No confidence in the new politics

It seems opposition to the Lib-Con constitutional terrosism – requiring 55% of MPs to vote in favour before parliament can be dissolved – is picking up steam. Where blogs lead, eh?

As we’ve previously explained

It would be impossible for opponents, even if fully united, to muster the 55% needed to dissolve Parliament, unless at least 16 Tories rebelled against their party leadership.

But at least the Lib Dems are being honest about the motivation for such legislation:

Liberal Democrat MP Andrew Stunell, who helped frame the deal, said it was needed to prevent an “ambush” on the Tories by all the other parties.

Pssst….Andrew – you’ve only been in government a few days after decades in the political wilderness. Have you really forgotten that it is the job of HM’s loyal opposition to, you know, oppose?

It’s truly remarkable that there are MPs in the House who actually think this is a legitimate defence. “All those nasty parties ganging up on the Tories….it just wouldn’t be fair”.

It would be an absurd justification were Stunell were a Tory worried about the implications of a coalition implosion. But he’s a Lib Dem! Does he imagine he’d still think like this in the event the Tories and Lib Dems did have a parting of the ways? Would he still be keen to immunise a minority Tory administration against no confidence motions?

Constitutional expert Peter Hennessy, of Queen Mary, University of London, told the BBC he was concerned it was a question of “iffy politics”.

“There’s a certain brutal efficiency which everybody understands about traditional confidence votes, that one is enough and confidence votes, under our system, trump everything else.

“And if coalition politics means that you start re-writing the procedures of the House of Commons in this way – I really don’t think it’s on and I am really not in the least bit surprised that people are very worried indeed about it – it creates a very very poor impression for the new politics.”

And it seems there is at least one Tory who understands the implications:

Charles Walker, Conservative MP for Broxbourne, said: “This is perhaps just a little too much for our unwritten constitution to bear.”

He added: “We have a quasi-presidential system here, without the checks and balances. This would be the loss of an enormous check.”

Contact your MP and let’s get this first example of the ‘New Politics’ stopped in its tracks.