Coalition looks solid but little support for an electoral pact

At ippr’s main fringe event at Tory conference, the idea of an electoral pact with the Liberal Democrats met with a pretty cool response from Tory delegates.

Our guest writer is Tim Finch, director of communications at the Institute for Public Policy Research (ippr)

At ippr’s main fringe event at the Conservative party conference, Nick Boles, the leading Conservative advocate of an electoral pact with the Liberal Democrats met with a pretty cool response from Tory delegates – and a polite brush off from former Lib Dem leader Sir Menzies Campbell.

Mr Boles said that a marriage of convenience had become “a marriage of true minds” and in his view it would look very odd if having worked for more than four and half years with, say, Chris Huhne, as climate change secretary, the Conservatives then put up a candidate against him in his Eastleigh constituency and campaigned hard to defeat him.

There was warm support from Tory members in a packed hall for the Liberal Democrats as coalition partners, but there was less enthusiasm for a formal electoral pact. One Conservative, who described himself as a “Thatcherite”, said any pact would be “undemocratic” as it deprived him of the right to vote for a “true Conservative”.

Sir Menzies said what he called a “coalition of necessity” had not changed his views and it was a re-alignment of the centre left, not the centre right, which remained the “mainspring of his political philosophy”. He reminded the Conservative conference audience that local Liberal Democrat associations guarded their independence fiercely and even if Nick Clegg wanted to enter an electoral pact with David Cameron, he might not be able to enforce such a deal.

Ippr director Nick Pearce warned the audience that the most likely result in the Scottish Parliament elections next year was Labour emerging as the biggest party and seeking to govern with the Liberal Democrats. That would leave the UK with a Con/Lib coalition in England and a Lab/Lib coalition in Scotland. Pearce, Head of the Downing Street Policy Unit under Gordon Brown, argued that Labour had to learn the lesson that ‘pluralism was here to stay’.

7 Responses to “Coalition looks solid but little support for an electoral pact”

  1. william

    Or alternatively,Nick Pearce, it is not pluralism, your boy,one Gordon Brown,lost big time and old labour, which he represented,will never form part of any future electoral pact, or be a majority party.

  2. Mr. Sensible

    I think if the Lib Dems were to join a pact with the Tories things would get rather bad for them.

    As if they’re not already…

  3. Anon E Mouse

    Mr.Sensible – Have you not noticed that whilst the Labour Party sits in opposition the Lib-Dems are in government – that’s how bad things are for them hahahaha!

    In five years time, once Nick Clegg has sorted out a lot of the mess left by that last useless government, their own position will be far better.

    So far HIP’s, ID Cards, Runway 3, ASBO’s etc have gone so there is a long long way to go but bring it on.

    Wonder how the writer of this article’s employer are fundeded… hmmmm…

  4. mike hartley

    I think a fair few more Liberal Democrats are going to be getting restless. Big Society is a nice idea, but practically would work better if the government weren’t in the business of slashing public services at the same time – it means what should be a “value added” measure just ends up as volunteers plugging the hole left by a lack of public services.

    Oh, and while he’s at it, he has to ditch Free Schools. It’s just looking embarassing now //etonmess.blogspot.com/2010/10/free-schools-part-iii.html

  5. Mr. Sensible

    Mr Mouse I don’t think voters will forget that Nick Clegg is propping up cuts he opposed during the election.

  6. Anon E Mouse

    Mr.Sensible – And I don’t think voters will forget the state of the country Labour left us in.

    Five years from now there will be sunny uplands and Nick Clegg’s freedom bill will have been enacted so let’s wait and see how popular the Lib Dems are then. They certainly have enough new members joining their party…

    Here’s a link for you Mr.S – go and join the winners – it’s not too late!

    //www.libdems.org.uk/join_us.aspx

  7. Chris

    @mousey

    Oh mousey, I’m struggling to type for laughing, you LibDems are totally deluded. I read somewhere that at the LD conference the beardie weirdies were actually muttering to themselves that they could form a majority government next time round…

    “Five years from now there will be sunny uplands and Nick Clegg’s freedom bill will have been enacted so let’s wait and see how popular the Lib Dems are then.”

    The sunny uplands will depend on the economy. The “freedom bill” may make you stain your trousers but for the ordinary people they won’t know the different and in reality will there actually be much? – I saw yesterday a school introducing face recognition “machines” to take registers, how is that any different to taking fingerprints?

    “They certainly have enough new members joining their party…”

    They’ve had 5000ish new members, Labour have had 40,000ish…

    I haven’t got a link for mousey – but go and join the real world – get out of the straitjacket.

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