples without prejudice to this coalition agreement.”

Ok, it’s tokenistic but the principle is so plain wrong that

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“Mr Sprawl” Miliband abandons localism – but will he deliver good housing?

Ravilous Labour New TownsSomething big needs saying about housing. I guess Ed Miliband thinks he has achieved it. Maybe, but when I read his speech it struck me as bluster and a recipe for chaos, peppered with some rather cute ideas.

We need new homes. We also need good planning. The success or failure of new towns, urban extensions and housing estates depends on location, fortune, ambition and leadership. But above all those towns that work are a triumph of planning.

For every housing scheme that has been an outstanding success, another has failed. For every booming new town like Milton Keynes or Welwyn Garden City, there is a Cumbernauld or Corby.

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Opinion: Why no UKIP Peers?

House of Lords chamberBy surrendering the principle of proportionality we surrender part of ourselves

The Coalition Agreement stated that “Lords appointments will be made with the objective of creating a second chamber that is reflective of the share of the vote secured by the political parties in the last general election”. It is therefore difficult to justify why UKIP, having secured over 3% of the vote at the last General Election and only currently having 3 of the over 500 Peers aligned to a political Party, has not been given the opportunity to have ennobled a cohort of Peers of its choosing. The same is true for other minor parties.

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Lord (Paul) Tyler writes: Political reform has been lost along the way by the Coalition

Houses of ParliamentI first spoke in a Queen’s Speech debate in March 1974. I recall being mystified by that vital penultimate sentence heard again in this year’s speech: “other measures will be laid before you”. It is these innocent, innocuous words which turn out to be quite important. And they give hope that there will be other vital measures excluded at present from the text of the Speech itself.

There are two commitments in the party manifestos and the Coalition Agreement that seem to have been lost along the …

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Reviewing the Mid-Term Review. It’s hit and miss. But the biggest miss are the wasted opportunities

coalition mid term review 2013I’ve had chance only to scan-read today’s Coalition Mid-Term Review (with its rather grudging, adjective-free title, Stuck Together in the national interest), but here are some initial impressions…

The economy takes centre-stage…

This may seem a statement of the obvious. And yet it’s worth comparing with the May 2010 document, Our programme for government (ahh, that Rose Garden-inspired ‘our’) in which subjects were sorted alphabetically so that you had to wait until chapter 9 to read about ‘deficit reduction’. Back in those days the …

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Nick Clegg on Tories’ Trident announcement: “Some people are jumping the gun”

Trident missile launchNick Clegg has made it clear that the Coalition Agreement on the Trident nuclear programme will not be changed, despite Philip Hammond’s announcement today on a multimillion-pound contract for a new generation of nuclear missile submarines.

Speaking at a press conference this morning, Nick Clegg said:

Some people are jumping the gun on this Trident decision. The Coalition Agreement is crystal clear. It stands. It will not be changed. It will not be undermined. It will not be

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What do we Lib Dems want from a reshuffle?

While the massed ranks of the mostly right-wing political commentariat obsess about the imminent Cabinet reshuffle, Lib Dem interest has been relatively muted.

In one sense this isn’t surprising.

As it stands, 18 of the party’s 57 MPs are on the government payroll, so Nick Clegg has little room for manouevre even among the middle ranks of government. And with only five cabinet positions (four if you exclude Nick himself as Deputy Prime Minister) there’s even less wiggle-room at the top table. Nonetheless, this reshuffle will most likely be …

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Lords Reform – reflection​s from Alaska in the rain

And so, what some, myself amongst them, feared as inevitable has come to pass, as serious Lords reform goes the same way as electoral reform, probably dead for a generation. Here, aboard the MV Columbia, shrouded in fog at the ferry terminal in Haines, it is hard, almost impossible, to tell what is ahead, a bit like the next few months of coalition. Better to look back, perhaps.

I’ve been something of a pessimist on the likely success of Lords reform from the early stages of the process. That could be because, whilst in retrospect the signs were always there, nobody much wanted to see them.

