The Coalition between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats is the first in Britain for over 80 years. Here we answer some of your frequently asked questions:
Why do we have a Coalition Government?
The House of Commons has 650 MPs. For a political party to gain a majority and form a Government alone they will need at least 326 MPs. At the May 2010 General Election no single party had a majority of seats. The voting public elected 306 Conservative MPs, 258 Labour MPs, 57 Lib Dem MPs and the rest were nationalist parties, a Green and Independents.
Why did the Liberal Democrats choose to go into coalition with the Conservatives?
Whenever asked about the possibility of a coalition partnership during the election period, Nick Clegg continuously asserted that the party with the most seats and the most votes would have the right to form the next Government.
The Conservatives won the most seats, and with the Liberal Democrats they would have been able to form a stable government. During coalition discussions the Conservatives agreed with many Lib Dem policies, such as a fairer tax system, reform of parliament, the Pupil Premium and protecting civil liberties.
Why didn’t the Lib Dems choose to form a government with New Labour?
Firstly leading New Labour MPs refused to consider this during the coalition talks.
In any case, together the two parties would have only had 315 MPs, which would have been too few to form a stable government. The coalition would have required the support of Nationalist and Independent MPs. Ultimately it was considered that this kind of coalition would have been unstable. An unstable government would have been bad for law-making, bad for the economy and it is unlikely that it would have lasted very long at all.
Why didn’t you let the Conservatives govern alone?
It is unlikely that a minority government could have survived very long at all. Just as the scenario of a Lib-Lab coalition, this would have been a bad for the country. With the economic climate as it was, it would have been disastrous to have a weak government.
What about the policies you disagree with? In the Coalition Government, both parties have had to concede on some policies to come to compromises. It is not an easy process, but it something that both sides have had to come to accept. It isn’t about a lack of integrity or that we don’t believe in our own policies, it’s just that we have to make the Coalition work.
What is fantastic though is that we are now seeing many Lib Dem policies in place. ID cards have been scrapped, we are working towards a fairer tax system (taking a million low paid workers out of tax all together), and we’re working for a fair deal for pensioners by restoring the ‘earnings link’ with the state pension. These are just some of the policies being enacted out by Lib Dem Ministers.
Are the Lib Dems going to merge with the Conservatives?
Absolutely not! We are separate political parties, with distinct and separate policies, ideologies and histories. We will continue to campaign separately for what we individually believe in.
David in Parliament
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