FORMER Camden Lib Dem councillor Fred Carver (former as of last week) is fretting. His name signs off a worried message on – who else’s – Lynne Featherstone’s blog about the Strange Bedfellows in the cabinet. Fred’s done the maths and the proposed 55 percent MP rule over the dissolution of Parliament is the chief concern. He has a point that must have crossed a few Lib Dem minds this week:
The change in the number of MPs needed to dissolve parliament concerns me. In effect we’ve lowered the number of MPs you need to form a stable government to 294 – in other words we’ve given the Tories an outright majority. Now I’m not saying this is likely but what if we pass this law and then the Tories renege on everything else in the deal, sack all our cabinet members and throw us out of government on our heel?
What recourse would we have? Having effectively given away our position as custodians of the balance of power and having signed an effective Tory majority into law we would be entirely superfluous to requirements – there would be nothing to stop this.
And whilst what I describe is a worst case scenario, on a much more pragmatic level, having signed away our major bargaining chip – the only thing the Tories actually need us for – how can we hope to influence them or get them to listen to us?