Jump to content
House Price Crash Forum

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Ologhai Jones

The 55% To Dissolve Parliament Thing

Recommended Posts

(I did just look for a thread on this, and was surprised not to find one -- sorry if it's there and I missed it.)

I'm a little puzzled about the 55% to dissolve parliament thing that's in the news just now.

I've heard a couple of times that this higher-than-50% threshold is to 'protect the Lib-Dems' from the Conservatives being able to dissolve parliament without them... but the Conservatives don't have 50% of the seats in the HoC -- that's why they're in coalition with the LDs.

Perhaps someone could explain the arithmetic and also the thinking behind the 55% thing?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I assumed it was to protect the Conservatives from the Lib-Dems. If the LDs dropped out, they could pull a no-confidence vote and end Parliament. But as the Tories have 47%(?) of the vote, with a 55% rule, they can keep Parliament going for five years on their own.

(Personally, I think it's a daft, short-termist, gerrymandering idea worthy of Mandelslime. Shouldn't be done. The coalition is precarious - that's just the truth, and must be accepted, and worked from.)

agreed

they might be able to stop the dissolution parliament but trying to keep on going in the face of a collapsed coalition and a potential inability to pass any legislation would be futile and petty.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I assumed it was to protect the Conservatives from the Lib-Dems. If the LDs dropped out, they could pull a no-confidence vote and end Parliament. But as the Tories have 47%(?) of the vote, with a 55% rule, they can keep Parliament going for five years on their own.

(Personally, I think it's a daft, short-termist, gerrymandering idea worthy of Mandelslime. Shouldn't be done. The coalition is precarious - that's just the truth, and must be accepted, and worked from.)

Most of the people who are getting irate about it seem to prefer 50%, but, if the fixed-term parliament thing is such a wonderful idea, then surely, for the arithmetic we'd normally be accustomed to in the HoC, the dissolution percentage should be a lot higher than that -- and even higher than 55%, because a government (in this case the coalition with 55% or so of the seats between them) shouldn't be able to call an election when they feel like it, should they?

Mostly, we have a majority government (EDIT: I mean a party with an absolute majority forming the government), and if a government can choose to dissolve parliament unilaterally, then the whole fixed-term parliament (and not allowing incumbents a general election whenever they feel like it) is a facade, no?

What percentage should be generally adopted in support of fixed-term parliaments to make sure governments can't just do what they do now anyway?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I see Labour are bleating about this. Someone should remind them that the Scottish Parliament that they brought into being requires 66% to vote for dissolution.

I do agree its a bad idea, however. A majority should mean 50% + 1 vote. A real case of short-termism and not the best way to start the new Parliament

Edit : Ologhai - didn't see your post. Good points.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I assumed it was to protect the Conservatives from the Lib-Dems. If the LDs dropped out, they could pull a no-confidence vote and end Parliament. But as the Tories have 47%(?) of the vote, with a 55% rule, they can keep Parliament going for five years on their own.

(Personally, I think it's a daft, short-termist, gerrymandering idea worthy of Mandelslime. Shouldn't be done. The coalition is precarious - that's just the truth, and must be accepted, and worked from.)

I'm not sure it's so short-termist. If the lib-dems get their way with AV then it's unlikely we'll se a genuine majority government again. It makes sense to lower the bar a little for what actually constitutes majority government in these circumstances.

Coupled with a reduction in the number of MPs, particularly in Scotland and Wales to stop the over-representation of these regions, I think we have a good package of reform.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest X-QUORK

The 55% rule will only come into play if the government wants to dissolve itself, a normal vote of no confidence will still be able to be raised by other party members using the 50% + 1 rule already in place.

There really is nothing to see here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh, I hadn't thought of it that way. You mean they could call a vote of no confidence in themselves (if they had a normal 55%+ majority) and have an election, circumventing the fixed-term rule.

Good point, but it would be a very strange way to start an election campaign: "We have no confidence in ourselves...".

