Paddick: Tories are playing a dangerous, divisive game over English votes for English laws

I still feel aggrieved that in the immediate aftermath of a bruising referendum campaign, our Prime Minister, rather than say something comforting and unifying, came out and picked a fight with Labour over English votes for English laws. Today, the Tories are highlighting their plans to resolve the constitutional conundrum. From the BBC:

Under the Conservatives’ proposals, the line-by-line scrutiny of new bills would be reserved for MPs from the nations affected by the legislation. A new grand committee of all English MPs – or English and Welsh MPs where appropriate – would also have to approve any legislation relating only to England.

Mr Cameron will promise firm proposals within 100 days of forming a government, which would be “fully implemented” by the time of the Budget in March of the following year.

Speaking on Question Time, Scotland’s Finance Minister John Swinney said the proposals ignored the fact that elements of income tax policy that will still apply to the UK as a whole would remain reserved to the Westminster government.

Labour says the issue should be considered along with other potential changes by a constitutional convention after the election.

The Liberal Democrats favour a grand committee of English MPs, with the right to veto legislation applying only to England, with its members based on the share of the vote.

The Liberal Democrat approach is a much more sensible, consensual approach, with a proportionally constituted English MPs’ Grand Committee deciding on English only matters as part of a wider constitutional settlement.

Brian Paddick has responded to the Conservative plans this morning:

This is Punch-and-Judy politics dressed up as patriotism from a Tory campaign stuck on repeat.

Instead of saying how they fund our NHS or why they want to slash education, they are playing a dangerous game of ‘them Vs us’ to win votes.

If they are serious about devolution they would follow Liberal Democrat plans to give real power to real communities to free themselves from the grasp of Whitehall.

The Tories are simply paying lip-service to devolution – their real plan is carve up the UK, scare the electorate and gerrymander votes.”

 

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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61 Comments

  • Eddie Sammon 24th Apr '15 - 9:29am

    I support an English parliament. How can anyone argue against that? England is too big? I bet the voters would like it. Size brings strength and security.

    Regards

  • I agree with Brian Paddick –

    “This is Punch-and-Judy politics dressed up as patriotism from a Tory campaign stuck on repeat.
    ….they are playing a dangerous game of ‘them Vs us’ to win votes.

    The Tories are simply paying lip-service to devolution – their real plan is carve up the UK, scare the electorate and gerrymander votes.”

    I also agree with that young man with the Uke who sang to David Cameron on one of those very rare occasions when he walked down a real street with real people rather than perform in a studio, with soft focus, lots of TV make-up, the camera only looking at him from his “good side”, giving carefully scripted, earnest statements unchallenged by anyone.

    What were words of that ukulele song? Was it “Frack Off back to Eton”?

  • Eddie Sammon 24th Apr '15 - 9:54am

    Hmm, actually, I suppose the grand committee might be cheaper, but I don’t really trust Westminster MPs to stand up for England. Too many seem more concerned with preserving the union.

    I know I am saying the exact same as many Scottish nationalists, but I am not supporting English independence.

    Regards

  • <>

    (That was a dog whistle)

  • All this constitutional stuff is merely a ploy to keep the news where the Tories want it – On their SNP scare story, which they think will steal the elction from Labour.

    Here is what Ed Miliband ought to be saying about it:

    “Nicola, if you hold the balance of power, then you will have one big chance to influence events, and one only. You can choose between supporting the Labour programme, or supporting the Tory programme. We will welcome it if you choose to support Labour. But we will not negotiate with you on anything at all. We will not deal with a party that wants to break up the UK. If you refuse to support us, you will have to support the Tories. That is your choice. That is the influence you have. You will have no further influence with Labour. If you choose us, but later threaten to switch sides, we will make no deals with you. If you switch sides and put the Tories in, you will have to account to your voters for that.”

    This would throw the ball back where the Tories don’t want it – Into their court.

    Ironically, unlike Labour, the Tories have NOT promised not to touch the SNP with a bargepole. On the contrary, they have a track record of making “big, open, generous” offers to small parties in order to buy them up, give them jobs, and neuter them.

    That’s what the Tories want to hide. Expect to see some sort of bogus deal between the Tories and SNP, straight after the Tories have beaten Labour on the basis of a scare story that is 180 degrees away from reality. Remember the Zinoviev letter? You ain’t seen nuthin yet.

    I’ll bet that Lynton would like to go down in history as a bigger Conservative man than the writer of the Zinoviev letter.

