Wednesday 12 May 2010

The Coalition Agreement

The agreement between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats can be read in full here

Of particlar constitutional significance are -

6 - Political Reform
- fixed term parliament of 5 yrs (next General Election 7th May 2015) - unless 55% or more of MPs vote for an earlier dissolution
- referendum on Alternative Vote (which in all likelihood will fail, as most of the Tories want to keep 'First Past the Post'; and the Lib-Dems want a proportional system - so the final result will be no change)
- power of recall of MPs found to have engaged in serious wrongdoing (defining that is going to be fun!) where a petition calling for a by-election is signed by 10% of the offender's constituents

10 - Civil Liberties
- scrapping of ID cards
- a "Freedom Bill" (may be called "Great Repeal Bill")
- defence of trial by jury
- other 'civil liberties' measures

- apparent weakening of the doctrine of "collective responsibility" to allow Lib Dem MPs to abstain (on certain budget resolutions; on funding of Higher Education) and make the case for alternative policies (Trident) and to campaign on different sides in the AV Referendum. (Question is do these rights apply to Lib-Dem Ministers)