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Europe and Lords reform a potential rift for the Coalition? By Patrick Harris

by on July 21, 2012

Lords reform has become an increasingly divisive issue within the Liberal Democrat and Conservative Party. The result of the 91 Conservative MPs rebelling over Cameron’s attempt to push forward an apparently ‘chaotic’ bill could lead to disastrous consequences for the future plans of the Coalition. Cameron’s promise of one more attempt for Lords reform has been rumoured to be a bid to save Nick Clegg’s leadership. With an unhappy grass roots movement, the future may not be looking so promising for both sides for the Coalition. The Chairman of 1922 Committee has been quoted in saying that he does not think that the coalition would last until the next election.

With Lords reform stalling another point piece of legislation could come under threat. The Liberal Democrats have threatened to veto the boundary changers which will be announced 2013 as result of the rebellion by Conservative MPs. This dilemma could cause several problems for David Cameron as he is trying to negotiate a way through both of these issues and calls for a referendum on Europe from Conservative MPs. The call for a referendum by backbench MPs has been present ever since the start of the Coalition Government in May 2010.

The proposals under discussion include plans to rewrite the budget of countries and plans to impose tough punishments for any country that is in breach of the rules. There are concerns in the UK that these plans will lead to a two-tier system.  The Prime Minister insisted that these changes did not necessarily mean a fundamental change for Britain. Cameron argued that the 17 states in the Eurozone needed closer cooperation but placed emphasis on the need of concrete safeguards that will protect the Britain and the other states not in the Eurozone. The Prime Minister made what was considered a controversial comment in PMQs back in May when he said that the Eurozone needed ‘to make up or potentially break up’.  With the crisis on going the pressure for the Eurozone to take decisive action is building. Cameron needs to be aware of the unhappiness over Europe within his party. Conservative backbenchers may not be so willing to support the Prime Minister’s call for Coalition unity.

A recent You Gov poll however showed the difference between the Conservative Party leader David Cameron and Labour leader Ed Miliband in the eyes of the public on who is up to the job. The poll stated that 22% believed Ed Miliband was up to the job compared to David Cameron’s 35%. With summer recess fast approaching it will be a welcome relief for Cameron and the rest of the Conservative leadership as the Coalition need to reassess their future plans for the remaining years of Parliament.

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