  • @David Allen “Here is what Ed Miliband ought to be saying about it:

    “Nicola, if you hold the balance of power, then you will have one big chance to influence events, and one only. You can choose between supporting the Labour programme, or supporting the Tory programme. We will welcome it if you choose to support Labour. But we will not negotiate with you on anything at all. We will not deal with a party that wants to break up the UK. If you refuse to support us, you will have to support the Tories. That is your choice. That is the influence you have. You will have no further influence with Labour. If you choose us, but later threaten to switch sides, we will make no deals with you. If you switch sides and put the Tories in, you will have to account to your voters for that.””

    To which Nicola would say:

    “Ed, the voters of the United Kingdom have not given you a clear mandate; they have chosen that in order for you to govern you must compromise, and that means negotiation. By refusing to negotiate with us, you are ignoring the will of the people. We have plenty in common with you, and we have nothing in common with the Tories. It is incumbent on you, for the stability of the country, and for the millions who are relying on a progressive alliance to defeat the Tories, to join together in common cause by identifying and agreeing upon the issues we have in common and working together to come up with a joint programme.

    If you fail to take this opportunity then not only will the voters of Scotland have rejected you, but the only option will then be for the voters of England to reject you too. For that is your choice, and one that you have brought about by failing to compromise.”

  • TCO,

    Yes, Nicola could say that. If she said it before the election, Ed should say, “Sorry, but no dice. Look we are promising that we will not sell out to you and break up the UK. You have just given us another chance to say it again. That’s great, it’s the meesage we want the public to understand and it’s a true message.”

    After the election he should say the same again.

  • @David Allen

    But that’s not Nicola’s message.

    Nicola’s message is “we will out-Labour Labour; we want to spend more money, we want to scrap Trident, we want to end austerity – so do many if not most Labour voters but Ed is too weak to promise it. We will ensure he delivers on that.”

    It’s a message that’s doing very well for her. Win-win-win. Win 1 – she gets SNP MPs at Westminster and positions well in Scotland; Win 2 – Labour go leftwards if she’s involved; Win-3 if Ed says “no dice” she won’t support the Tories and if they get in she can blame Ed and enhance her own position in Scotland.

  • David Allen 24th Apr '15 - 1:56pm

    TCO, Yes Nicola is saying that (and she’s being duplicitous, her programme is actually very similar to Labour’s and the claim to wanting to spend more money is false. If voters want that they should vote Green!).

    But it’s your “Win-3” which I don’t think makes sense. If Nicola refuses to support either the Tories or Labour, then there will be stalemate and chaos, will will make the SNP look very silly and irresponsible. The stalemate will then be broken either when Nicola caves in and accepts Labour’s programme as per their manifesto, or when Ed and Dave cave in by forming a Grand Coalition.

  • @David Allen

    “But Ed, we want to negotiate a long lasting stable deal with you and you refuse outright. This is not our doing, you’re behaving completely unreasonably and we suspect it’s pique because we’ve relieved you of so many MPs. In that case, as we’ve made it clear that we’ll never deal with the Tories, we will do our best to judge each bill that you put to the HoC on its merits and in partnership with other progressive parties. So the ball is in your court Ed, accept our hand of friendship, or go back to the electorate who will know you’ve refused to deal with a perfectly reasonable party. Your choice.”

  • Tony Greaves 24th Apr '15 - 3:07pm

    It is all complete nonsense and a recipe for a shambles – large complex Bills simply do not divide up into Us and Them in this way. We should just resist it as part of the Tories’ campaign to get narrow jingoistic votes (and their ever unless secret hope that Scotland will go and leave England to a supposed permanent Tory majority).

    Tony

  • It’s total nonsense, and we should call it for what it is – no talk of Grand Committees or proportionality. This is just Tories panicking that they are about to lose power, and trying to hold onto something as a consolation prize.

    I’m with Eddie Sammon in supporting an English Parliament, as a late convert to the idea.

    But we should just be telling the Tories to get lost. If power is reserved to Westminster, then it is for the House as a whole to pass judgement. If the Tories don’t like it, then they can get serious about moving power out of Westminster. MPs have no more English status and additional voting rights than they do different rights being male or female, disabled, ethnic minority, working class etc. We shouldn’t be entertaining them for a minute with talk of Grand Committees.

