12 June 2012

Lib Dems let Hunt off the hook

Lib Dem Voice reports that all 57 Lib Dem MPs will abstain on a Labour motion to hold an independent investigation into whether Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt broke the ministerial code.

The effect of this action is to give the Tories a majority - so its effect is no different from supporting him.  It is a ludicrous position to be in - if the party doesn't think Hunt's position is tenable it should say so and vote accordingly.  As this blog  argued back in April  - Hunt is toast anyway - and the more decisive the action against him the better it is for both parliamentary standards and the reputation of the coalition in dealing with sleaze.

Abstention reinforces the widely held view that Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems are the Tories poodles and will do nothing to promote the new kind of sleaze free cooperative politics that the coalition was supposed to represent.

It also shows that the civil service rules on collective governmental responsibilities are totally unsuitable for coaltition politics.  If the coalition is to survive then the rules of engagement between the parties have to change.  Coalition is not a marriage - it is a short term working arrangement.  And the rules need to reflect that.

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