Coffee House

Lord Strathclyde resigns over frustration with Lib Dem peers

7 January 2013

12:31 PM

7 January 2013

12:31 PM

Lord Strathclyde was a skilful leader of the House of Lords. An immensely charming man, he was — generally — able to coax legislation through a chamber where the government has no majority. But he was becoming increasingly frustrated at the behaviour of some Liberal Democrat peers. Shortly before Christmas and as Liberal Democrat Lords rampaged against the Cameron-Clegg compromise on secret courts, he remarked to one colleague that the ‘coalition had already broken down’ in the House of Lords.

The lack of a government majority in the Lords and the fact that Liberal Democrat peers tend to hail from the left of the party means that even with Lords reform off the agenda, being Leader of the Lords is not an easy job. Strathclyde’s replacement Lord Hill — a distinguished veteran of John Major’s Number 10 and an efficient minister — infamously tried to resign from his education job in September, fed up with contradictory signals from Downing Street. But he now finds himself at the sharp end of coalition.

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.

Show comments
  • Derewoo

    Because of the way things worked out at the last election, and because of the parlous state of the country’s finances, we find ourselves with this coalition. There really was not an alternative at that time, so we are where we are. It appears then, that Lord Strathclyde has resigned because he’s experiencing some opposition, and isn’t getting the outcomes that he wants. Ahhh! Don’t misunderstand me here, I have less time for the LibDems than he probably does. But I honestly think that Clegg will lose his seat at the next election, and that it will be a disaster for his party as a whole. The LibDems in the Lords won’t be so uppity then. His Lordship should have toughed it out!

  • dalai guevara

    Jeez, this country is in a worse state than communism before its collapse.

    The coaltion is finished, ever since the boundary/HoL debacle. How long ago was that? What is taking you commies so long to resign and get a working government up and running again. We have got work to do. You are not working together, you have no majority, you fail 50+ bills in the other place, you have no legitimacy.

    It is clear for everyone to see – this is communist stagnation in its prime form, clutching for power, gangnam il sung style. Dismissed.

  • Christopher Mooney

    Most sources say he resigned because of the government blocking Lords reform.

    Of course, the Spectator wouldn’t possibly report that.

  • GaryEssex

    He is not the only one to have had enough of the lily-livered and truly pathetic Liberal Democrats. This is what happens when you let the tail wag the dog. Let the coalition end now – either govern as a minority or have the courage to go to the country – or maybe that’s not possible with Nick Clegg’s fixed-term parliaments.
    I hope the LibDems are wiped out at the next election and we hear no more of this lot, especially the yokel half-wit that is Bob Russell.

    • Christopher Mooney

      being in a coalition is better than being in opposition. Well, I’m assuming that’s the thought process

    • chablis4me

      Sadly the London radio station LBC has announced that Nick Clegg will be taking phone in questions for an hour EVERY Thursday morning at 9.00. LBC is tickled pink with what they see as a major coup. I think it’s depressing that a Deputy Prime Minister who clearly has little official business to do is being given a free weekly broadcasting platform to try to ingratiate himself with his disillusioned ex-Liberal supporters. He will also knock the Tory side of the coalition weekly at the same time, no doubt. I don’t know who to blame most for this propaganda- LBC for offering a one party weekly slot or Clegg, a so called democrat, for accepting it.

      • EppingBlogger

        As LBC is making no attempt at political balance are they in breach of the Broadcasting Act and/or their license to broadcast. Will the costs of the broadcasts constitute a political donation, and if so to whom? Incidentally I noticed an advertisement today by the Independent, which I believe is a newspaper, promoting a new political party called Democracy2015. Presumably this is another spoiler. Does that mean the Independent has registered as a political campaign organisation under PPERA and/or that its costs are political donations?

    • telemachus

      All the same

      His time in Government has not been without controversy. In 2011, the married Cabinet minister was alleged to have had an affair with a former socialite who came to him for help in a dispute over child maintenance. He did not comment on the allegations at the time.

      • CharlieleChump

        Alleged, Ha! you Trot guttersnipe.

  • Owen_Morgan

    What on earth is “infamous” about wanting to resign?

    • HooksLaw

      Its infamous because he did not in the end resign ie carry through his conviction. In addition you ignore the general usage and hyperbole associated with the term.

      As the link states the Spectator actually consider him an ‘unsung hero’.


        The hyperbole associated with the term is only generated by the media. As Owen_Morgan rightly states, there is nothing infamous about intending to resign from a ministerial position.