Monday, 6 August 2012

Coalition Tiff Threatens Hedge End and Hamble Constituency

Nick Clegg has today announced the scrapping of the Lib Dems' plans to reform the House of Lords, blaming both David Cameron's failure to win over the 91 rebel Conservative backbenchers and, strangely, the Labour Party.  One of those Tory rebels was failed Hedge End Town Council candidate Conor Burns.

In a tit-for-tat revenge on his Tory partners, Clegg has told Cameron that his 57 MPs will no longer support the proposed boundary changes for the House of Commons which would have reduced the number of MPs to 600.  This despite a smaller House of Commons being a Lib Dem manifesto commitment.  The boundary changes would see Chris Huhne's Eastleigh constituency carved up, with some of the Eastleigh southern parishes moving to a new Hedge End and Hamble constituency.

In common with so much that the Lib Dems have proposed in coalition, the new constituency is an absolute dog's breakfast with wards from Southampton and Fareham with no geographical, historical, community or political affinity with Hedge End or Hamble stuck on to the edges to make the numbers work.  It is unlikely that anyone will mourn its passing if the Prime Minister fails to push the changes through without the help of his deputy.

Lib Dem activists (or at least those that are left after the recent slump in Lib Dem membership) must now be asking themselves what is the point of the coalition.  After embarrassing U turns on student tuition fees, nuclear power and nuclear weapons, and after meekly voting for Tory plans to dismantle the NHS and welfare state, they have had all their dreams of electoral reform thrown back in their faces.

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