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Cameron concedes on prison building, immigration and Europe in order to seal the deal with Clegg

There are some good analyses emerging of what the Conservative Party has conceded in the new Coalition document launched earlier today.

These have been identified by the BBC:

  1. No repatriation of powers from Europe.
  2. Police commissioners less independent.
  3. Council tax freeze curtailed.
  4. Stamp duty cut less certain.
  5. No scrapping of Labour's health targets.
  6. Plans to end the couple penalty less certain.
  7. Non-doms tax on hold.
  8. Human Rights Act lives to fight another day.

Neil O'Brien of Policy Exchange has identified other concessions, particularly in the area of criminal justice:

  • The Tories have had to drop manifesto policies that would cost money for extra prison places.
  • There’s no mention of knife carriers receiving a prison sentence (if more than 50% went to prison, 3,000 prison places would be needed)
  • No mention of honesty in sentencing (“min/max”).
  • No mention of doubling magistrates’ sentencing powers to twelve months – instead there will be a “review of sentencing”.

Neil spots two other concessions: on schools (unwelcome) and bank privatisation (welcome):

  • "There’s no mention either of ending exclusion appeals. Instead it talks more vaguely about “giving heads and teachers the power they need to restore discipline”. One to watch I think."
  • "There’s no mention of the “people’s bank bonus” proposed by the Conservatives, allowing people to buy stakes at a preferential rate when the nationalised banks are sold. This had been heavily criticised by the Lib Dems, and people in the city argue that the government’s shares should be sold to realise the maximum possible value for the taxpayer."

See Neil's full analysis at The Telegraph.

I've also noticed that the specificity on immigration has been diluted. The ambition to reduce immigration from the hundreds of thousands to the tens of thousands does not appear in the Coalition agreement.

In listing these concessions I would remind readers of my post of this morning. Despite the compromises there is still plenty of ambition from our new government.

Tim Montgomerie


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