Housing benefits and lost votes


On  Friday the Conservative party was defeated three times in the House of Commons over a Bill to amend housing benefits. A Liberal Democrat MP with the full support of Liberal Democrat Ministers proposed substantial  changes to Housing Benefits without the agreement of Conservative Ministers. Conservative Ministers asked the Conservative Parliamentary party to vote down the measure.

There were three main issues in play. The first is the Referendum Bill. Conservatives are keen to legislate this Parliament for an EU referendum to be held before the end of 2017 giving people an In/Out choice.  Labour and Liberal Democrats are against a referendum. They wish to accord priority to other private members bills to try to squeeze out the Referendum Bill which is in third place following the ballot. This was the highest placed Bill slot which any Conservative was allotted.  The Conservative party wished to vote down the Lib Dem Bill to give the Referendum Bill more chance of c0mpleting its passage before March and the end of this Parliament. If it remains third in the queue its chances are reduced.

The second issue  is controlling the state deficit and the affordability of welfare. The cost of the Lib Dem proposed  Bill would be an extra £1 billion of spending a year. It was not just a measure to assist the disabled and those unable to find a suitable smaller property. Indeed these  hard cases are already  being taken care of through extra benefit money made available to Councils to help people who need a larger property because they are disabled, or who cannot find a smaller one. The Bill also includes removing deductions to Housing Benefit where other earners live in the property. Conservatives received  no answer to the question what else  the Lib Dems and Labour would  cut to pay for this, or which tax would they increase.

The third is the Liberal Democrats clearly wanted to find an issue which played into one of Labour’s biggest campaigns so they had a chance of winning in the Commons against the Conservatives. For them it was good politics, showing they wish to align themselves more on the left as they have been losing too many votes to Labour. They hope they are rehearsing for a future Lib/Lab coalition.

On the day Labour and Liberal Democrats did well mobilising their full forces.  They do have the votes to defeat Conservatives if they all unite, as they did. The absence of some Conservatives made the defeat bigger.

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  1. Mark B
    Posted September 7, 2014 at 5:14 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    Why do you not make all those items that you agreed upon in you little pact, conditional upon the Lib Dems being in office. ie If they do not like it, they can leave, and are encouraged to do so. I mean, it is not as if you are any better off with them in government.

    But I suppose, they do have their little uses. Similar to that of an umbrella when it is raining.

    • Mark W
      Posted September 7, 2014 at 6:57 am | Permalink

      Quite correct. Sack them from government and go early.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted September 7, 2014 at 9:30 am | Permalink

        Go early with the polls as they are? It seems rather unlikely that either the Tories or the Libdems would want that.

        Perhaps the best hope is Scotland leaves and that gives Cameron an excuse to change his strategy hugely. After all does he want Miliband to arrange the new so called “democracy” post Scotland in Labour’s interests.

        • Hope
          Posted September 7, 2014 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

          JR, you forget that Cameron had already insisted on a three line whip to prevent an EU referendum taking place, now you want to cry about this nonsense for political posturing. Too late it does not wash. Cameron wanted to wed the Lib Dems, he could have followed the leadership of Steve Harper and led a minority government, then go for early election to get a better majority. He has failed on all counts and wants us to re elect him! Good luck with that con. The issue of the EU arrest warrant opt in he wants also shows his true colours.

          Reply A 3 line which many of us broke and then persuaded him we were right and he was wrong. He did change his mind.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted September 7, 2014 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

            Perhaps, but far more changes are still needed and it is probably too late now.

        • Mark B
          Posted September 7, 2014 at 3:40 pm | Permalink


          It is better to do things early, than wait in hope. The Coalition Agreement should have been subject to a national referendum, binding both parties to it. Look upon it as the will of the people. But like always, we never get a say.

          If the Lib Dems cannot agree on matters after, then they should go or, the Prime Minister should have the courage to call a GE and face them down on principle.

  2. Steve Cox
    Posted September 7, 2014 at 5:25 am | Permalink

    The coalition is dead, so why do we have to endure this ugly Con-Dem corpse haunting the corridors of Whitehall? If he had just a little more backbone than a sand eel Mr Cameron would simply kick the Lib Dems out and rule as a minority government until next May. The fact that he’s still comfortable dealing with them speaks volumes about his principles, and perhaps even more about his own politics.

    One off-topic point related to the Scottish referendum. Mr Cameron has stated that he would not resign in the case of a Yes vote, but yet again this simply shows his lack of judgement and poor understanding of the public mood. He would lose so much credibility both nationally and internationally if Scotland votes Yes that he would no longer be able to function as Prime Minister. He might be unable to see it now but he would find very quickly that he has no option but to resign. Actually, that might be a good reason to hope for a Yes vote, not only would there be much less risk of lunatic left-wing governments in future but we might also be rid of a Prime Minister who has all the weaknesses and failings of John Major and Ted Heath yet none of their redeeming features.

    • A different Simon
      Posted September 7, 2014 at 8:46 am | Permalink

      Cameron like his mentor Anthony Blair has the attention span of a butterfly and will soon reach his boredom threshold with being in domestic office .

      Being British Prime Minister was only ever a stepping stone for Mr Cameron .

      The prospect of using his charisma to broker peace in the Middle East or the lure of that big job in Brussels will be too much for him to resist .

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 7, 2014 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

      You are perfectly right that Cameron should accept responsibility and resign if the people in Scotland vote to break up the country. On the other hand he is also perfectly right to say that he wouldn’t, given that some Scots might vote to break up the country just for the pleasure of seeing him resign.