I'm not really clear on this, but some commentators seems to saying that the new government isn't planning on changing the 'no confidence' percentage that already exists, but introducing a new 'dissolution of parliament' percentage along with the fixed-term parliament 'package'.

If that is the case, then, as I say, it would seem a bit odd to have a dissolution of parliament percentage that the government's party (or parties) alone can muster.

I suppose I ought to try to double-check that there are (at least) two separate percentages ('no confidence' and 'dissolution'), but that would side-step the weirdness of voting for no confidence in themselves if I'm correct.

EDIT: Too slow! ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The 55% rule will only come into play if the government wants to dissolve itself, a normal vote of no confidence will still be able to be raised by other party members using the 50% + 1 rule already in place.

There really is nothing to see here.

I think this is correct, but still -- if the government wants (and is able) to dissolve itself in a so-called fixed-term parliament regime, how is that much different that what we had prior to the introduction of fixed-term parliaments?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The 55% rule will only come into play if the government wants to dissolve itself, a normal vote of no confidence will still be able to be raised by other party members using the 50% + 1 rule already in place.

There really is nothing to see here.

Sorry X-Quork do you have a link for that ?

Because I very much doubt that this is the case. It wouldn't make sense, and I speak as someone who thinks this is probably a good idea (for this parliament at least).

Tories + LibDems HAVE more than 55% (55.8% not including the 1 result still to come and not dedducting the seinn Fein seats). Tories on their own HAVE 47%, below the old 50%. So introducing this rule, in the way you have outlined, makes no difference whatsoever. The parties can still vote "no confidence" in the way the 50%+1 rule allowed (if together) and could not do so singly (as the old rule allowed). No change has been made to the status quo, and it has exposed them to attack. Seemingly (on these rules) for no reason.

OTOH if it applies to all parties it does make sense. Lib-Dems+Labour+Others do have 50%+1 but they do not have 55% so it would stop Lib-Dems unilaterally ending the coalition..... the law on PM's not being able to dissolve parliament (and their only 47% seat share) prevents Cameron from unilaterally doing the same.

It makes sense the "way it has been presented" in the past, and it doesn't the way you have presented it...... so link please......

Yours,

TGP

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Carl Gardner, Barrister and legal adviser to the Government for 10 years:

"This proposed legislation, though, seems to aim at preventing an election even if 54% of MPs want one. That is wrong in principle, it's undemocratic, and it must be opposed.

"What it would mean is that if the coalition broke down, the Con-LibDem administration would end too. Of course. But there wouldn't and couldn't be an election. Instead, a minority Conservative government would be able to carry on - its 306 seats giving it a blocking minority of 47% - and as long as it kept discipline it could rule without the confidence of Parliament. Bear in mind that this could happen the moment this new legislation comes into force, which is presumably intended to be soon, so that government could go on, effectively behind Parliamentary barricades, for months or for several years. Even for this to be theoretically possible is, I'm afraid, outrageous and unconscionable. Whatever government we have, it must be accountable to Parliament."

Conservativehome(!!):

"A majority of MPs could vote down a government, and yet it could keep on trundling in power.

"I am not sure where this idea came from; it has rather a tinge from the days of the sacked European Commission.

"Having pondered the revolutionary change last night and pored over Erskine May this morning, the reality seems even more striking. I could find in its many pages no actual definition of what constitutes a majority in Parliament. The centuries-old presumption is that it is a majority of one. Ink is expended explaining Speaker Addington's decision of 1796, and three decisions by Speaker Denison between 1860 and 1870, where votes were tied and the Speaker's vote (and his deputy's) counted. But beyond that, the definition of a majority is so obvious it requires no comment or definition.

"That is the measure of the revolution at hand."

Scott Styles, a senior lecturer in the school of law at Aberdeen University in the Times:

"Firstly, Cameron is renouncing his right as PM to dissolve Parliament at a time of his choosing. Politically this seems unwise but legally it is unproblematic: in effect, the government is surrendering a right.

