Sunder Katwala has an interesting post on Next Left this morning where he highlights a report in the Guardian which discusses how David Cameron and The Conservatives are very unhappy with the current constitutional arrangement whereby the Prime Minister remains in office in the case of no party having an overall majority and gets the first chance to try and form a government that commands the confidence of the Commons. There are suggestions that David Cameron may try and use his media cheerleaders to shout loudly about the unfairness of this (if the Conservatives have the largest number of seats) and effectively "demand the keys to No 10". This way he would get the chance to form a government first and thus be seen as the "rightful" PM.
Tuesday, 4 May 2010
It would be a bit like the strategy of George Bush in 2000 when he declared himself the winner of the uncertain election there (and Gore foolishly conceded - although he later retracted the concession) once Fox had called the election for him. The momentum was then behind Bush and some suspect it helped him ultimately become President.
The Guardian report suggests that Cameron would "ignore the guidelines" for what would happen in this situation.
The Conservatives have been the party most opposed to a written constitution and yet this example shows very clearly why we need one. Surely it would be a nonsense for a political leader to ignore convention and decide what the best thing to do in the event of no party gaining an outright majority?
This is exactly the sort of reason why we need a properly codified constitution so that everyone knows where we stand and "new precedents" cannot be set on a whim for partisan advantage of the day.