      • petermartin2001
        Posted September 7, 2014 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

        Yes absolutely right! The referendum on Independence for Scotland should be about that and nothing else.

  3. Old Albion
    Posted September 7, 2014 at 5:55 am | Permalink

    So, if i’m reading this right? It’s possible (probable) the EU(ssr) referendum bill will not make it, this parliament. Which means ‘cast-iron’ Cameron will be able to duck out of offering a referendum, blaming the opposition.

    Reply No he will not duck out, but we might not be able to get it through before the election.

    • matthu
      Posted September 7, 2014 at 7:50 am | Permalink

      Last time around the bill was killed in the House of Lords which has been stacked by both of the major Westminster psrties with Europhiles – and not coincidentally both have denied UKIP a representative share of members in the House of Lords.

      So even if the private member’s bill makes it through the HoC in time for the election, it would meet the same opposition in the House of Lords – and David Cameron knows this.

      Reply Not so. We will use the Parliament Act!

      • matthu
        Posted September 7, 2014 at 8:38 am | Permalink

        John – can you please clarify whether Private Bills are subject to the Parliament Acts? This link seems to suggest not:


        Reply This Private member’s bill is a public bill. A private bill applies to a particular interest or place.

        • matthu
          Posted September 7, 2014 at 5:26 pm | Permalink


      • Denis Cooper
        Posted September 7, 2014 at 11:56 am | Permalink

        You won’t be able to use the Parliament Acts if MPs opposed to the Bill can force through even a single “helpful” or “constructive” amendment.

        • matthu
          Posted September 7, 2014 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

          Agree – that would be the same as voting the bill down. But it would also have the same effect i.e. you would be able to identify which political party had voted to frustrate the bill.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted September 8, 2014 at 6:58 am | Permalink

            Yes, there is PR value for the Tories whether the Bill passes or their rivals are seen to block it. However last time Labour and the LibDems managed to kill it off quietly in the Lords without arousing any significant public reaction. This time they might be forced to directly kill it off in the Commons, or more subtly they could make some arguably valuable amendment, which would mean that it was no longer the same Bill that was passed the first time.


            ” (4) A Bill shall be deemed to be the same Bill as a former Bill sent up to the House of Lords in the preceding session if, when it is sent up to the House of Lords, it is identical with the former Bill or contains only such alterations as are certified by the Speaker of the House of Commons to be necessary owing to the time which has elapsed since the date of the former Bill, or to represent any amendments which have been made by the House of Lords in the former Bill in the preceding session, and any amendments which are certified by the Speaker to have been made by the House of Lords [F1in the second session] and agreed to by the House of Commons shall be inserted in the Bill as presented for Royal Assent in pursuance of this section”

            So then the Parliament Acts could not be used to bypass the Lords, where Labour and the LibDems could once again kill it off relatively quietly.

            But it is only a PR battle, nothing more than that.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 7, 2014 at 10:34 am | Permalink

      But Cameron will not have a majority after May 2015 and certainly not one sufficient to outvote the Ken Clark “BBC think” wing of his party.

      Anyway Cameron is on this wing, when judged by his actions.

  4. Margaret Brandreth-J
    Posted September 7, 2014 at 6:18 am | Permalink

    How about organising a pressure group to sit in on question time etc and heckle

    • Alan
      Posted September 7, 2014 at 7:55 am | Permalink

      There already is a pressure group which sits in on Question Time and heckles. It’s called Parliament. They do heckling quite well.

      • Margaret Brandreth-J
        Posted September 7, 2014 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

        No well enough it would seem.They do not challenge enough and take little notice of the strong feelings surrounding our EU membership.

    • A different Simon
      Posted September 7, 2014 at 9:01 am | Permalink

      Margaret ,

      The canned laughter style clapping on Question time does not come from a colony of seals but a very carefully selected audience .

      The booing of UKIP deputy leaders who have the temerity to state that the UK needs proper border controls is an example of how Question Time seeks to shut down genuine debate .

      This is the progressive consensus in action – because the major parties agree on all the big issues they think it is a waste of time debating these things .

      Worse still , once consensus has been reached , for instance on climate change , they seek to stifle any remaining opposition . Hence why the BBC is supposed to seek permission from the H.O.C. before giving air time to sceptics .

      Whether they call themselves Conservatives , Lib Dem’s or Labour they are all Marxists .

      • Hefner
        Posted September 7, 2014 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

        I am curious to know: What part of the Conservatives’, Lib-Dems’ or Labour’s present policies is Marxist?

        • Lifelogic
          Posted September 7, 2014 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

          I would not use the word Marxist but they are clearly all for higher taxes, bigger government, ever more regulation, more EUSSR and far less freedoms for the individual, even democracy and all the green crap exaggeration and subsidies.

  5. Cheshire Girl
    Posted September 7, 2014 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    This is the reason I hope we never have a coalition again. It gives the perfect excuse for one party to blame the other. No one has to take responsibility for anything as they can always say ‘the lib dems/tories wouldnt agree to it’. Personally, I’ m sick to death of excuses. I hope that at the next election one party wins with a clear majority.

    • Mike Stallard
      Posted September 7, 2014 at 8:59 am | Permalink

      Mr Miliband, GMB, Unite, Unison would all agree with you!

    • Ted Monbiot
      Posted September 7, 2014 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

      I agree and you are describing why I do not ever want proportional representation as a system of voting because this is precisely what occurs after every election.

  6. Paul H
    Posted September 7, 2014 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    Two things.

    How much longer are you lot going to put up with the LibDems abandoning collective responsibility and being disloyal when it suits them? They are part of the government, but it seems only the Tories are required to maintain faith with agreed policies which they don’t like.

