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Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Tories show anxiety on Alternative Vote referendum

The extent of anxiety in the Conservative camp that Britain might actually opt to reform the voting system on 5th May was evident this morning in criticism of David Cameron that he is soft-pedalling on opposition to the change.

The Independent says that senior Conservative MPs fear that David Cameron is diluting their party's opposition to electoral reform in an attempt to boost Nick Clegg's chances of winning a 'yes' vote in the referendum due in May.

The paper says that Conservatives have so far earmarked only £250,000 for the No campaign, which is a small proportion of the £5m both sides in the referendum battle will be allowed to spend in the 10 weeks before the public vote. They add that Baroness Warsi, the party's chairman, is expected to be challenged about its commitment to the 'no' cause today when she addresses the weekly meeting of the 1922 Committee of Tory MPs

Personally, I think that those who believe that a 'no' vote will lead to the Liberal Democrats leaving the coalition or that a 'yes' vote will provoke a permanent Liberal Democrat-Tory grouping are wrong. The Liberal Democrats have too much vested in the future of this coalition to walk away prematurely, whilst any future partnerships would be dependent on the outcome of an election.

This coalition a not a realignment, it is a temporary arrangement to provide stability to the UK political system and economy.

Nevertheless, if the Tories are soft-pedalling I welcome it, no matter what their motives. Reform of our out-dated and unfair electoral system is long overdue. In my view the logic for a 'yes' vote is overwhelming, even if the proposals do not go far enough. Maybe the Tory high command have recognised that and are making way for the inevitable.
Spot on Peter
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