Some of you have written in wanting me to cut loose from the Coalition and speak out for doctrinal purity. Others have written in urging me to support the Coalition.
I wish the Coalition every success. I have been arguing for months that this country needed to get rid of Mr Brown’s government, and needed a government which would start to control the deficit before the deficit swamps us. That has now occurred.
Contrary to those who fear “sell out” or “treachery” the events of the last few days have not suddenly changed my views on Europe, taxation, the enterprise economy or freedom. Just because the Conservatives are in coalition with the Lib dems I do not become an overnight convert to Lib Demmery, anymore than left of centre Lib Dems will suddenly become a convert to my views.
What both sides have to accept is that the Conservatives, the largest party, do not have the votes to implement their full manifesto, but they are the best placed to lead the task of financial and economic reconstruction which this country needs. The Lib dems can veto some of the things they most dislike. The Lib Dems did not have a good overall result, and they can only hope to get through those things which meet with the approval of many Conservatives. Thus, I have no problem voting for Income Tax cuts by raising thresholds rather than some other tax cut, but I could not vote for a Mansion Tax or for an increase in EU powers or an amnesty for asylum seekers.
Each individual issue of contention will cause argument and may cause rebellions in the Commons. What Eurosceptics have to appreciate – and I have no pleasure in reminding you of this – is that once again we have a Eurofederalist Commons, so rebellious Conservative Eurosceptics are unlikely to win as Labour -certainly under Miliband – will be firmly on the side of more European integration.
It therefore rests with us to influence the Coalition government in the right direction.They have a substantial majority for most of the things the two leadership teams agree. The large Conservative minority is the best buttress of our EU position we have.