    If Cameron is so determined to get the bill through, why leave it to the fortunes of a private member’s bill? If the answer is that the LibDems won’t let him make if government business, then he needs to grow a pair – frankly. The LibDems don’t seem to mind undermining the Coalition when it suits them.

    • Cliff. Wokingham.
      Posted September 7, 2014 at 11:09 am | Permalink

      I agree Paul.

      I for one am getting sick and tired of seeing Clegg sat behind the PM with the look of someone with a lump of dog’s mess on his upper lip as the PM answers questions or makes policy annoucements.

      Why is Clegg and Co still there?…..I suspect it suits Mr Cameron to have a human shield to take the flack, and them being there, also allows Mr Cameron to justify all of his non Conservative policies.

      I think if Mr Cameron does not resign, should Scotland vote yes later this month, then the opinion which many of us hold about Mr Cameron’s core beliefs, integrity and reasons for being in Parliament would be proven to be correct.

      Here’s a simple clue for Mr Cameron; If someone presides over a party which claims to be the Conservative and Unionist Party of Great Britain and on that leader’s watch, part of that union votes to leave the union, then that leader should go because, on the face of it, that leader has failed in one of the party’s core reasons to exist.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted September 7, 2014 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

      Paul–I have asked in the past how far the balance of power should be allowed to go, in the past using say 49.5 %, 49.5% 1.0% as a reductio but unfortunately that isn’t so far-fetched given that the Liberals got 2% in the last, Clacton, Poll. Clegg truly has essentially no support so why does he get so much air time? The answer that he is Deputy Prime Minister, based solely on the balance of power and to his close to having blackmailing the Tories is, fatuous.

  7. They Work for US?
    Posted September 7, 2014 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    The BBC reported yesterday that 50 Scottish Labour MPs broke off activities campaigning for a “no” vote for Independence and returned to Westminster to vote against the government on an issue that is not applied in Scotland.
    English voters should see Sottish MPs handed their P45 s immediately following a “Yes” vote and negotiations carried out by a committee of English MPs forming a Scotland liaison group. No chance of this. We will be saddled with the twin corpses of the EU and he likes of Gordon Brown for the 2015 election.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 7, 2014 at 11:51 am | Permalink

      Whatever the outcome of the poll on September 18th Scotland will still be part of the UK on September 19th, and UK citizens resident in Scotland will still be fully entitled to representation in the UK Parliament unless and until Scotland actually ceases to be part of the UK, which personally I still hope will not happen because the consequences would be pretty dire for all concerned.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted September 7, 2014 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

        Denis–As I have said before, Be of good cheer, because there will be considerable mitigation for the United Kingdom if there is a vote for Break Up. I don’t say “remainder of” because the UK going forward would be more not less united. One does get a bit fed up at the Scots carping at the English. At present the South of England subsidises the North of England and subsidises Scotland even more and I reckon we could survive the latter coming to an end; not to mention Miliband being cut off at the knees. That said, I write hoping for a Better Together win and in fact cannot believe that the Scots will fall for Salmond and his OTT promises and denials of absolutely everything that other people have said, in particular his saying that Scotland can re-enter the EU, and quickly, without a central bank of its own and (apparently) without having to commit to joining the Euro.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted September 7, 2014 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

          If it’s a “yes” vote we’ll see how long people in England now rooting for that remain in good cheer as the consequences unfold.

          • Leslie Singleton
            Posted September 7, 2014 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

            Denis–Indeed we shall, if it turns out that way. Your latest just begs the question. All we have is opinions right now and mine is that, if it is forced upon us, the UK can with the right politics become more like Switzerland, or Singapore, or Hong Kong.

  8. acorn
    Posted September 7, 2014 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    At the constituency doorstep level, Lib Dems hate Tories and, Tories think Lib Dems are something they stepped in. There is no natural alliance between the two and definitely not on welfare benefits of any kind. Lib Dems are much closer to Labour on wages and benefits.

    Pre-election contact between opposition parties and the civil service starts in October this time. Deliberately cut short by Cameron to try and screw the opposition and his coalition partner. It was recommended to be 12 months under fixed term parliaments. So, now there are just opening skirmishes, political civil war will brake out after October and after the Scottish vote.

    IMHO everything is riding on the Scottish independence vote. A yes vote will be the greatest opportunity to pull English democracy out of the nineteenth century and into the twenty-first. Crikey!!! we may even get a written Constitution; non-partisan primary elections and stuff like modern countries have. I am even prepared to lose my bet on a Tory win in 2015, to see that happen.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 7, 2014 at 11:35 am | Permalink

      I see no reason at all to suppose that the break up of our country would “be the greatest opportunity to pull English democracy out of the nineteenth century and into the twenty-first.” It’s not as if the presence of Scottish representatives in the UK Parliament has in any way ever prevented that happening before at any time during the past three centuries, is it? Isn’t it just a fantasy to suppose that we need to break up our country to do something we could have done anyway?

      • acorn
        Posted September 7, 2014 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

        We could have done Denis, but we didn’t. The UK is littered with things we could have done. Google; facebook; Microsoft; TSR2; Mercedes Benz etc etc, we could have done all those.

        Ah but, we did become a world leader in flogging dodgy mortgage backed securities and insuring them, so we could cash in again when they inevitably failed.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted September 7, 2014 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

          We didn’t in the past and there’s no reason why we should do so in the future just because Scotland had left the UK. If the English had wanted something that was feasible then they could always have got it by changing the way they voted for the 82% of MPs who are elected in England, the other 18% could not have stopped it.