  • David Allen 24th Apr '15 - 4:20pm

    TCO,

    “But Nicola – It just doesn’t work like that. The Queen will be expected to invite either me or Dave to form the next Government. She must do that on a totally non-partisan basis, and simply take advice on who can command the confidence of the House. So, you can expect a Mr Gus O’Donnell to pop his head around your door and discreetly ask you to make a choice. If you won’t give him one, he will put a kind of ultimatum to you – Either back the Tories, or back Labour, or I will take it that you refuse to back either. In the latter case, Mr GO’D will tell the Queen, Dave and myself that a Grand Coalition is the only viable option. That won’t be the best possible result for me, but it will be a lot worse for you, won’t it?”

  • James Hardy 24th Apr '15 - 5:11pm

    > The Liberal Democrats favour a grand committee of English MPs, with the right to veto legislation applying only to England, with its members based on the share of the vote

    Why is that the Lib Dem approach? Aren’t we supposed to believe in Federalism? In which case we should be pushing for proper devolution for England – either an English Parliament (my preferred option) or Parliaments/Assemblies for the regions.

  • Now Nick has joined in by saying any Labour government that relied on the votes of Scottish MPs would lack legitimacy.
    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/fd3b7bec-ea97-11e4-8c7e-00144feab7de.html#axzz3YGIsL5j1

    Is this the official Lib Dem position?

  • George Potter 25th Apr '15 - 9:17am

    In my experience, most people in the south east would want an English parliament. Most people in the rest of England don’t really want another centralised institution which is utterly remote from them making decisions to govern their lives.

    It doesn’t matter where you base an English parliament, you’ll still get the problem that it will be centralised with power being exercised away from local areas and the people who know best what they need.

    The Westminster parliament is terrible at, for instance, things like deciding whether the A3 needs another junction to allow access to a park and ride scheme in Guildford and is equally useless when it comes to the question of light rail extension in Tyneside. Neither of those problems will be fixed by replacing a centralised government for 64 million people with a centralised government for 55 million people.

  • Paul Walter,

    Don’t be disingenuous, Nick has ruled out supporting Labour if Labour need the SNP to pass a vote. Essentially Nick is saying that any government that relies on Scottish MPs, because we all now accept that the SNP will have a grossly disproportionate number of MPs in Scotland, is illegitimate. Thus the representatives of Scottish constituencies have no right, as far as Nick is concerned, to have their views considered in Westminster.

  • George Potter 25th Apr '15 - 9:33am

    Honestly speaking, the best solution for England in my opinion would be regional assemblies (but not the euro regions) which could then always set up an English Council or something to create a forum for them to discuss England-wide issues. Power working bottom up, not top down.

  • Paul, I do not understand why Nick Clegg is saying that he rules out any coalition that involves SNP on principle. SNP are not anything like UKIP and we share much in common, including much greater devolution. So far as breaking up the UK is concerned , I think I have already heard Nicola Sturgeon say that short of a vote to leave the EU in the next parliamentary cycle a further independence referendum is off the agenda.

    I do not thing that ‘g’ has read his/her own link properly: Nick Clegg has expressed doubts on the legitimacy if Labour has fewer seats and votes than the Conservatives.

    Pragmatically of course Nick Clegg’s thoughts are quite sensible: if Lib Dem + Labour or Conservative is still a minority it would be time to find an extensible barge pole and I get the sense that tacitly the party is squaring up to a period of consolidation and detachment from government. Nonetheless, if there is NO Overall Control on May 8, Nick Clegg et al will go through the motions and may well agree to abstain on a vote of confidence. The likelihood is that this time Lib Dems will not put Country before the Party and will hope to capitalise on the contrast between the relative orderliness of the past five years with the turbulence of the next.

  • @Paul Walter
    “You mean he’s saying, in effect, ‘vote Liberal Democrat’, yes?”

    He’s not saying that – he’s saying he won’t work with the SNP in any way, shape and form. This is a massive insult to Scots, and indeed a lot of English voters who would much rather see the SNP involved in government than the Tories.

    The other interesting thing about the FT interview is his comment that a coalition led by the second biggest party would “lack legitimacy”. This is a very odd remark coming from the leader of a party which is obsessed with PR. What Clegg seems to be favouring here instead is some sort of “FTPT+” in which the largest party – even if it only got around a third of the vote and was miles away politically from all the other parties – would be the only party with a legitimate right to govern.

    What an odd way of looking at things – especially as the Lib Dems, with less than 10% support in the polls, still seem to be clinging on to the hope of forcing themselves in to the next government, even though there could be two or even three parties with more support who are frozen out.