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More voters think the Tories have broken their Coalition Agreement promises than think the Lib Dems have

Nick Clegg’s announcement on Monday – that the Lib Dems would end the party’s support for the boundary changes pledged in the Coalition Agreement in response to David Cameron’s failure to persuade his party to back the Lords reform pledged in the Coalition Agreement – has triggered a collective how-very-dare-he whine from the right-wing commentariat. Unreliable, betrayal, treachery… and those are some of the kinder words being uttered.

So what does the public think of the Lib Dems’ and Conservatives’ role in the Coalition: how far do they think the parties have stuck to their respective sides of the deal? Well, …

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Opinion: What the Tory backbench rebellion means for parliament

Failing to get reform of the House of Lords through the Commons shows a parliamentary asymmetry. There are enough Tory backbenchers to defeat the government, but not enough Liberal Democrat backbenchers to do so. One party’s backbenchers have de facto veto power, but the other’s do not.

There are three responses to this constitutional oddity.

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Chris Rennard writes… Restoring balance to the Coalition

Nick Clegg’s statement dropping Lords Reform in this Parliament should come as no surprise following David Cameron’s failure to persuade barely half of his backbench MPs to support the Government’s Bill on this.

Two years ago, Conservative MPs were supporting a Queen’s Speech that made explicit the Coalition agreement to elect members of the House of Lords through Proportional Representation.

The Coalition Agreement is the contract that underwrites this government. In its name many Liberal Democrats have voted for compromises in legislation that we would not on our own have put forward.

So, the question is what to do when one side fails to honour its side of the contract?

You act swiftly and decisively, even ruthlessly, as Nick Clegg has done, to redress the balance. Hence, the boundary changes are no more.

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The Coalition Agreement does not commit Lib Dems to supporting boundary changes

Over the last couple of months, Conservative MPs and commentators have made great play of the fact that the Coalition Agreement does not explicitly commit the Tories to voting for House of Lords reform. Let’s remind ourselves of its words again:

We will establish a committee to bring forward proposals for a wholly or mainly elected upper chamber on the basis of proportional representation. The committee will come forward with a draft motion by December 2010. It is likely that this will advocate single long terms of office. It is also likely that there will be a grandfathering system for

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++ Clegg to announce Lords reform sunk; Tory rebels defeat Cameron; first breach of Coalition Agreement.

The Guardian reports tonight:

Nick Clegg is expected to announce next week he has been forced to abandon Lords reform in the face of implacable Conservative backbench opposition that David Cameron has been unable to overcome. … Clegg has to decide whether to respond to the Lords rebuff by insisting legislation designed to cut the number of MPs to 600 should be abandoned. The change is being promoted by Cameron as a way of cutting the cost of politics and equalising the electoral size of constituencies.

Lord Rennard, the Liberal Democrat peer and former party chief executive, denied the reverse on

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Would you be happy with a payout to put up with aircraft noise?

The role of the Liberal Democrats in ensuring that this Government does not agree to the expansion of Heathrow airport is emphasised by an article in yesterday’s Independent.

It says that a group of right wing Tories with links to the Chancellor are drawing up plans to offer compensation to local residents who would be affected by increased noise from a third runway at Heathrow.

The Coalition agreement has ruled out giving approval to a third runway during this parliament and the Conservatives opposed the move at the last election. But some senior party figures, including the Chancellor, George Osborne, are pressing

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Paul Tyler writes: A victory for democracy?

Doubtless some peers now believe that they can go off for the long summer recess, secure in the knowledge that the status quo in the House of Lords is preserved.  The thought of a shake-up is so uncomfortable for some inhabitants that they have resorted to calling the Coalition’s House of Lords Reform Bill ‘rushed’, despite its genesis in over a decade of cross-party discussion, and a hundred years of gestation.  Yet after subjecting the legislation to a painstaking Joint Committee, which met thirty times to take evidence from almost everyone who has ever thought about the subject, my bets …

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Opinion: Boundary changes are an opportunity to elect 50 MPs by PR

The current proposals for electoral boundary changes include the idea that the number of constituencies and MPs should be reduced from 650 to 600. My suggestion is this: let’s keep the overall number of MPs at 650, and let’s agree to reduce the number of constituency MPs to 600 on the condition that the other 50 (less than 10%) are elected from party lists on the basis of proportional representation.

