Thoughts on politics and life from a liberal perspective

Thursday, 6 June 2013

The Tories are the authors of the childcare bill downfall

Cast your mind back to last year when the Lords Reform bill was working its way through parliament.

Like many Lib Dems I was delighted that finally, after so many years we were going to get a largely elected upper chamber. Then the murmurings started. Tory backbenchers were going to kill the bill and they did indeed eventually vote against it in sufficient numbers to prevent it from being implemented. The consequence of this is that we still have a bizarre and anachronistic unelected upper chamber with no prospect of change any time soon.

The primary defence of the Tories who voted against the bill was that all that was in the coalition agreement on this subject were plans to "bring forward proposals" and they had honoured that. In their view they were never duty bound to support them.

I always thought that was terribly disingenuous. As John Rentoul pointed out at the time, what would be the point of proposing to bring forward proposals if they were then just going to be put in the bin?

Fast forward to today when Nick Clegg has killed Liz Truss's childcare proposals. His defence of this move is that the agreement was only to "consult" on these changes, not to implement them. Sound familiar?

I'm not saying this is a great situation for the government to be in but you have to ask yourself which of the parties was the first to breach good faith in this way?

1 comment:

Left Lib said...

I don't think this is a moral equivalence as you seem to imply. Surely if a proposal is put out for consultation and the response to the consultation suggests this is a bad policy, then it should get dropped? Also HoL reform was in the Coalition Agreement, and this policy was not. So this is not tit for tat. This is the correct role of the Lib Dems in Coalition, which in this case is to prevent the Toriy extremism.