Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The problems of coalition

The simplistic description of parliamentary government says that if the government loses a vote, the government falls. Well, nothing can be that simple. Not all votes are equal. Not all defeats are disastrous.

(BTW, do you know why, in the photo below, the seats behind the PM are so well populated?)

Tory MPs defeated as benefit bill clear first Commons hurdle
Liberal Democrat and Labour MPs have joined forces to defeat Conservatives in a Commons vote to partly overturn housing benefit changes.

MPs backed the Affordable Homes Bill at second reading by 306 votes to 231…

The issue has split the coalition, with Lib Dem and Tory MPs and ministers voting along party lines…

After the vote, Conservative MP Philip Davies accused the Lib Dems - who backed the plans when they were initially approved by Parliament - of being "devious and untrustworthy".

He suggested there would now be a "free for all" for the remainder of the Parliament and the coalition government had "officially come to an end"…

And Labour's Rachel Reeves [said] "David Cameron and Nick Clegg's cruel and unfair 'bedroom tax' has hit hundreds of thousands of people across the country causing misery, hardship and forcing families to rely on food banks."

Typical day in commons. Not a full house. Like Congress?
Tory, Labour and Lib Dem MPs turned out in force to vote on the first stage of the bill, which would overturn aspects of controversial government legislation which came into force in April 2013…

What were the original changes?
The government's changes affected housing benefit, which is paid to less well-off tenants to help with rent.

In the past, claimants typically received between £50 and £100 a week. Since April 2013, tenants deemed to have one spare room have seen their rent support cut by 14% and those with two or more rooms by 25%.

Tenants can apply for discretionary housing payments to fill any shortfall between their benefit entitlement and the rent.

They can also downsize, but problems have arisen in some areas where there is a shortage of smaller homes. Campaigners say those affected face being forced to move long distances to find a property, or move into the private sector, where rents could be higher...

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At 7:44 AM, Blogger Ken Wedding said...

The seats behind the government "front benchers" are filled so that when Parliament's television camera focuses on the PM (or other government speaker at the dispatch box) it will look like Commons is full of hard-working MPs enthusiastically supporting the government.


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