In a democracy, all votes should be equal. Votes will never be equal in the UK until the country adopts the proportional representation (PR) voting system. Under the ‘first past the …

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Opinion: The Lib Dems’ moment of Reckoning

It has been widely remarked that House of Lords reform is not such a major issue and that it should not break the Coalition.

Maybe so.

However what is of fundamental importance is the Coalition Agreement. It was that that was broken last week by Tory MPs.

Up until then the Coalition Agreement had been considered sacrosanct. Lib Dem MPs had loyally voted for policies they didn’t agree with on the understanding the Tories would do likewise; this is how Coalitions work. However it is clear that a substantial number of Tory MPs do not want it to work, and there are more …

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The Politics of Coalition: How the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Government Works

Robert Hazell and Ben Yong’s work, The Politics of Coalition: How the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Government Works, is a very readable volume, written mostly in the style of an introductory politics textbook and based on extensive interviews with the participants, including at very senior levels.

The book is well done, readable, comprehensive and has a few gems lurking in the revelations from all the interviews, such as the limited involvement of Andrew Lansley and Paul Burstow in drafting the health section of the Coalition Agreement.

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Why the Lib Dems cannot end the Coalition. And what we should do to try and rescue it.

How do we revitalise the Coalition? I realise that for many Lib Dems that’s the very last question on your minds. After a week in which Tory rebel MPs forced the Government to delay a key plank of the Coalition Agreement — House of Lords reform — rather more Lib Dems, and not just the ‘usual suspects’, are turning to the question: how quickly can we be shot of the Tories?

After all, didn’t enough of our MPs walk the plank on the Coalition’s behalf on tuition fees, a policy directly counter to the Lib Dem manifesto? Meanwhile David Cameron cannot even persuade his party to back a reform that’s featured in the last three Tory manifestos. So what’s the purpose of the Coalition any more?

I get the emotional pull of the argument… but it doesn’t persuade me.

Coalition matters more to the Lib Dems than the Tories

The simple truth is that it’s more important for the Lib Dems to try and make this coalition work than it is for the Tories.

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Nick Clegg’s e-mail to party members on Lords reform

In the aftermath of last night’s vote (and non vote) in the Commons, Nick Clegg sent a remarkably temperate e-mail to party members. Calm though the language may have been, his message to David Cameron, that he needs to sort his MPs out, is clear. Here’s the e-mail in full:

This evening we overwhelmingly won an historic vote on the Second Reading of the House of Lords Reform Bill – a Bill that will finish something our party started a century ago.

This is a huge triumph for our party, and a clear mandate to deliver much needed reforms to the House

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Is 75% of the Coalition Agreement drawn from the Lib Dem manifesto? Alas, no…

One of the key justifications for Lib Dem involvement in the Coalition — one which has comforted many party members through the first two difficult years of being the junior partner in government with the Conservatives — has been the finding that 75% of the Lib Dem manifesto appeared in the Programme for Government (commonly known as the Coalition Agreement). This assessment was based on research by UCL’s Constitution Unit, and published a year ago in their interim report on ‘How Coalition Government Works’ (PDF).

However, UCL has …

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Lords reform: did we really expect any better of either the Tories or Labour?

All three main political parties fought the 2010 election promising the electorate that, if elected, they would reform the House of Lords. All three promised the same in 2005, too. And 2001. Yet in 2012 only one party is staying true to that promise: the Lib Dems. The Tories and Labour, in contrast, are happily indulging in party politics to block progress in advancing legislative democracy.

The Conservatives living up to their anti-reform name…

The Conservative Party has fought the last three elections promising to introduce a mainly/wholly elected second chamber to replace the current House of Patronage. They signed up …

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Nick Harvey MP writes… Updating you on Trident

Today’s announcement that design contracts for the Trident successor submarines have been signed is being portrayed as the Coalition Government moving a step closer to a full Trident replacement.

In reality the final decision for Trident replacement is still years away. Until 2016’s Main Gate decision, the ‘point of no return’ at which contracts are finalised and billions of pounds committed, there are still important questions to be asked about the future of the UK’s nuclear deterrent.

And if it wasn’t for Liberal Democrat influence in this Government, this simply would not be the case. It is because we are …

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When did the Tories stop supporting Lords reform?

