David Cameron should make Nick Clegg end the Coalition, say Tory MPs

Nick Clegg and David CameronThat is the headline over at Huffington Post, and it certainly makes for fascinating reading. How about this:

Tory MP John Redwood said Cameron should deliberately antagonise his Liberal Democrat partners into leaving, and warned the prime minister that terminating the coalition early may not be ‘”wise” as he had “given his word” and “it’ll not look good if the leader of the main party was to end the coalition”.

“What should happen now is the Conservative majority in the government should start to press very strongly for two or three distinctively conservative policies, and if the Liberals really don’t like it, they could push to leave on the grounds that they wish to impede [the plans] from the benches of opposition,” he said.

Giles Goodall gives this riposte:

Redwood’s views are echoed by Graham Brady, the Chair of the 1922 Committee (which represents Conservative backbenchers). He calls for a “conscious uncoupling” of the two parties ahead of the General Election. He told Conservative activists:

Both parties will need some space, some independence, so they can present their separate visions to the British people well before the next election.

* Mary Reid is a contributing editor on Lib Dem Voice. She was a councillor in Kingston upon Thames, where she is still very active with the local party, and is the Hon President of Kingston Lib Dems.

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  • Matthew Huntbach 24th Jun '14 - 11:17am

    Although we get a lot of attacks in this site accusing the Liberal Democrats of having “rolled over and given in to the Tories” or similar words, this is a reminder that the Conservatives, particularly those on the right of the party, don’t see it that way.

  • Or alternatively we could just say no to the policies concerned and carry on as before, as we did with constituency boundary changes, inheritance tax cuts, trident renewal, profit-making schools, cuts to under-25 benefits etc.

    Further proof that the Tory right still don’t get the idea of a coalition, even after four years. As if we are going to pull out of the Coalition at this stage just to please them.

  • This is where the coalition agreement comes in handy. It has set important limits to what the Tories can push forward, without Lib Dem support.

    More likely is that there will be more unworkable, headline grabbing, illiberal proposals such as the compulsory knife crime sentencing and attacks on recipients of welfare benefits.

  • Lib Dems shouldn’t even take Tory opinion into consideration when deciding whether or when to terminate the coalition. The question should be when it is in the best political interest of the Party to leave. (I’d say “when it’s in the best interest of the people,” but I’m afraid that ship has sailed.)

  • matt (Bristol) 24th Jun '14 - 1:23pm

    I wouldn’t take Redwood as the inside track on Cameroon thinking.
    But it shows the pressures a possible LD coalition in 2015 would place on Cameron within his own party.

  • Peter Watson 24th Jun '14 - 1:26pm

    @RC ” we could just say no to … profit-making schools”
    Is this a Tory idea that we’ve blocked?
    From http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2014/06/tristram-hunt-calls-tories-bluff-profit-making-free-schools

    They [Team Gove] also noted that, contrary to Clegg’s protestations, it was Lib Dems – Julian Astle, Richard Reeves, Jeremy Browne – who were cheerleading for profit-making schools. An Education Department source told me: “If Labour want to campaign against profit in schools, they should direct their fire at the Liberal Democrats, not us.”

    And as for Trident, we’ve hardly said “no”. More like “later, but in the meantime spend a few hundred million pounds on designing the replacement”.

  • John Tracey 24th Jun '14 - 1:34pm

    Graham Brady wants a “conscious uncoupling”. Who does he think he is, Gwyneth Paltrow?!

  • Paul in Wokingham 24th Jun '14 - 1:44pm

    Conscious uncoupling? So which party is Colin Firth and which party is Paddington Bear?

  • So Tristram Hunt (Labour), quoting people surrounding Michael Gove (Tory) have dug up some hearsay about what two former advisors and one MP already known to be on the far right of the party said about profit-making schools and this is supposed to be some kind of “smoking gun”?

    The fact is that it did not go ahead. Do you really think it was the Tories who would have blocked this idea while the Lib Dems were urging it on? Really?

    Or do you not think that this is just more machination and mud-slinging from our political opponents which some people on this site have taken as gospel truth?

  • As for Trident, we did what we said we would, which is delay go-ahead.

    What is it about people posting on this site that they seek to deny or downplay any impact of the Lib Dems on government.

    You’d almost think they weren’t party supporters or something.


  • The Conservative Party are mendacious. They went into the coalition because they had to. A second round of elections in 2010 would have seen their vote drop rather than rise. The Tory Right think this is because Cameron is a closet liberal. They now know that they still can’t get an overall majority and blame this on being too liberal. They are eying the UKIp vote and preparing to turn vicious. They want the Lib Dems to end the coalition so they can scream traitor to their pet press. They are banking on the Lib Dems to take the fall and to be too tied to the Coalition to cause any damage.
    My view is give them what they want but not how the want it. Force an argument over IDS and Gove’s obvious incompetence and excessive spending etc.. Let the likes of Rees Mogg , Redwood and Gove do the rest, Coz these guys might be big in their Party but are seen as bigger weirdos by the general public than Miliband. The Tories have sidelined their good ministers like Davis and May. So are vulnerable. Cameron is their main electoral asset and they don’t like him either.

