Political Promise

How to dissolve Parliament in two or three moderately confusing steps

In Uncategorized on May 20, 2010 at 3:02 pm

By Aaron Newell

The new Parliament seems transfixed on 55%. The Number of the Beast appears to have a backup. It is, of course, the percentage needed to dissolve the new Parliament. Fear about this were so intense that it was the first question posed to the Father of the House as a point of order. (He couldn’t answer it as a point of order: not his problem, basically…)

When this appeared in the news there was confusion with an existing mechanism, that of a vote of no confidence. This remains the same. If 50% plus one member vote against Cameron’s government he gets on his bike and Samantha goes back to full-time necklace selling. Life is hard. This generally means a new election would be called. But there’s no constitutional requirement for this. Never has been. It’s simply a convention.

Now, to add to the confusion, there’s another mechanism. If 55% of the members vote for it, Parliament is dissolved and we all go to
the ballot box again. So why this, now? The coalition, simply. If, say, Cameron decides to set a plague of locusts on Coventry, and
Clegg decides this would be too electorally damaging to his support in Coventry, Clegg couldn’t leave and force a new election: the
Liberals and the opposition don’t have 55%.

But what would happen should Clegg actually leave? The opposition plus the Liberals can’t muster 55% without a few of the 306 Tories obliging. So, say not enough of the Tories oblige, the Tories would then rule as a minority government–that is, they wouldn’t have enough seats to pass legislation without some of the opposition obliging. They’d be more or less impotent.

But, remember, the opposition plus the Liberals would have (only just) 50% of the House, and could therefore force a vote of no confidence. So Cameron would be gone with a positive vote of no confidence, but this only means that, not that they’d be new elections. So, after Clegg leaving, and a vote of no confidence deposing Cameron, we would have a new Tory Prime Minister we didn’t vote for who doesn’t have enough support to legislate without appealing to his opponents for help. Any takers for this new position combining both impotency with being hated by the public at large? Brown would be a good contender. Pity he plays for the other team.

Although the new rule seems confusing, it’s simply this: Clegg can’t leave and trigger a new election, but he can leave an trigger a
vote of no confidence to depose Cameron, forcing a new Tory PM, and if that Tory PM doesn’t call an election immediately he or she will end up being hated, thereby damaging Tory support for when there is an election at the end of the 5 year Parliamentary term.

The other alternative would be: Clegg leaves, but there’s no vote of no confidence (perhaps the opposition start confusing the words no and yes), leaving Cameron in power but powerless to pass laws without support from around 30-40 or so opponent MPs. But, again, the pressure to call a new election now the mechanism that got Cameron power, the coalition, is gone would be immense, and very likely electorally damaging if unheeded.

Of course, whether Clegg would want to dissolve Parliament and damage his chances of reforming Parliament, how confident the Tories are of winning a new election outright and how strong Labour are all play their part. But as soon as you start theorising that far down the line you’re only a few steps away from the scenario where the state is ruled by David Icke’s super-intelligent lizards and you’re running through sewers in an desperate attempt to escape George Osborne’s terrifying grin.

  1. plague of locusts … 🙂 nice.

    This coalition won’t fall any time soon. Eurozone economic problems, speculators and the pound, prospects of a slow-decade* in US and chinese bubble …. given the current economic mood and worries about jobs, If Clegg pulls out, nasties might return with a resounding victory. I’m sure the libdems know that (as does Labour). I hope the libdems use this opportunity to make friends inside the civil-service/whitehall establishment and maybe learn a bit of tact.

    I read about many who didn’t get to vote and were turned away. Shouldn’t we stop bothering about “a parliament/prime-minister we didn’t vote for”? Those who voted were mind-controlled by the reptilians anyway 😛

    *another name for japan-like recession, they don’t want to call it that

    well written and researched. thanks.

    • Thanks for your comment, please don’t hesitate to tell your friends about us, find us on Facebook and Twitter!

      This is the Liberal Democrat’s only chance of power, and I really believe it is working well. The financial team of Osborne/Laws/Cable has so far worked incredibly well, and the forthcoming budget will outline exactly how we’re to reduce our budget deficits- a big plus given Germany’s apologetic aid package it will give to Greece, resulting in further instabilities of the Euro.

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