  • Nick Collins 25th Apr '15 - 10:01am

    ” Nick Clegg is saying that he rules out any coalition that involves SNP on principle.”

    What principle would that be?

  • Nick Collins 25th Apr '15 - 10:09am

    “The other interesting thing about the FT interview is his comment that a coalition led by the second biggest party would “lack legitimacy””

    Whereas a coalition propped up by the fourth biggest party, and which excluded the second and third biggest, would?

    And what if the party with the second biggest number of seats actually has more votes than the party with the most?

    It seems to me that Cleg’s position

  • Nick Collins 25th Apr '15 - 10:11am

    Sorry Comment seems to have been posted before I had finished typing.

    As i was saying, it seems to me that Clegg’s position lacks both logic and principle.

  • @Paul Walter
    What’s the difference between “working with” and “having an arrangement with”? They sound to me like exactly the same thing.

    Are you suggesting that Labour might have two separate confidence and supply arrangements with the Lib Dems and the SNP, but that even if all three parties vote consistently the same way, there would be no sense in which Lib Dems and the SNP would be part of the same arrangement?

  • @Paul Walter
    “SNP themselves have said they won’t go into coalition or do a deal with Labour anyway. And Labour have said they won’t go into coalition or dona deal with the SNP. So this is a bit if a non story. We’re looking at vote by vote stuff here. You know. Er. Parliamentary democracy.”

    There seems to be a lot of playing with words here.

    Clegg has not ruled out a coalition with the SNP – he has ruled out any “arrangement” at all, which presumably means even being part of the same confidence and supply understanding.

  • @Paul Walter
    But coalitions are not the only possible type of “arrangement”. A formal confidence and supply agreement – which any minority government would undoubtedly seek – could also be described as an “arrangement”, as it goes well beyond the kind of vote-by-vote basis you describe. See :-

    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/mar/16/politics-what-is-confidence-and-supply

  • paul ; would it not mean that the Lords with no SNP members and whipped would be the decision makers?

  • Stuart: It is not clear to me whether Nick Clegg is simply making a rather self evident observation or expressing an opinion. If Labour with SNP support becomes the next government there will inevitably be questions about its electoral support. As ever in these questions Nick Clegg evades the question of the distinction between the number of seats and the number of votes. When he refers to the number of votes that is compatible with PR, but practically it is votes in parliament that determine whether a government can function.

    What I find odd are the number of commentators in the media who assume that Nick Clegg wants to form another coalition with Conservatives rather than Labour and that the rest of the Party would easily accept a new coalition with Conservatives

  • @Martin
    “If Labour with SNP support becomes the next government there will inevitably be questions about its electoral support.”

    I’m sure there will, but such questions would be mischievous if Labour + SNP have more seats Tories + Lib Dems. In a hung parliament, with no party big enough to govern on its own, the size of each individual party should actually be pretty irrelevant. This would likely be the case on a permanent basis if we had PR, which is why I’m saying Nick Clegg seems hopelessly confused by the whole thing.

    “As ever in these questions Nick Clegg evades the question of the distinction between the number of seats and the number of votes.”

    Absolutely spot on. This question has never been answered. Given that we have a FPTP system (whether we like it or not), it seems more sensible to me that seats should take priority, but Clegg is careful to keep his options open.

  • Paul: “SNP themselves have said they won’t go into coalition or do a deal with Labour anyway. And Labour have said they won’t go into coalition or do a deal with the SNP. So this is a bit of a non story. – Which is why I question why Nick Clegg is saying this. One possibility is that he can see the possibility of an approach from Labour to form a coalition that is dependent on tacit support from SNP, even though Labour have fewer seats and votes than the Tories.

    It is not hard to see the massive danger to our Party if we went along with this.

  • @Paul Walter
    “Stuart, a minority give would not undoubtedly seek a c&s arrangement. The SNP didn’t have one for two years.”

    But they sought to make agreements with other parties immediately after the election, which you know very well is what Westminster party leaders will be trying to do come May 8th,.

    Besides, the Scottish government is hardly the same thing as the UK government. Scotland has a higher tier of government, the UK does not.

  • John Barrett 25th Apr '15 - 11:45am

    Rather than being obsessed by the numbers of seats won by each party on May 7th (as we all agree that this is highly dependent on a rotten and corrupt electoral system) and making statements about the birthright of any future government, it would make a welcome change if the party leadership would work towards forwarding ideals, beliefs and policies we stand for, rather than just the arrangements which would allow us to continue as part of Government.