From all the debate and angst within the Tory party over the issue of House of Lords reform you’d imagine the plan to inject an element of democracy into the UK parliament had been foisted on David Cameron by sneakily obsessive Liberal Democrats.

Yet the reality is somewhat different. The Coalition Government’s pledge to overhaul the revising chamber (after Labour’s successive, botched failures) built on Tory promises to the electorate over a decade or more — recognising perhaps that such reform is in fact in their own interests.

Here’s what the Tory manifesto said as far back as 2001:

In

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Is this the day the Coalition admitted reality and buried its claim to be a radical government?

One of the iconic images of the early days of the Coalition — in the midst of the summer haze of the leggeron rose garden bromance — was The Economist’s front cover depicting the Prime Minister as a punk, representing the Coalition’s self-appointed claim to be one of the most radical governments in history.

Economically (a cuts agenda intended to rebalance the economy between the private/public sectors), socially (from free schools to gay marriage) and politically (police commissioners to Lords reform) — this ‘liberal conservative government’ was supposed …

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The past month shows this Government urgently needs a Coalition 2.0 Agreement

We’re fast approaching the two-year mark of this first post-war Coalition Government, and I think it’s fair to say the strains are starting to show. It is inevitable there will be tensions when two parties — with different traditions, values, expectations — come together to try and govern a country at a time of economic torpor.

Until now, a lid has more or less been kept on the inter-party warfare, not least thanks to the determinedly tight-knit fastness of the dual leadership of Messrs Clegg and Cameron. But that lid is now starting to shake as the pressure builds within and between both parties.

Coalition: making friends of enemies, and enemies of friends

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Dear Conservative MPs, Re House of Lords reform here’s what your manifesto & the Coalition Agreement say

It’s almost enough to make you feel sorry for Conservative MPs — it appears some of them have only just read their own party’s manifesto and the Coalition Agreement they signed up to. That can be the only explanation for the sudden fit of vapours which have apparently afflicted three of their number over the issue of House of Lords reform.

So as a reminder to them, and as a service to their Tory colleagues, here’s a reminder of the Conservative Party’s promise to the people back in 2010 in its manifesto:

We will work to build a consensus for a

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Ed Davey MP writes … There will be no public subsidy for nuclear

Liberal Democrats were at pains in the negotiations for the coalition to insist that if nuclear power stations were to be built in the UK that there should be no public subsidy. This position was reiterated by Chris Huhne in a statement to the House of Commons on October 18th 2010 as reported in his article on Lib Dem Voice. So I would  like to allay Fiona Hall concerns expressed on Lib Dem Voice yesterday by clarifying that there has been absolutely no change in this position.

As Chris Huhne outlined in October 2010 this means that “there will …

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Fiona Hall MEP writes: Subsidies for nuclear energy go against Coalition agreement AND economic common sense

With the Government due to announce new measures to encourage investment in low carbon power generation as part of its Electricity Market Reform (EMR), it is time for Liberal Democrats to speak out against public subsidies for nuclear energy. Why? Because among the Government’s proposals is the so-called Feed-in Tariff with Contract for Difference (FiT CfD) which will offer a price guarantee and revenue certainty for investors in low-carbon electricity generation  – including nuclear.  Such a public subsidy to help build new nuclear power stations in the UK would go completely against the Coalition Government Agreement and prolong “the most expensive failure of post-war British policy-making” as

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    Richard Dean Perhaps, but you have clearly failed to raise any points of worth, answered any questions and seem to be happy to follow whatever...
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    I remember in 2003 (after IDS resigned) the consensus was that is Davis stood he would have won the Tory leadership. But he decided to...
  • User AvatarRichard Dean 31st Aug - 11:52pm
    This is now definitely the Thread of the Big Waste of Time.
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    Richard Dean A lot of times - why have you? Experience tells us there have been 57 deaths due to Islamic terrorism in the UK...
  • User AvatarRichard Dean 31st Aug - 11:06pm
    @stuart moran Experience is a good teacher. Have you actually ever done a risk assessment?
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    Richard Dean In the end our responses to any potential hazard have to be based on statistics - it is how all risk assessment is...