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Liberal Democrats' best impact has been to raise income tax threshold; worst impact has been to stop Human Rights law reform

By Tim Montgomerie
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In the end-May edition of the ConservativeHome monthly poll we asked Tory members to identify where the Liberal Democrats had made the THREE most positive and most negative impacts on the Coalition. The results are summarised in the charts below...

Click on the charts to enlarge.



57% of Conservative members say the single best thing that our alliance with the Liberal Democrats has produced has been cuts in tax for the low-paid; the ambition to take every worker earning less than £10,000 out of the income tax system. This was always a popular policy with Tory members but had been rejected, in opposition, by the party leadership. If we had governed on our own the abolition of inheritance tax and a tax break for married couples would probably have come first.

Nearly 55% of Tory members say the other clearly good thing about the Coalition is the way that it has left Labour looking isolated on the need for cuts.

On the negative side Tory members identify keeping the human rights act, then slowing the NHS reforms and then keeping Britain at the heart of the EU as the three things where Liberal Democrat influence has been least good. In reality, Tory members may be blaming the Liberal Democrats for things that the Cameron leadership might have done (or not done) anyway, even if it had had a majority.

My own answers would be:

  • The Liberal Democrats have been most positive in delivering the income tax threshold, isolating Labour on cuts and strengthening IDS' hand on the Universal Benefit.
  • They have been most negative in delivering economically dangerous climate change policies, blocking support for marriage and the family, and turning the tuition fees policy into a dog's breakfast.


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