          • a-tracy
            Posted September 9, 2014 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

            Hi Dennis, it seems to me and its only my opinion that in the Blair years 1997-2007 we had a predominant Scottish cabinet 40% represented by Scots which was completely disproportionate and ended up with this devolution settlement, a Scottish parliament with extra costs to the taxpayer giving double representation and only English teenagers with a graduate tax of 9% on loans from £30,000 to £50,000 now voted in by Scottish MPs whose constituents it didn’t affect. The Scottish people then were still not satisfied with their settlement and still want more than a fair share. I do wonder why our 82% of English MPs havent got us a fair deal and I’m sure that this Scottish independence settlement fiasco will filter through to the rest of the UK as its all we hear about. I’m beginning to believe the Scots are still not going to be satisfied. I’m beginning to wonder if we are better together after all.

        • libertarian
          Posted September 7, 2014 at 8:49 pm | Permalink


          Just for the record we ( i.e. UK Banks) didn’t invent or flog many mortgage backed securities. They were invented primarily by Solomon Bros a US investment bank, very few UK banks were involved in trading mortgage backed securities and we had nothing whatsoever to do with insuring them, that in fact was Aon a US insurance company. So sadly we weren’t even very good at that

          • acorn
            Posted September 8, 2014 at 6:57 am | Permalink

            Aon is a British PLC, now actually headquartered in London. (Who did you mean ed?)

          • libertarian
            Posted September 8, 2014 at 8:42 pm | Permalink


            Beg your pardon, I did of course mean AIG

  9. alan jutson
    Posted September 7, 2014 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    So this vote against a referendum was on a private bill, and because the Conservatives lost the vote, Mr Cameron thinks this politically will give him some small advantage with his referendum pledge at the next election.

    If Mr Cameron was so wedded to a referendum he should made efforts, as many have said here for years, to put through legislation to make a referendum mandatory in this parliament, then if that had been voted down, he could rightly have gone to the country at the next election saying, well I tried, but failed to get a majority, so if you give me a majority next time we will get one.

    Everyone would then know where he stood.

    Yes I think you’re right, this is now all about all Party’s positioning themselves for the next election, so b**ger the population and the needs of the Country.

    Bribery with our own money once again is being promoted by Labour and Lib Dems, nothing changes.


    Reply He cannot do a government bill for a referendum as the Lib Dems block it!

    • oldtimer
      Posted September 7, 2014 at 8:56 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply:
      Then end the coalition, operate as a minority government and bring the Bill forward as a government measure. What are the arguments against such a course of action?

      Re party political positioning and the reported return of 50 Scottish MPs to vote in the division, on the Marr Show Nicola Sturgeon of the SNP argued the case for Scottish independence on the grounds that Scotland would no longer be run under a Conservative government – such a possibility was unacceptable to her. The rush of the No campaign politicians to offer more devolution powers to Scotland implicitly reinforces that idea, namely that Scottish voters can travel first class while the rest of the UK travels 2nd class. The final two weeks will, no doubt, see the Labour party climbing on board this band wagon of more devolution to preserve its Scottish MP voting base and its grip on the UK national government. MPs need to wake up fast to the total and utter unacceptability of the unresolved West Lothian question if the No campaign does prevail.

    • alan jutson
      Posted September 7, 2014 at 9:14 am | Permalink

      reply = reply

      He could have put one forward, and let them vote against it. instead he drew up a three line whip to vote against a referendum when it was raised.

      LibDems did not want boundary changes, although in the coalition agreement.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 7, 2014 at 9:14 am | Permalink

      And why are the Libdems in a position to block it? Because of the ratting, lefty agenda & daft decisions made at the last election. Yet we are, it seems, about to repeat this again.

    • JoeSoap
      Posted September 7, 2014 at 10:20 am | Permalink

      So he should have the guts to wind up the coalition and go to the country. He has 4 years 4 months of raging success behind him. What’s stopping him??

    • Bryan
      Posted September 7, 2014 at 10:31 am | Permalink

      He should now drop kick the Libdems into touch as they are clearly now out only for themselves.

      Mr Cameron is not doing himself nor his party any good by maintaining a fractured alliance.

      As mentioned in a previous blog, the lack of cojones is clearly evident – if that is possible?

      Also on a different topic, Mr Osborne seems to be promising all sorts of new powers for the Scottish Parliament, including tax raising, if the Scots vote No.

      I assume the milk cow which is the English private enterprise tax payer will again pick up the tab?

      • JoeSoap
        Posted September 7, 2014 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

        Indeed, this last-minute desperation to cow-tow to the Scottish voter is at the cost of whom? The English taxpayer, of course.
        Why not tell it like it is, or should be? Either we have a level playing field between England Scotland Wales and NI as a United Kingdom OR, Scotland having withdrawn from this arrangement unilaterally, the sovereign government of the rUK divides debts and liabilities as of 18/9/2014 as it thinks fit, and rUK votes on whether to guarantee Sterling in Scotland, which would presumably be a resounding NO.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 7, 2014 at 11:26 am | Permalink

      The LibDems have a right to block it, in fact a right which could be described as a constitutional right because back in May 2010 when the great eurosceptic Hague negotiated the Coalition Agreement with their prospective LibDem partners in government the Tory leaders were still firmly opposed to holding an “in-out” EU referendum, and indeed it was tacitly accepted by both of the parties that Hague’s so-called “referendum lock” law would be written in such a way that it was very unlikely that any referendum would be triggered during this Parliament. As a consequence of which the British people have been deliberately and wrongly denied two referendums they should have had, the first on the EU treaty change to provide a clear legal basis for the establishment of the European Stability Mechanism to Save the Euro and the second on whether they agreed to yet another poor country, Croatia, being allowed to join the EU.

