Secret deals?

BBC News is reporting that ‘Mr Cameron was warned by Deputy Prime Minister and Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg earlier that the coalition had entered a “contract” to get the plans [the House of Lords Reform Bill] through.

He said: “A deal’s a deal and it’s important you stick to that deal and you stick to the contract, if you like, that you have entered into.”‘

Given that there is nothing in the Coalition Agreement that commits the Coalition to introducing and ensuring the passage of the House of Lords Reform Bill, one can only assume that there has been some secret contract negotiated.  Should we not have been told?

About Lord Norton

Professor of Government at Hull University, and Member of the House of Lords
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8 Responses to Secret deals?

  1. I’m so thankful that the proposed Liberal-New Democratic coalition government (which would have been supported by the Bloc quebecois) failed in 2008-2009 here in Canada. Coalition governments strain cabinet solidarity and necessitate backroom deals and the negotiations of platforms and policies for which no one voted; as such, they only cultivate the official mendacity and soft deception that normally characterizes politics.

  2. Alex M says:

    If such a deal was made, one can only assume this is the ‘new kind’ of politics and government that Nick Clegg promised the Liberal Democrats would create!

  3. Peter Whitelaw says:

    Just hope it won’t be like the Cranborne deal of ’99 where the parties were left in the dark

  4. maudie33 says:

    Not nice to be kept in the dark about policies you knew nothing of, and would never have voted for had you known, is it, Lord Norton? Leaves a nasty taste in the mouth. And creates a sense of being duped.

    However, if deals were made, which I have no doubt they were, then that is not a one way street. It would have been give and take over numerous matters. And if I remember correctly, the Tory party was holdng its breath for the Lib Dems to stay in coalition with them, and not shift allegiance to Labour. Yet, i read in the Tory press today, Mr Cameron was forced into a coalition. Funny that! As it would have been the voter that forced them into it by not feeling able to give the Tories a full mandate for their policies. Now I wonder why that was? Couldn’t be because of the mad right wing could it? Those same people who brought down Major.

    • Lord Norton says:

      maudie33: Mr Cameron chose to make an offer to the Liberal Democrats. Neither party was forced to go into coalition. I have made the point before that claims to the effect that it was necessary to prevent the Prime Minister being held hostage by his right wing is misleading. It is not the right wing that creates a problem, since it rarely sides with the Opposition or opposition parties, but rather dissent from the heart of the party – as happened on Tuesday.

  5. Were such a deal or formal arrangement — with an implicit quid pro quo attached — stitched up between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats, then I share entirely Lord Norton’s consternation; however, given the Deputy Prime Minister’s demonstrated unreliable grasp of political reality, surely more evidence is necessary before credibly taking him at his word.

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