The coalition concessions continue to shape Britain’s politics
On May 11th 2010, my birthday as it happens, David Cameron was able to enter Downing Street even though he’d failed to win a majority as a result of the coalition deal with Nick Clegg’s Lib Dems.
Two aspects of the Tory concessions required to make that happen are still very much in place – the Fixed-Term Term Parliament Act and the doubling of the number of LD members of the House of Lords.
The former played a big part in April when TMay announced her general election move putting a date more than seven weeks on. According to John Rentoul in the Indy this was set so far ahead in the expectation that Labour wouldn’t back the election call. In the event of this happening the plan was for an amendment to the FPTP act to be pushed through both houses of Parliament specifically stating that the date should be June 8th.
Arguably that extraordinarily long campaign and the greater exposure it put on Mrs May was one of the reasons why a renewed majority was not forthcoming.
The second coalition concession more than doubling the number of LD peers from just over 50 to more than a hundred still dominates the political arithmetic in the upper house.
The intention had been that this move was to create temporary cover for the situation for the period leading up to the reform of the the Lords which both the Tories in 2010 and LDs were committed to.
Lords reform did not happen because of the Tory back bench rebellion and the LD peers are still there.
The Salisbury Convention that the Lords should not stand in the way of a government implementing its manifesto commitments doesn’t apply because of the failure of TMay to retain a CON majority.
Getting the EU bill through is going to be even more difficult because of what Cameron had to agree to in order to get Gordon Brown out of Downing Street.