  • Charles Rothwell 24th Jun '14 - 2:51pm

    The Tories were not known for much of their history as the “Stupid Party” for nothing and did much to merit the title. There is still a very strong feeling in their Thatcherite backwoods (around characters like Redwood and Liam Fox) that softie Cameron with his green logo, gay rights and huskies somehow ‘cost’ them outright victory in the 2010 GE and that all they need to do is try yet again (as under Hague and Howard) to move sharply to the right and the voters will come flocking to them (or back to them from the Kippers). I, in contrast, think that a totally unbridled Tory party would be just as toxic as under Major, IDS or any of them up to Cameron and that if they did try such a lurch to the right (and lost), they would split open like a ripe peach with some (finally) heading off to join the Kippers (where their hearts really belong) and the Bow Group/One Nation ones perhaps heading in another direction entirely? Whatever the future holds, however, the two lessons are, as David-1 says, to keep attention totally focused on what is purely in LD party political interests when it becomes time to break the coalition and, secondly, to watch the Tories like a hawk and, in particular, prevent them ripping off LD achievements as their own (cf. Mark Hoban on today’s “Daily Politics” trying to reel off the increased Personal Allowance and the Pupil Premium as “government” (read Tory) achievements (some hope!) (as well as the usual blaming the financial crisis on Labour alone and not for a moment indicating it had the slightest to do with massive financial institutions just totally our of control selling junk derivatives in a market built increasingly on hot air).

  • Stephen Campbell 24th Jun '14 - 5:09pm

    @RC: “You’d almost think they weren’t party supporters or something.”

    Well, many of us posting here WERE party supporters. But that was before you failed utterly to stop the most right-wing excesses of the Tories. Now we’re angry ex-Liberal Democrat voters who feel betrayed and taken for fools. I voted Liberal Democrat, proudly may I add, from 2001-2010. I was even a supporter of the coalition at first. But then you lot pretty much caved in to everything the Tories wanted. Even many Tories were more rebellious against their own party than most of the Liberal Democrats in Parliament have been. Most right-wing Tory legislation in this Parliament would still have passed even if the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary party abstained or voted against. So, yes, a lot of us who post here are no longer supporters. How can we be after you broke your pledge on tuition fees, after promising us no top-down reorganisations of the NHS and then doing the opposite? After what your party has done to the disabled? Not to mention the horribly enacted Bedroom Tax, tax cuts for the rich and sanctions for the poor, the constant attack on public servants and the most vulnerable people in society. But please go on and tell the electorate again how they’re simply not listening, are nothing more than “Labour Trolls”, or don’t understand. After all, that’s what ex-LD voters such as myself have been patronisingly told for 4 years now. It’s apparently my (and your lost voters’) fault for all the things your party has voted for in the Commons. It’s our fault for believing in you and actually letting you give us hope. Yes, the only viable government after 2010 was indeed coalition. But the way your party has handled it has been amateurish or incompetent at best and, at worst, willfully negligent of your purported values and what your voters thought they were voting for.

    But by all means continue talking down to the very people who once supported your party and now feel angry and let down. I mean, that’s just an absolutely brilliant electoral strategy, isn’t it? Look how well you’re doing in the polls now with that kind of tactic! I’m now a member of the Greens and proud to say I actually feel valued and listened to there, not to mention we’re far more democratic than the modern Liberal Democrat party. There’s a reason the Greens are often polling higher than your party now. Actually there are many reasons!

    P.S. Please keep Clegg as leader. He is electoral gold to any party who opposes you.

  • Richard Boyd 25th Jun '14 - 9:20am

    Avoiding the spite that devalues serious discussion about where we are, and why, I recall that between 1993-1997 many County Councils ( yes, that level of government with populations almost as large as Northern Ireland) were coalitions. Lib Lab and Lib Con. They accumulated a wealth of experience in partnership working, and how to deal with professional managers who had never worked for anyone else, than ( usually) the Tories, and Lib groups that were inexperienced. Team building with the own group was vital to being able to deal with enemies on both sides, and a media/chattering class that was bedded on 2 party confrontational politics. All that seems to have been forgotten, or worse, ignored.

  • Given the way that Cameron is blundering around trying to placate his right wing, it is vitally important that we stay in coalition right up to the dissolution next year, to prevent him doing even more damage to Britain and its interests.

  • Matthew Huntbach 26th Jun '14 - 10:49am

    Ian Hurdley

    Given the way that Cameron is blundering around trying to placate his right wing, it is vitally important that we stay in coalition right up to the dissolution next year, to prevent him doing even more damage to Britain and its interests.

    Nonsense, it is quite the other way round.

    Now we are less than a year to the general election, we need the Tories to be set free to show us just what they would do without the constraints of the coalition. What a marvellous tonic that would be for the Liberal Democrats, how much it would demonstrate that the main reason the present government looks like the Liberal Democrats have rolled over and become Tories is that the Conservative Party has moved so much further to the right that a compromise between where it is now and the Liberal Democrats looks like the old more moderate Conservative Party of the past.

  • Richard Underhill 29th Dec '18 - 8:24am

    John Redwood has been given a knighthood in the New Year honours. What will John Major say about the prominent “bastard”? If the honour is being devalued will he return his own honour and sing the praise of the Beatles? Perhaps it is time for Sir John to accept a life peerage? Are the Tory establishment hinting that John Redwood MP should retire at the next general election and make way for someone younger?

  • Ian Hurdley 29th Dec '18 - 8:33am

    @ Richard Underhill. Loyalty which is bought has a short shelf life, as the DUP has already demonstrated.

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