    Like it or not, (and ignoring independence for a minute) there are many issues the SNP stand for, such as, free access to higher education, an end to the “bedroom tax”, no Trident replacement, no building of new nuclear power stations and more, that many Liberal Democrats also support.

    To rule out any arrangement involving the SNP, rather than saying we could work with them where we agree, sends out the message that our one and only priority is getting back into Government, either with Labour, or more likely the Conservatives.

    Electorally, in Scotland, it also sends out the signal that we would rather be in Government with the Conservatives, which is exactly what the SNP will use against us in every held Lib-Dem seat, as nearly every one of those seats is now under threat from the SNP. Vote Lib-Dem and you will get a Tory government will be their message.

    In those seats we do hold on to, it will probably be thanks to that rotten and corrupt electoral FPTP system which will allow MPs to be elected on 35% of the vote, and the value of incumbency.

    One other thing we could agree with the SNP on is PR for local government!

    The SNP have their faults, but so do all other parties – including those Nick is happy to work with.

  • Bill le Breton 25th Apr '15 - 11:50am

    I am absolutely sure that these statements by Alexander and then Clegg would not have been made unless the real time canvas returns necessitated it.

    He is shoring up our defenses in our Tory facing seats.

  • John Barrett: I very much agree, which is why I questioned why Nick Clegg is emphasising an issue that is not really on the agenda. It does occur to me that the emphasis reflects the interests of the FT journalist rather than NC.

  • Bill le Breton

    I am absolutely sure that these statements by Alexander and then Clegg would not have been made unless the real time canvas returns necessitated it.

    He is shoring up our defenses in our Tory facing seats.

    So he’s willing to foster Scottish grievances against England, and vice versa, thus threatening the future of the UK, just to shore up his vote?

    That’s sickening.

  • Bill le Breton 25th Apr '15 - 12:06pm

    Martin, that would be to ignore Alexander’s speech yesterday. It looked very co-ordinated to me.

    Under this leadership we have spent the last 7 years pursuing mainly soft-cons. A lot of the switching tactics about to be launched are directed at soft-cons. That is not restricted to Labour facing seats. It is at the heart of the Laws Marshall Sherlock Wright Clegg Reeves Astle strategy.

    What this strategy never fully appreciated was how deep and emotional were the ties that bind supporters to the Tory party. You could feel the anxiety rocket through communities on 14th or 15 th April when the Tories blew their dog whistle.

    In 2010 that team froze when the negative campaign arrived following the success of the Manchester leaders debate. Now we are seeing them again under a similar test.

  • @John Barrett
    Excellent post, totally agree. The worst aspect of Clegg’s comments in the FT is that he’s moving discussion exactly where Cameron wants it.

    I’m not convinced Cameron and Clegg are following a wise strategy. My instinct (and another poster confirmed this with some polling evidence the other week) is that most people in England are actually either indifferent to the SNP, or quite positive about them. Coming out so strongly against the SNP, while still talking positively about prospects for another coalition with the Tories, is hardly going to woo back any ex-Lib Dem voters who have since travelled leftwards.

  • Tony Greaves 25th Apr '15 - 1:17pm

    Anyone who thinks the next Parliament will see the Lords being “abolished” is living in cloud cuckoo land. We might get a few more incremental reforms. It is looking more than possible that in the next five years the Lords will be needed to sort out a shambolic Commons that cannot run itself properly.

    Talk of an English Grand Committee having a “veto” is nonsense. A veto on what? Anything passed by the Commons has to come to the Lords and changes will be made. So when we get to Ping-Pong, will the Ping-Pong in future be with the Commons or with a Grand Committee of the Commons, or with either and both depending on just what the particular clauses that we send back say?

    Tony Greaves

  • John Barrett 25th Apr '15 - 2:33pm

    Hopefully LDV editors will start a new discussion, along the lines of the most recent posts relating to what the party can do after the election, as it has drifted away from the original subject of thsi string, but still needs further discussion

  • David Allen 25th Apr '15 - 4:48pm

    Of course Clegg is moving discussion where Cameron wants it. Clegg and Cameron are joined at the hip.

    Clegg makes a totally bogus suggestion that a winning coalition cannot be led by any party other than the one which came first. It doesn’t matter if there are nine Monarchist parties who want to make a coalition versus one Confucianist party which opposes the monarchy – If the Confucianists top the poll with 13% while no individual Monarchist party gets more than 11%, then the nation has voted Confucianist and the Confucianists must lead it. Complete nonsense.

