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The Lib Dems can use Leveson to show coalitions work

28 November 2012

11:39 AM

28 November 2012

11:39 AM

The Liberal Democrats’ strategic imperative in this parliament is to show that coalitions can work. Their response to the Leveson Inquiry is, I suspect, going to be part of this plan.

Their position on the issue is hardening. Yesterday’s Guardian report that they would make clear if David Cameron was only speaking for the Conservative party not the government, has been followed by Nick Robinson’s news that Clegg will make his own statement in the Commons if no coalition position can be agreed. I understand that, ideally, Clegg would make his statement from the despatch box.


In some ways this is not a bad issue for the Deputy Prime Minister to demonstrate that he remains the leader of an independent political party that often takes a different view from its larger, coalition partner. Not even the most excitable MP thinks that the government is going to fall over differences on the Leveson Report.

To be sure, the sight of a Prime Minister and a Deputy Prime Minister disagreeing from the Treasury bench will be unusual—if not, unique. But those close to Clegg hope that they can use this moment to show how they think coalition should work. Parties can govern together but retain their distinctive views and not be afraid to say when they disagree on areas that are not crucial to the jointly agreed governing programme. Whether everyone else sees it like that, though, remains to be seen.

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Show comments
  • MirthaTidville

    Coalitions dont work……….the Lub Dums have proved it so….full stop

  • Rhoda Klapp

    How wonderful to see them all working the angles on Leveson. Seeing where an advantage may be found, avoiding an exposure to criticism, making sure it all looks OK to the Beeb and the Guardian.

    Did it ever occur to take some course of action because it is right? Or not to take it because it is wrong?

    • salieri

      Spot on. But the LibDems are not the only ones who calculate – first and foremost if not exclusively – how something can be “used” to advance their own standing, rather than as a matter of principle. Which of the three major political parties today does put principle before popularity? Which of them starts from the premise that regulation by the state is wrong and should be avoided wherever possible?
      It’s ironic that this whole debate about yet further intrusion and control (never mind its utility) coincides with the Coalition’s proposal to make it more expensive to enjoy a drink. In both instances the sins of a tiny minority are visited on a vast law-abiding and responsible majority. And, collectively, the government has no problem with that.
      In answer to your question, it seems to me that they don’t take any course of action because it is right but because they suppose it will be seen to be right by the legion of do-gooders who arrogate approval and control to themselves.

  • Vulture

    Dont you just hate politicians who use kids to promote themselves?

    We’ll see after tomorrow’s by-elections how the future of the Coalition is looking – at least the Lib Dumb half of it. They’ll be lucky to save their deposits.

    Move over Cam and Clegg: your time is long since up.

    • Noa

      And don’t you just hate kids who use politicians to make themselves look cute and increase their pocket money?