  10. Lifelogic
    Posted September 7, 2014 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    I assume by “good politics” you mean trying to buy votes with other tax payers’ money? Trying to be seen to be “kind & nice ” using taxes taken off the productive who would have used it rather better.

    I see the polls are showing it neck and neck in Scotland. Of course if they do actually vote yes some huge negotiations will need to be done. If they wish to continue to using the pound the rest of the UK will surely have to have vote on any proposed such deal. Or will the English be denied any say yet again and just have to pay for it?

    Cameron’s legacy post May 15 looks like getting even worse.

    I also read in WIKI that Matthew Parish (with his very odd views on Clacton and his lefty “modernising”) was, perhaps needless to say, in the Liberal Club at Cambridge and his civil partner Julian Glover is a speech writer for David Cameron and a former political journalist at The Guardian.

    One wonders if these Libdem “thinkers” join the Tories just to have a better chance of winning a seat? Still he can be amusing on occasions I suppose.

    Remind me who was who gave away a majority against sitting duck Gordon Brown with cast iron ratting, greencrap and Clegg on TV.

    Reply If you mean Mr Parris he was a Conservative MP before becoming a journalist. He was not a Lib Dem.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted September 7, 2014 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply,
      JR: “If you mean Mr Parris he was a Conservative MP before becoming a journalist.”
      He certainly was and is still a prominent Conservative cheerleader. Under the headline: “Tories should turn their backs on Clacton” he wrote in The Times on 6 September: “I am not arguing that we should be careless of the needs of struggling people and places such as Clacton. But I am arguing — if I am honest — that we should be careless of their opinions.”
      And you wonder why we have given up on your party!

      • Kenneth R Moore
        Posted September 7, 2014 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

        But I am arguing — if I am honest — that we should be careless of their opinions.”

        Why is Mr Parris arguing he and his like minded colleagues won the argument years ago . He and most if us here KNOW the modern Conservative party treats the opinion of it’s former followers with absolute contempt and arrogance.

  11. Richard1
    Posted September 7, 2014 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    The duplicity and hypocrisy of the LibDems is contemptible and pathetic. But its good they are moving clearly to the left, they might take some Labour votes. So long as not too many right of centre eurosceptics are foolish enough to vote UKIP at the general election there might then be some possibility of a renegotiation and referendum.

    • Mike Stallard
      Posted September 7, 2014 at 8:55 am | Permalink

      Face up to it, the conservatives are split right down the middle. For far too long we, the foot soldiers, have been taken completely for granted. Our representatives have been micro-controlled by un-elected people in Downing Street. The Cabinet is far too large to form a caucus and real power lies with the Quad (50-50 split between the two governing parties).
      It is dangerous to pretend otherwise.

      Mr Cameron has made it crystal clear that he is in favour of staying in the EU and he will support the campaign for us to remain in the path of the juggernaut. So how do I vote, please? Do tell.

      The people whose livelihood, whose home and whose children and health depend on free service from the State are not going to give up any more than Mr Redwood is going to do a Carswell. To interfere with their livelihood is very dangerous.

      Politics is about reality.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 7, 2014 at 9:21 am | Permalink

      Well they are the anti-liberal & anti-democratic LibDems, what did you expect? Mind you Natalie Bennett’s Green Party still makes them look relatively sane.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 7, 2014 at 10:49 am | Permalink

      Your first two sentences are correct. Too many Tories don’t realise that it would not be to their advantage for the LibDems to be annihilated as they might wish, on the contrary the Tories need the LibDems to split the leftish anti-Tory vote and should be looking for subtle ways to restore their popularity. Labour is only ahead of the Tories in the opinion polls because about 60% of those who voted LibDem in May 2010 had deserted that party by the end of the year and most of them had switched their support to Labour, see the yellow and red lines on the left hand side of the charts here:


      Your third sentence is incorrect; even if UKIP were to completely disappear from the political arena then the net benefit for the Tories vis-à-vis Labour would be slight, 2% at most as a generous estimate, so nowhere near enough to counter the 10% deficit in support for the Tories, and in any case why should we trust them to hold a referendum on the EU, let alone hold a fair referendum?

      If you want to leave the EU there is really only one party to vote for, and that is not the party which took us into it and is determined to keep us in it.

    • Bob
      Posted September 7, 2014 at 1:48 pm | Permalink


      “there might then be some possibility of a renegotiation and referendum.”

      Angela Merkel has made it clear that there will be no renegotiation.

      As for the referendum, in the unlikely event of a Tory majority it would be deferred until they think they could get a vote to stay in. Remember Dave said he will campaign to stay in and we have half a million immigrants arriving annually who would like to keep the doors open to their friends and relatives; additionally Dave will have the support of the EU, Labour, Lib Dems, the majority of Tories and the BBC.

      Douglas Carswell has already revealed the fact that Dave will give you “just enough” to keep you on side.

      It comes down to who you believe, Cameron or Carswell?

    • Terry
      Posted September 7, 2014 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

      To call a UKIP voter ‘foolish’ is akin to calling them ‘fruitcakes’ and we all know where that fell. If you are a Tory voter stop acting like a desperate socialist.