"The second and much more fundamental problem is the raising of the bar of a no-confidence vote in the government to 55% rather than simple majority of those MPs present and voting. This is a major and fundamental alteration in our constitution and what is being changed is not a right of the PM but a power of the Commons."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's not inherently undemocratic since it would have to be voted into law by a simple majority and could similarly be repealed by a simple majority. The objective is to put a lock on the door to make it harder for the LibDems to bail out.

A more elegant solution might be to introduce a 'Constructive vote of no confidence':

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constructive_vote_of_no_confidence

The constructive vote of no confidence (in German: konstruktives Misstrauensvotum) is a variation on the motion of no confidence which only allows a parliament to withdraw confidence from a head of government only if there is a positive majority for a prospective successor. The concept was invented in Germany but is today also used in Spain, Hungary and Slovenia.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Radio 4 - Today Program 14th May 2010

The whole thing is worth a listen, but if you're in a rush, start at about 2 mins 5 secs.

I listened to it.

And I have to say the guy making this argument wasn;t making a lot of sense. He was saying "It's 55%, but only for dissolving parliament and only to prevent the tories dissolving parliament on their own".

WELL....... they only have 47% of the seats ! The old system would have prevented them from doing it on their own, or any other party.

The only possible combination of parties 55% would protect against that 50%+1 wouldn't is a LD+Lab+Oth coalition.

So I went to check the text of the coalition agreement again. It says....

This legislation will also provide for dissolution if 55% or more of the House votes in favour.

With no mention of "55% of the house if the tories vote for it, but 50+1% of the votes if someone else does."

Theoretically, it would allow (I presume) a 50+1% "no confidence" measure to pass. But parliament would not dissolve as the tories (with their 47%) would prevent the dissolution passing and would carry on as a minority govt.

Again, that 47% would not have been enough for them to dissolve parliament on their own in any case even under the old rules. It only seems.... given the numbers.... to cut one way allowing them to PREVENT a coalition of others from dissolving parliament but adding no extra protection to them doing so than the old rule of 50+1% conferred.

I don't think we can settle this until that one line in the coalition agreement is much more fullsomely fleshed out.

Yours,

TGP

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Radio 4 - Today Program 14th May 2010

The whole thing is worth a listen, but if you're in a rush, start at about 2 mins 5 secs.

I still don't know that I'm any the wiser.

The title on that page is: "55% Commons threshold 'protects the Lib Dems'", but I don't know why they need protecting. If the dissolution percentage was 50% (which, presumably, would've caused less of an uproar), then the Conservatives wouldn't have been able to unilaterally dissolve parliament, as they have around 47% of the seats in the HoC.

So, what is it supposed to be protecting the Lib Dems from?

Furthermore, the current government (albeit a coalition) has a 56% majority -- governments normally do have some form of majority, so this means that they can unilaterally dissolve parliament and trigger a general election -- just like the incumbent has always been able to do -- so how will the introduction of fixed-term parliaments be any different than the way it's always been, at least in principle?

EDIT: Damn! Too slow again! :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

BBC website Q&A on the 55% rule.

It sounds as if the 'rule' isn't fully fleshed out yet, and in any case is intended to be debated in the HoC, so the vocal opposition are perhaps just ranting about something (that isn't clear and hasn't been fully decided upon by Parliament as a whole) just because they like to rant and try to score party-political points?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is blowing up to be a big row.

Old Tories are not happy and Cameron has gone long on supporting it.

Could be a blood bath if enough on the Right would rather go back to the country rather than be in coalition.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is blowing up to be a big row.

Old Tories are not happy and Cameron has gone long on supporting it.

Could be a blood bath if enough on the Right would rather go back to the country rather than be in coalition.

Be careful what you wish for !