    So why has Clegg made this nonsensical suggestion?

    Well, perhaps (case A) the Tories will come second. If that happens, they have no chance of building a winning coalition in any case. 280 Tories plus 30 Lib Dems doesn’t do it.

    Then again, perhaps (case B) Labour will come second. If that happens, Labour might well have a chance of forming a viable government. 280 Labour, plus 50 SNP MPs who voluntarily provide Labour with confidence and supply (because, despite Miliband refusing to negotiate with them, the SNP have nowhere else to go) is enough to do it.

    So what Clegg has said is: In case A (Tories cannot govern anyway), it would be illegitimate for the Tories to govern. In case B (Labour can govern), it would be “illegitimate for Labour to govern.

    Fortunately Clegg is not the umpire. He’s a very Tory-biased umpire!

  • David Allen 25th Apr '15 - 7:53pm

    Blimey, somebody needs to paint me as angry. Presumably this is an attempt to persuade people not to read my comment. If they did that, they might be convinced by its logic. That would never do.

  • Bill Le Breton wrote:

    “What this strategy never fully appreciated was how deep and emotional were the ties that bind supporters to the Tory party. ”

    What was not appreciated is that, at 33%-34%, the Tory vote has already been cut down to the bone. I cannot fall further. When the Tories last won an outright majority, they were on 42% nationally (and won seats in Scotland).

    “You could feel the anxiety rocket through communities on 14th or 15 th April when the Tories blew their dog whistle.”

    You might have done, Bill. I didn’t. In fact, I’m struggling to work out what this dog whistle was. If a politically aware person like me noticed nothing on 14th April, then what chance the masses? The Tories have been pushing the same scares from day one, and the polls still refuse to budge in their favour.

    For me, the most intriguing aspect of this election is the level of apathy. In my own constituency, I have seen a handful of Tory posters, and that is it. Some constituencies have no posters of any stripe. I was in Dover the other day, and I counted one Labour and two UKIP, and this is a top Labour target! For millions, this election is one gigantic bore.

  • Paul In Wokingham 25th Apr '15 - 8:20pm

    Mr. Clegg has said today that he will not be part of a coalition that depends upon SNP “life support”. Now if the Labour Party get most votes and most seats, but the sum of Lab+LD MPs is not a majority, then Clegg seems to be ruling out the possibility of a minority Lab/LD coalition. But if Clegg is also saying that he will not be part of a coalition with the party that comes second, then where does that leave us?

  • Mr Clegg is trying to convince the Tory voters of Sheffield Hallam that they must vote for him, personally, in order to keep a Conservative-led government in power. At this moment I doubt he has any ulterior aim beyond his own political survival.

  • Stephen Hesketh 25th Apr '15 - 8:59pm

    Paul In Wokingham 25th Apr ’15 – 8:20pm
    “Mr. Clegg has said today that he will not be part of a coalition that depends upon SNP “life support”. Now if the Labour Party get most votes and most seats, but the sum of Lab+LD MPs is not a majority, then Clegg seems to be ruling out the possibility of a minority Lab/LD coalition. But if Clegg is also saying that he will not be part of a coalition with the party that comes second, then where does that leave us?”

    Good question Paul. Perhaps in a coalition without Clegg as leader?

  • Stephen Hesketh 25th Apr '15 - 9:04pm

    David-1 25th Apr ’15 – 8:56pm
    “Mr Clegg is trying to convince the Tory voters of Sheffield Hallam that they must vote for him, personally, in order to keep a Conservative-led government in power. At this moment I doubt he has any ulterior aim beyond his own political survival.”

    Well that should help any waving anti-Tory voters make up their minds. Let’s just hope it doesn’t damage the efforts of Lib Dem candidates in other constituencies.

  • Please can someone post which Federal Conference agreed “a grand committee of English MPs, with the right to veto legislation applying only to England, with its members based on the share of the vote”, which sound like a Tory veto if they achieve over 50% of the English vote?

    @ Eddie Sammon
    I would prefer an English Parliament elected either with STV or in the same way as the Scottish Parliament to English MPs doing anything as a group.

    @ George Potter
    Thank you for putting the case for regional assemblies, but the electorate when asked has rejected them. Maybe we should look again at the issue and support an English Parliament with power to setup and give powers to regional assemblies when those regions want them.

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