      • Richard1
        Posted September 7, 2014 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

        It is precisely because I do not wish to see a socialist govt that I believe anyone who thinks of themselves as eurosceptic or right of centre would be foolish to vote UKIP in the general election, because at the margin it makes a Labour govt more likely.

        • libertarian
          Posted September 7, 2014 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

          Dear Richard 1

          If you keep on doing what you’ve always done you’ll keep on getting what you’ve alway got. If you want a different result do something different.

          I am sick and tired of the failed, two faced, hypocritical, talentless Tory, Labour and Lib Dem politicians. As they’ve rigged the system to be a 2 horse race so that people like you are terrified to vote for what you want in case you get what you don’t. Well I’m not having that anymore. I’d vote communist if I thought it would break the mould of our travesty of democracy which laughingly passes itself off as government

          • Richard1
            Posted September 8, 2014 at 7:17 am | Permalink

            It isn’t perfect but I’d rather have a 6/10 Conservative govt than a 2/10 Labour one. Need to live in the world as we find it.

          • Tad Davison
            Posted September 8, 2014 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

            I couldn’t have put that better myself Lib!


  12. Lifelogic
    Posted September 7, 2014 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    It is reported that MPs are to get a 10% increase in salary to 74K with pensions, tax free pay offs, “expenses” and benefits perhaps nearly £160K total remuneration (nearly six times the national average). Perhaps for a few this is indeed still less than they could earn outside. The problem is that the more you pay the more career politicians you will get and democracy is diminished to become, as Carswell put it, just a game. They want to retain their jobs and incomes and so respond to party rather than principle or the voters they should be representing.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 7, 2014 at 9:11 am | Permalink

      Meanwhile in the real world disposable incomes and living standards decline hugely in the private sector especially (already 1/3 worse off than the state sector).


    • Arthur Penney
      Posted September 7, 2014 at 9:41 am | Permalink

      MPs didn’t have a pay increase for three years, during the recession. Now that the economy is apparently recovering it has been decided (not by the MPs, by a third party) that a pay increase is in order.

      There are tens of thousands of council officials earning more than MPs currently get and who have far less effect on the guidance of the country.

      • Bob
        Posted September 8, 2014 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

        @Arthur Penney

        “There are tens of thousands of council officials earning more than MPs currently get and who have far less effect on the guidance of the country.”

        If that is true then there needs to be a thorough review of local authority fat cattery. It doesn’t in itself justify increasing pay for MPs.

        I’ve seen this kind of process in the private sector where executives recommend generous pay awards for their underlings, and two years down the line request differential adjustments for themselves.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 7, 2014 at 10:31 am | Permalink

      Personally I wouldn’t mind if they were actually doing the job they are being paid to do, but just for starters they have sub-contracted much of their work out to the EU. And rather than adopting the standard practice of the contractor paying the subcontractor out the money paid by the customer they have the cheek to expect the customer to pay them fully and also pay the sub-contractor. If instead each of the MPs got a bill every month for the work done by the EU which he should have done himself then they would quickly change their tune.

    • Margaret Brandreth-J
      Posted September 7, 2014 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

      Quick who and where can I stand for election , I can bull with the rest of them for that , practice erudite sophistry ( or give the appearance of ) Learn at speeds of nanoseconds , sometimes be offensive ( in the nicest possible way) , can mix with the ordinary and the odd. Sounds like a good deal, not keen on fighting for the people of my country though .Oh I suppose that doesn’t matter…Where is that salary?

  13. formula57
    Posted September 7, 2014 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    The housing benefit changes have been portrayed as harsh measures against the vulnerable, many of whom are not in a position to make the adjustments contemplated by the measures’ architects to their lives necessary to avoid the hardships imposed. There seems enough evidence supporting such portrayal to give it some credibility but in any case the Opposition has been allowed to sustain and to manage (very effectively, unusually) the public debate that has arisen. Why the absence of a robust, forthright defence of the measures and why no government bill to make amendments if appropriate to deal with unintendedly harsh aspects? Instead we are treated to the Liberal Democrats parading their narrative of choice – restraining Conservatives from their wicked excesses – whilst the Labour Party is handed a very public and memorable triumph. Do the Conservatives want to form the next government?

  14. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted September 7, 2014 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    How you all love to play your petty party political games. This Private Member’s Bill was intended to improve the Liberals position at the next election “For them it was good politics, showing they wish to align themselves more on the left as they have been losing too many votes to Labour. They hope they are rehearsing for a future Lib/Lab coalition.” We therefore had the farcical situation of LibDems voting against a policy which they had previously voted to enact. Several of your party couldn’t be bothered to vote.
    As for your own party’s pre-election positioning – the Referendum Bill – most people have seen it for what it is – gesture politics designed for no other reason than to try and stem the tide of votes to UKIP.
    It is becoming increasingly clear to more and more people that the present Westminster trio are duplicitous, untrustworthy and not worth supporting .

    • Bob
      Posted September 7, 2014 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

      @Brian Tomkinson

      “It is becoming increasingly clear to more and more people that the present Westminster trio are duplicitous, untrustworthy and not worth supporting .”

      It’s clear to me.

  15. Lifelogic
    Posted September 7, 2014 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    Who decided to allow 16 year old’s to vote in Scotland?

    • Richard1
      Posted September 7, 2014 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

      It was very silly of Cameron to agree to allow children to vote in the scottish referendum. Salmond wanted it as he thought children would be more likely to vote for independence. Cameron should not have agreed. Likewise the question should have been ‘should Scotland remain in the UK?’. (I’m sure that’s how the EU referendum will be phrased). And it should have happened a year earlier. Allowing the ridiculous idea of Scottish independence to build up the head of steam it has is a monstrous cock-up.

