Just when it is very important Ministers look in control of government, a Senior Minister calls for the arbortion age to be lowered from 24 weeks to 12 weeks. This is followed by two other Cabinet Ministers saying they personally want it lowered to 20 weeks. Meanwhile Downing Street puts out that it will stay at 24 weeks. The Coalition government has no intention of changing the age limit, we are told. I doubt there is a majority in the current Parliament to reduce the limit to 20 weeks, and I am sure there is no chance of Parliament lowering it to 12 weeks.
I do not understand why we needed an argument about abortion if there is no plan to make any changes. I do understand that in a Coalition there will be occasions and issues when Lib Dem Ministers on the one hand, and Conservative Ministers on the other, wish to say their parties have different views and different approaches to big issues. That reminds us all when that happens that the resulting policy is a compromise, and heartens the supporters of the respective parties that their leading lights are thinking of what they wish to do should they win the next election with a single party majority.
I would be happy, for example, for Conservative Ministers to explain how they would change our relationship with the EU given a majority, whilst Lib Dem Ministers explained how they like the current relationship. That would be sensible political differentiation. That is what party conferences are for. I do not understand how a statement now of the disagreements between Conservative Ministers over abortion is productive.