Posts Tagged ‘structural deficit’

If the coalition really does fracture after tonight’s vote, will Labour be ready?

10/07/2012, 07:00:35 AM

by Atul Hatwal

Tonight’s the night. The Commons votes on House of Lords reform and a series of dominoes will start to topple.

First, the government’s attempt to limit debate on the House of Lords reform bill through a “programme motion” will be defeated by a coalition of Labour and Tory votes.

It will mean Tory rebels in the Commons can filibuster the House of Lords bill, and the rest of the government’s legislative programme, into extinction. Faced with this threat, the prospect of the government throwing in the towel on House of Lords reform tomorrow morning seems almost a racing certainty.

Second, the Lib Dems will hit back by scuppering the Tories’ plans for revised parliamentary boundaries. It’s hard to see how the Lib Dem leadership could hold their party together without some retribution against the Tories. Again, on balance this seems a highly likely scenario.

Third, notwithstanding many Tories’ secret yearning to bury the new boundaries, there would be an explosion of Tory backbench, even frontbench, rage at their junior partners.

The price demanded by angry Tories would be new, true blue Conservative policies defined by the inability of the Lib Dems to support them. Lists are already being drawn up. The word “Europe” features heavily.

This is where there would be a speculative if not impossible next step. The final domino. Relations would become so strained between the government partners that they mutually lose the will to go on. They row. They snipe. And finally, they vote against each other. It would culminate in the death knell of all broken parliamentary partnerships, a failed vote of no confidence.

In the chaos of the ensuing election, out of the wreckage of the coalition, maybe, just maybe, a Labour government with a small majority would emerge.


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