    • Bob
      Posted September 7, 2014 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

      “Who decided to allow 16 year old’s to vote in Scotland?”

      Sixteen year old do not have sufficient life experience to make such important decisions.

      Surely the coalition would know that?

    • Boudicca
      Posted September 7, 2014 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

      Salmond proposed it; Cameron agreed.

      Just one more piece of utter foolishness from the chillaxer in No.10.

  16. Richard1
    Posted September 7, 2014 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    The Green Party proposes a wealth tax, nationalization of the railways, the end to any attempt to bring private providers into the NHS so as to stop choice and competition, a ban on fracking and other socialist,anti-business, ant-market measures. Obviously they strongly oppose any welfare reform and favour raising the minimum wage to £10. Interestingly they are strongly pro-EU whereas in the past the far left opposed the EU.

    What’s not to like in all this if you are a leftist? This is much more clear and honest leftism then the LibDems or even Labour offer. It would be good if real lefties had the courage of their convictions and voted green, I’m going to encourage the few lefties I know to do so.

    • Bob
      Posted September 7, 2014 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

      ” Interestingly they are strongly pro-EU”

      Just like David Cameron then?

  17. John Wrake
    Posted September 7, 2014 at 10:02 am | Permalink


    We already have a written Constitution. Our problem is that some in Parliament wish to destroy it, because it puts a check on their treason and misbehaviour, while the vast majority of Parliamentarians either don’t know it, like you, or are too intent on their careers to bother with it.

    It is not our Common Law, on which our Constitution is based, which needs changing. It is the current crop of politicians, who behave as though they are above the law, who are the problem.

    Roll on 7 May 2015, when we can get shot of these parasites infecting the body politic.

    John Wrake.

    • acorn
      Posted September 7, 2014 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

      The UK does not have a codified constitution. I suggest you have a read of the Select Committee on constitutional reform, chaired by Graham Allen, he is thinking about writing one.

      Otherwise visit the UK Constitutional Law Reform Association and get yourself a bit of education on the subject

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted September 8, 2014 at 7:06 am | Permalink

        Not codified, but largely written with some unwritten conventions.

  18. JoeSoap
    Posted September 7, 2014 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    Well this government has had 4 years to sort out this and other issues, or to disband and seek re-election. Frankly, any issues on the table now are games which should have been already played and won/lost. Whether or not some Conservatives turn up or not for this particular vote is pretty marginal in the bigger picture.

    The Westminster system in general and the three traditional parties are particularly disliked for their partisan approach. Whether it is Labour and their blind eye to misdeeds in Rotherham etc., Tories and their blind eye to the problems of uncontrolled immigration, continuing budget deficits, etc., or the LibDems and their blind eye to misdeeds in their own party, and some rather strange characters therein.

    Whoever it is we do need a completely new party to represent Uk, rUk or whatever. We need tough negotiations with the Scots (whatever the result), for them to be treated on equal terms with the English Welsh and N Irish, not a special case. We need budgetary control, immigration control and so much else.

  19. JoolsB
    Posted September 7, 2014 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    “They hope they are rehearsing for a future Lib/Lab coalition.”

    Of course they are and even if England votes Tory AGAIN in 2015 or even Tory and UKIP, looks like we will be saddled yet again with a government that England didn’t vote for. This bill, as with so many, does not apply to Scotland yet that didn’t stop Scottish Labour and Lib Dum MPs voting on it and not one word of protest from your spineless colleagues. No doubt the Tory party will carry on as they have done ever since devolution and utter not one word in protest at the undemocratic manner in which the majority of their constituents are governed and discriminated against. Just what is the point of voting for them when they are as anti-English as the rest?

  20. Bazman
    Posted September 7, 2014 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    The panic over the bedroom tax is going through through the Tories faster than you can say spare room subsidy. Interesting that there was never much supporting comment on this site. Like most mean minded Tories they have little to say as long as it does not effect them.

    • Edward2
      Posted September 7, 2014 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

      Introduced by “mean minded” Labour originally, when it applied to private rented homes only.
      Presumably you supported that when it was introduced Baz?

    • libertarian
      Posted September 8, 2014 at 8:50 pm | Permalink


      The bedroom tax on social housing was first implemented in 2001 by Malcolm Wicks MP Housing Minister in a LABOUR government. See here


      Labour the FIRST nasty party it would seem.

      • Bazman
        Posted September 9, 2014 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

        Presumably you mean this?
        Malcolm Wicks: The under-occupation pilot encourages housing benefit recipients living in under- occupied social housing to move to smaller and cheaper accommodation in order to make more efficient use of housing stock. The pilot is expected to run until 2003. Estimated expenditure in 2000–01 was £17,335. This figure is subject to adjustment on receipt of audited claims from participating authorities.
        Clutching at straws any council has always encouraged people in over size accommodation to move to smaller ones, often by incentives or bribes if you like. Legally they cannot force them. The bedroom charge forced them to pay more without smaller properties being available.
        The Local Housing Allowance (LHA) edward was not a bedroom charge or tax though was supposed to provide an incentive for those on Housing Benefit to find cheaper accommodation.

        • Edward2
          Posted September 10, 2014 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

          So thats a yes then Baz
          Cluching at straws as you say.

  21. Tom William
    Posted September 7, 2014 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    As no government can bind its successors why is a Referendum Bill anything more than a conservative PR exercise?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 7, 2014 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

      It isn’t.