I suspect if the right wing Tories did force the party, aganist it's will, back to the polls BOTH the lib dems and the Tories would take a beating.

Labour would almost certainly be the beneficiary.

This would not be fatal for the LD's .... Because even reduced to, say, 40-50 seats labour would probably still require them for a coalition... But the Tories would certainly be out in the cold and I don't think the LW of the labour party would have the same political suicide impulse of thentories right wing.

Do posters really think that if the Tory party tore itself to peices in public like this.... With open warfare between it's liberal pro coalition wing and it's right wing euroskeptic wing that this would result in MORE Tory votes in a forced early GE ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Be careful what you wish for !

I suspect if the right wing Tories did force the party, aganist it's will, back to the polls BOTH the lib dems and the Tories would take a beating.

Labour would almost certainly be the beneficiary.

This would not be fatal for the LD's .... Because even reduced to, say, 40-50 seats labour would probably still require them for a coalition... But the Tories would certainly be out in the cold and I don't think the LW of the labour party would have the same political suicide impulse of thentories right wing.

Do posters really think that if the Tory party tore itself to peices in public like this.... With open warfare between it's liberal pro coalition wing and it's right wing euroskeptic wing that this would result in MORE Tory votes in a forced early GE ?

But isn't it a case of acting out of principle rather than out of party interest. So getting more Tory votes is not the important issue.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But isn't it a case of acting out of principle rather than out of party interest. So getting more Tory votes is not the important issue.

Possibly youre right there.

But what is the issue ? That any coalition government must always be unstable under uk rules ? Is that a principle worth going to the mat for ?

I don't know I am conflicted over whether this is neccessarily a bad thing.

Yours,

TGP

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Be careful what you wish for !

I suspect if the right wing Tories did force the party, aganist it's will, back to the polls BOTH the lib dems and the Tories would take a beating.

Labour would almost certainly be the beneficiary.

This would not be fatal for the LD's .... Because even reduced to, say, 40-50 seats labour would probably still require them for a coalition... But the Tories would certainly be out in the cold and I don't think the LW of the labour party would have the same political suicide impulse of thentories right wing.

Do posters really think that if the Tory party tore itself to peices in public like this.... With open warfare between it's liberal pro coalition wing and it's right wing euroskeptic wing that this would result in MORE Tory votes in a forced early GE ?

Sounds a good outcome to me. But first Labour needs a new leader, so they may hold back until the next coalition crisis.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If Neolabour had tried this the screaming would have been heard around the globe.

Labour not only tried, they made it law with a higher bar of 66%.

'Q&A: The 55% rule':

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/8682959.stm

What happens in other countries with fixed-term parliaments?

Both the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly have fixed terms with a "safety valve" - if at least 66% of MSPs or AMs vote for dissolution - or if they do not nominate someone to be first minister - they are dissolved and an election triggered.

Now UK MPs are to get a similar power...

'Q&A: The 55% rule':

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/8682959.stm

Currently MPs have no power to dissolve parliament. That is a matter for the prime minister, who asks the Queen to do so and can currently do so at any time of his or her choosing within a five-year term. New plans for fixed term parliaments will actually give MPs extra powers in that, if 55% of them back it, they will be able to dissolve Parliament.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest happy?

The 55% rule will only come into play if the government wants to dissolve itself, a normal vote of no confidence will still be able to be raised by other party members using the 50% + 1 rule already in place.

There really is nothing to see here.

There is something to see here.

A vote of no confidence previously meant the dissolution of Parliament - it now means nothing of the sort as a minority administration which fails a vote of no confidence can carry-on unabashed.

It's good to see a few principled Tories have seen it for what it is whilst the others are already performing ideological somersaults before the 'great reform bill' has had a first reading. Last week there were dozens of voices here decrying Labour's abuses of the constitution, this week the same people act as apologists for an illiberal and entirely unnecessary measure overturning hundreds of years of parliamentary tradition.

When you sup with the devil and all that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • 261 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.