Magazine article Public Finance

Fixed-Term Parliaments 'Wouldn't Guarantee Success of Coalition'

Magazine article Public Finance

Fixed-Term Parliaments 'Wouldn't Guarantee Success of Coalition'

Article excerpt

Government plans to introduce fixedterm Parliaments and hold a referendum on electoral reform have met a sceptical reaction from experts.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg will personally oversee the political reforms, set out in the coalition agreement drawn up by the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.

Among the pledges is a commitment for five-year parliamentary terms, with an earlier dissolution of Parliament able to be achieved only with the approval of 55% of MPs.

Meg Russell, reader in British and comparative politics at University College London's Constitution Unit, noted that the Conservatives had 47% of seats in the House of Commons. This meant that even if the coalition collapsed, the Commons could not overturn a minority Tory administration.

'The 55% figure appears to be rather carefully chosen,' she said, adding that the measure would not guarantee that the coalition held. …

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