Coffee House

Killing the boundaries but not the coalition

6 August 2012

1:06 PM

6 August 2012

1:06 PM

Nick Clegg will give a statement this afternoon on the House of Lords Reform Bill, and what will happen next. Number 10 was understandably cagey at this morning’s lobby briefing about stealing the Deputy Prime Minister’s thunder before he speaks, but the Prime Minister’s official spokesman gave some answers to questions about the boundary reforms that were still quite telling.

Asked about the threats that Liberal Democrats have been making to scupper the reforms as revenge for the failure of the Lords legislation, the spokesman said:

‘It’s something the Commons has already taken a view on, and the process is that it will come back later this year.’

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Asked whether the vote on the boundary reforms would be whipped, he said:

‘Look, we are still waiting for the commission’s proposals to come back, so I do not think we have said anything about the timetable for that vote.’

Pressed on the possible whipping arrangements again, he added: ‘It’s government policy, it’s in the coalition agreement.’

Patrick Wintour tweeted this morning that Clegg is set to say that plans for a reduced Commons under the boundary reforms must be dropped now that there is no strengthened executive check from a reformed House of Lords. If this is true, the DPM will need to sketch out how this will happen practically. Will Liberal Democrat ministers be able to vote against their own government’s policy (which they’ve already supported in one vote) without facing the usual consequences of rebellion? Number 10’s refusal to say, as is usually the case, that a vote on the boundaries will be ‘whipped in the usual way’ leaves the door open for an unconventional arrangement which could involve ministers rebelling and then not being sacked. That might release the pressure over constitutional reform, but it will make discipline a nightmare for both parties going forward.

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Show comments
  • Alan Eastwood

    Has the conservative party leadership gone on holiday? Have they lost their voice?
    Is it any wonder that people want Boris as leader when Cameron can allow Clegg to tell an outright lie and nothing is said by Cameron the leader of the Conservative Party?
    Does everything come down to ‘power for the sake of it?’
    Weakness, cowardice Cameron is a disgrace by not saying anything about this nonsense from Clegg.
    Time for Boris to speak for us all?

    • Malfleur

      Neville out; Winston in.

  • jebediah

    End the coalition. Clegg has spit the democratic dummy. Time to let them fry. Fix the damn economy, whether we reform the Lords now or in twenty years makes no difference.

  • UlyssesReturns

    Clegg has now confirmed his party will not vote for the boundary changes. Whither the coalition now baby?

  • Chris lancashire

    If the Wintour report is true then this is absolute claptrap from Clegg. What on earth has having equal sized constituencies to do with HoL reform? Clegg has contrived a link so that his childish little tit for tat is dressed up as some sort of constituional issue. Pathetic Clegg.

  • Magnolia

    Dave needs to show who’s boss and so, paradoxically, does Clegg.
    The PM should insist that Lib Dem ministers who do not vote for the boundaries review are forced to resign. Mr Clegg should show those in his party, who are trying to take over his role as leader, that he is the boss and therefore insist that his ministers will back the boundaries review or be sacked, because he is in coalition with David Cameron who, as PM, wishes it. If Clegg gives in then he might as well kiss Cable and Oakeshott’s feet and if Dave lets the Lib Dem ministers off then I would imagine that he would cease to command any respect at all within the Conservative Party.

  • Andy

    So there we have it. The LibDems are dishonest and dishonourable – tell us something we didn’t know. As I recall the coalition agreement did not commit the government to reform the Lords: it merely stated that they would bring forth proposals, not enact them. However, if the LibDems are now no longer going to honour Boundary reform then it is time the Tories took revenge. Lets start with the West Lothian Question. English votes for English Laws. That means there will be a Tory majority in English affairs, and not before time.

  • Andy

    So there we have it. The LibDems are dishonest and dishonourable – tell us something we didn’t know. As I recall the coalition agreement did not commit the government to reform the Lords: it merely stated that they would bring forth proposals, not enact them. However, if the LibDems are now no longer going to honour Boundary reform then it is time the Tories took revenge. Lets start with the West Lothian Question. English votes for English Laws. That means there will be a Tory majority in English affairs, and not before time.

  • Publius

    Now can Cameron please deal with the West Lothian question?

    No? Thought not.

    • telemacharse

      So what’s your solution? Tam Dalyell raised the issue in 1977 and other than the break up of the UK or Scots not being allowed to vote on English matters, I haven’t heard a sensible solution yet.

      • Publius

        “So what’s your solution?”

        Your post puts me in mind of those on the left who have created the centrifugal mayhem of ‘multiculturalism’ and then demand to know from those who opposed it all along how they are to fix it when it all goes wrong.

        • telemacharse

          I am so far from the left mate I can’t even see it from my house. It was the left that screwed up our constitution with devolution and even a principled (but slightly batty) standard bearer of the left, Tam Dalyell, saw it coming. My point was, and I apologise for having to explain it, if a solution is not immediately obvious, how can Cameron deal with it?

          • Publius

            Yes, I understand you’re not on the left. You are one of those brave souls who retorts to that ghastly troll.

            There’s no point my answering in detail. Why? Because I no longer believe that Cameron will deal with anything. Second, a blog is not the place to write government policy.

            No solution to the West Lothian question will now work well, in my view. And even those schemes that sound like they work in theory are unlikely to pass through this rump parliament.

            The process towards dissolution has been started, and as I, and perhaps you, foresaw, it will end in separation.

            • telemacharse

              Precisely. That scumbag Blair hand-in-hand with the scotch mafia that so effectively raped us all, gave away the United Kingdom for a perceived electoral advantage. It won’t happen in 2014 but within a decade we will see the whole edifice crumble and the end of centuries of history and a mutually beneficial union.

      • james102

        English MPs can’t vote on Scottish matters so why not have
        the H of C declare its self an English parliament when matters affecting only
        England are debated and voted on?

  • Austin Barry

    I’m anticipating the pouting disappointment, the holding-back-tears sense of grievance, the sullen demeanour of a public school fag who has not been sufficiently rewarded by his fag-master for keeping the toilet seat warm.

  • Benjit

    Wow, Nick Clegg you really are the crony’s crony. First you try and change the voting system to ensure Lib Dems are permanently in govt, then you try and change the Lords to ensure that Lib Dems permenatly hold the balance of power. Defeted twice you now no longer support fairer sized constiuencies and fewer MPs. Cameron you are a weak weak man.

    • Nicholas

      Well said. Nothing liberal or democratic about this Eurocreep and the sooner he is gone from British politics the better.

  • james102

    Make a virtue out of necessity and raise public awareness of
    the gerrymandering nature of the present set up.

    Show the attitude of Labour and the LibDems up for what it
    is.

    The average elector in this country does not understand how
    unfair the present system is, so make sure they do by the time the next
    election is called.

    Maybe Cameron could find someone with the PR skills to
    organise the campaign– if he looks hard enough.

    • alexsandr

      Boris?

    • alexsandr

      Boris?

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