How does the party’s policy-making work during coalition?

Here’s what the report to conference from the Federal Policy Committee (FPC) says on the matter:

The FPC has had a number of discussions on the implications for its role and the Party’s policy-making of our new status as a party of government. The FPC is very clear that the Party’s complete independence in policy-making shall continue. The Committee will be developing new ways of working both to ensure the maximum Liberal Democrat policy input into the Coalition Government, and also to continue to ensure a separate Liberal Democrat policy identity. In particular the FPC will developing a close working relationship with the new committees of MPs and peers established in the major policy areas.
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  • Robert Francis 14th Aug '10 - 3:40pm

    To be honest, there seems to be very little Lib Dem policies being implemented.

    The latest is Liam Foxes decision on Trident.

    I dont see the point of being in coalition when you have very little influence,

  • Robert francis – that’s simply not true! Go and read the coalition agreement. Just cos u want something to be the case doesn’t make it so!

  • Robert Francis 14th Aug '10 - 4:14pm

    We need to tell people what Lib Dem policies have been implemented. All i seem to see is stories about cuts, and at bleak future for the party. Although there is some good news in local council by-elections.

    The party has taken a big risk going into coalition with the Tories. It could take us back to the 50s when there were only a handfull of MPs. The future is very uncertain for the party.

  • Robert Francis 14th Aug '10 - 4:42pm

    Im not so sure about the Trident Review as Liam Fox seems to want to replace Trident.

  • Andrew Suffield 14th Aug '10 - 4:52pm

    Im not so sure about the Trident Review as Liam Fox seems to want to replace Trident.

    No party campaigned or intends to scrap Trident; everybody intends, and always intended, to replace Trident.

    The debate is about what we should replace it with. The Lib Dems have been arguing that the cold war system, designed to nuke Moscow, is obsolete and inappropriate, and should be replaced with something that is relevant to the world that exists today. It’s also been suggested that a suitable replacement is expected to be significantly cheaper, since Moscow was a very hard target.

  • Andrea Gill 14th Aug '10 - 4:58pm

    Whether Fox wants to replace Trident matters not so much as the fact that he can’t really afford to replace it like-for-like if it has to come out of the Defence budget.

  • Andrea Gill 14th Aug '10 - 5:16pm

    @Chris Mills – Indeed we were, but that doesn’t stop people from projecting their own ideas about what our party stood for in the elections over what our manifesto etc. *actually* said.

  • David Allen 14th Aug '10 - 8:12pm


    Nice long list of good policies – but most of them are things the Tories would be doing anyway, whether we were in coalition or not.

    If we’re looking for real proven concessions to the Lib Dems, I can’t see much other than the AV referendum and some partial nods in the direction of Lib Dem tax policies on personal allowances and CGT.

  • Very convoluted way of pointing out that the policy making process is now frankly irrelevant.

  • Did Pickles consult Nick Clegg (or indeed anyone else in the Parliamentary Party) before announcing his decision to abolish to Audit Commission?

    This is typical of Cameron’s Tory government. A headline grabbing policy with populist soundbites (power to GPs, sack bureaucrats, keep nasty councils away from schools, etc) is announced ex cathedra by a showboating minister, but the proposals, once published, are vague and nebulous and clearly not thought through.

    The Audit Commission performs an important statutory function which Pickles is not proposing to abolish, so someone else is going to have to do it. Presumably that will be one of the “big four” city accountancy practices, who have a habit of charging rather more than the Audit Commission. As I understand it, LAs are compelled to engage the Audit Commission as external auditors, so I imagine that any change in practice will require primary legislation. Maybe the work will be passed to the Peniel Pentecostal Church.

    Our ill-informed journalists told us that Pickles’ announcement came totally out of the blue. It didn’t. A few days after assuming office, Pickles scrapped the Comprehensive Area Assessment (one of the least useful things the Audit Commission did). The newshounds hadn’t picked this up.

    We are told that Pickles has acted in bad faith, in that he had a row with the Audit Commission Chairman and is seeking revenge. Is there any truth in this?

    Just weeks ago, Tony Greaves, on this very site, described Pickles as a “loose cannon” and wondered when he would do something crazy. He didn’t have long to wait.

    BTW, is Pickles related to the Pickles who cut off Bradford’s water supply?

  • patrick murray 15th Aug '10 - 1:11pm

    @chris mills

    missed out end of detention of children in asylum centres. didn’t get much press, but was a horrible labour policy. i’m glad thats stopped. credit where credit’s due and all that!

  • @ Sesenco

    “Our ill-informed journalists told us that Pickles’ announcement came totally out of the blue. It didn’t. A few days after assuming office, Pickles scrapped the Comprehensive Area Assessment (one of the least useful things the Audit Commission did). The newshounds hadn’t picked this up.”

    Interestingly, the commitment to scrap the Comprehensive Area Assessment appears on page 12 of the Blue and Orange Tories coalition agreement. But I have searched that agreement in vain for any commitment to abolish the Audit Commision. Coming after the abolition of Primary Care Trusts and the abolition of Building Schools for the Future, policies that were also not in the agreement, does this not prove that this document is not worth the paper it is written on and should no longer be regarded as a legitimate expression of the Blue and Orange Tories’ intentions? Perhaps that’s why our ill informed journalists aren’t referring to it any longer. They know it is fiction! The relationship between the BlueTories and the OrangeTories comes more and more to resemble that which exits between an oppressive, wifebeating male and his battered wife.

  • Today’s Guardian reports another departure from the Blue and Orange Tories Coalition agreement — this time it is the Environmental Performance Standard which will not be implemented. The commitment to this appears on page 16 of the agreement. It was intended to “prevent coal fired power stations being built unless they are equipped with sufficient carbon capture and storage to meet the emissions performance standard.” (Crown Copyright 2010) Call me cynical but this couldn’t have anything to do with the floor price for carbon being raised to a proposed price of £50 a tonne to pay for Huhne’s Nuclear Power stations that aren’t really power stations because they’re not subsidised, could it?

    Oh, and while we’re on the subject “We will introduce measures to protect wildlife and promote green spaces and wildlife corridors in order to halt the loss of habitats and restore biodiversity” (Crown Copyright 2010) How does that sit with withdrawing grants to British Waterways and selling off national nature reserves?

    All this is quite nauseating and makes me even more convinced that any Labour collaborators with the Blue and Orange Tories should be expelled from the Labour Party.

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