Conservative Diary

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David Davis attacks 55% rule as a "very serious mistake"

Davis David blueb The former Shadow Home Secretary has broken his silence and has attacked the Coalition's proposal that 55% of MPs will be needed to dissolve Parliament. The LibCon government decided on the 55% threshold as part of a package that will see five year fixed-term parliaments introduced.

Speaking to Radio 4 at lunchtime Mr Davis described the threshold as a "very serious mistake." He continued:

"The consequence, in the extreme, is you could have a government in parliament which could command 45 per cent, or 45 per cent plus one, of parliamentary votes, but no more, and therefore couldn't deliver a budget, couldn't deliver its manifesto, couldn't deliver its normal legislation and yet couldn't be thrown out either... That is a, frankly, just a terrible formula for government. It could end up with a sort of crippled government."

I'm grateful to PoliticsHome for recording the words.

On ConservativeHome last week the new Leader of the Commons, Sir George Young defended the rule. 'We want fixed terms for parliament, not government,' he wrote. The Scottish Parliament has a 66% threshold for dissolution.

Downing Street will be worried that David Davis has spoken out so quickly. He is regarded as unbiddable by Mr Cameron. On climate change, banking regulation and electoral reform he could be a big thorn in the Coalition's right side.

Edward Leigh, Graham Brady and John Redwood (who has been loyal for years) are the other three likely leaders of the Right on the backbenches. IDS and Fox have been given the task of managing the Cabinet's relations with the various right-wing dining clubs and individuals. The great truth about the Conservative Right at present is that it has many big beasts but no coordination.

Tim Montgomerie

Tuesday am update:

> David Davis has written this article in the Daily Telegraph on the issue where he sets out his opposition to the move in full.


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