Wednesday, 12 May 2010

The ConDem Coalition and LibDem Discipline

When history looks back at the coverage of last night's deal struck by the Conservatives and LibDems to form a full coalition government, it will note (on Twitter at least) that almost as many people were annoyed by the cancellation of Eastenders as those who were appalled to see the Tories back in power.

As we wait for the full details of the ConDem arrangement to be made clear, I noted previously that Clegg has more to lose in keeping his left flank exposed than appeasing the tiny minority in his party who see themselves on the right. Already this has made itself felt in a small way when Labour's membership application page crashed last night - there were probably more than a few ex-LibDems among the 3,000 who joined.

But the immediate worry from the Tory and LibDem leaderships' point of view was making sure the 57 LibDem MPs tow the line in the long term. With many MPs less than comfortable with the Tories and/or have Labour breathing down their necks in a marginal. With 363 seats and an effective 80-strong majority the coalition has a degree of vulnerability to LibDem disobedience.

So this piece on the BBC caught my eye. In addition to admitting five LibDems into the cabinet (Clegg as Deputy PM, St. Vince as Business and Banking, Chris Huhne for Energy and Climate, Danny Alexander for Scotland (a particularly smart move for Cameron), and David Laws (probably Education)), some 20 other LibDems are expected to land ministerial posts.

This means the LibDems provide at least 25 parliamentary votes the coalition can expect to rely on, and therefore secure its absolute majority to carry through the legislative programme.

6 comments:

Neil Harding said...

I notice quite a few people are getting the size of the majority wrong - it is actually a 76 theoretical majority (i.e. if you include Sinn Fein) but in practise an 81 majority as Sinn Fein refuse to take their seats. This is a bigger majority than the 66 the previous labour government enjoyed. Remember 323 seats gives a 2 majority and each additional seat adds 2 as it takes away one from the opposition and adds to the government benches.

Phil said...

I lost my head for Maths when I was 13.

Looking again at the figures, and factoring in Sinn Fein and the seat that has to be rerun because of the death of the UKIP candidate, the ConDem coalition has 363 seats out of 646 - a majority of 80.

I blame the BBC for not prominently displaying the seat tally for Others. I shall amend the post accordingly.

Phil said...

The good old payroll vote. A new era dawns, eh?

Captcha: thing. Very Cobbett.

john hutnyk said...

Con-Dem-Nation was witty.

For wider Streets:
http://hutnyk.wordpress.com/2010/05/11/you-voted-for-wider-streets/

Tea Drinker said...

Already this has made itself felt in a small way when Labour's membership application page crashed last night - there were probably more than a few ex-LibDems among the 3,000 who joined.

Love it!

Phil said...

Reports now saying more than 10,000 have joined since the election. I'm sure there's more than a few working class people among that number too. Time for lefties outside to have a rethink?