  22. ian
    Posted September 7, 2014 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    Yes it all nonsense and speculation just like the world all nonsense. As i understand it you are a maverick in your party. I thing that what the country needs is a maverick leadership someone who will stand up for the people with a good tax policy. I like to see you put up a petition on this web site for people to sign so you can become leader of your party and advertise your self in the news papers tv and your party so you can override the conservative party voting system. The people of the conservative party do not need boris or wet&mad as there next leader or the current one.I think most people who come to this site would agree with this and for you as leader of the party. How about it girls and boys on this site john redwood for the leadership

    • Terry
      Posted September 7, 2014 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

      Agreed but John is too loyal for our own good.

  23. Denis Cooper
    Posted September 7, 2014 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    So a LibDem MP who came top in the ballot for Private Members’ Bills is pushing a Bill which is contrary to the policy of the coalition government, which is his prerogative; but are you saying that LibDem ministers actually voted in favour of it, despite the doctrine of collective responsibility? If so, should not the Prime Minister sack them?

    Meanwhile a Tory MP who came third in the ballot and has picked up a Bill previously promoted by another Tory MP purely as a Tory PR exercise wants that Bill to have priority over the Bills of the MPs who came first and second in the ballot, why?

    Even if his Bill was passed that would not guarantee that we would have the promised referendum whether or not the Tories won the next general election; it would have been possible to include a clause to entrench the Act for the referendum against normal repeal, but that was not done.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted September 7, 2014 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

      As you said nothing more than “a Tory PR exercise”.

  24. Terry
    Posted September 7, 2014 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    Only an economic miracle can save this country from becoming drowned in benefit payments and swamped by mass immigration. That miracle is the total collapse of the UK economy. I can hardly wait.

  25. Alfred E Philp
    Posted September 7, 2014 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    Surely this was a defeat for the Government – should this not be followed by a vote of confidence and if defeated again the country goes to the polls?

    Reply No it was not a government defeat as it was not a government Bill.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted September 7, 2014 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply,
      It was therefore a Conservative party defeat was it not?

  26. Patryk
    Posted September 7, 2014 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    I think the coalition has done some tremendous job for the country. A lot of decisions were difficult and therefore unpopular; but in crises we need strong leaders who aren’t afraid of make tough but necessary decisions. Overall, people do realise that the benefit system is bloated and they suppprt the cuts. The devils lies in detail though. “Spare bedroom subsidy” cut proved unpopular on the doorstep when I stood for Tories in my local council this year but, nevertheless, I think it was a good move. It is deeply unfair for squeezed private tenants or those who repay mortgages to subsidise somebody’s spare room. The problem is that the media never show those who pay for all this.

  27. Bill
    Posted September 7, 2014 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    Two scenarios:

    1. The UK is going through a long period of demographic transition and political decline that will leave us, after Scotland’s departure, with a rump of a country within an increasingly dominant EU. Professional politicians (e.g. Clegg or the Kinnock family) will seek election to EU roles and will function as part of an elite that will use the language of equality but live the lives of the privileged. The old traditions of fair play, cricket on the village green, competitive examinations, top ranked companies and world class universities will disappear. The judicial system will bully those who stand against political correctness and all the minority groups in the UK will lobby hard to gain advantages for their cliques.


    2. The current Conservative party does a deal with UKIP and miraculously wins the 2015 General Election. The Lib Dems are consigned to the dustbin. The Labour Party chooses a new leader (probably Asian to attract ethnic communities), the Unions demand strikes at the slightest excuse, a Referendum in 2017 takes place and, because the existing members do not want to give up the benefits that accrue to them from donor states like the UK, power is retained by European agencies and this, in the end, leads to British Exit.

    Following our departure from the EU there is extensive social change. Entrepreneurialism is encouraged, benefits payments are cut, we enter a new era seeking new international friends and eventually become a country dedicated solely to trade and with reduced armed forces. We have eventually left behind the glories of empire. Beyond that, who knows?

    • ian wragg
      Posted September 7, 2014 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

      Option one with the bunch of Marxist tossers that rule us at present.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 8, 2014 at 7:22 am | Permalink

      If the LibDems were consigned to the dustbin as you wish then it would be very unlikely that the Conservatives could beat Labour even with the rather marginal assistance of a pact with UKIP.

      It’s now four years since we were witnessing the major collapse of support for the LibDems after they went into the coalition, see the yellow line sloping down on the left hand side here:


      and the transfer of most of that support to Labour, see the red line sloping up and soon crossing the blue line.

      Surely by now people should have realised that it is not actually to the advantage of the Tories to see the LibDems annihilated so that the leftish anti-Tory vote is consolidated on Labour?

      Certainly UKIP would like to see the euromaniac LibDems completely wiped out, but it is not something that savvy Tories should be wishing for.

  28. ian
    Posted September 7, 2014 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    Europe to put sanction on all russia gas import monday, doe”s that means no buying of gas this winter by european country john, have the wheel fallen off the bus, WAR to be the elites way out, are you standing for that, are european planing to shoot they people when the riots start.

  29. ian
    Posted September 7, 2014 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    The queen order at the last election that there will be only one vote and you got a coalition government, the queen ordering the coalition government to give scotland what ever it wants to keep the union together. Yes this country will only get change when the printing press brake down and ponize run out of money. Fracking ponize will keep it going for longer with help from help to buy, policy for people do not matter all that matter is inflation and ponize till the money runs out and the game is up. Order the gas be cut off this winter is a winner they think they can get away with any think they like and they do.

  30. Boudicca
    Posted September 7, 2014 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

    Cameron wanted the LibDems in a Coalition. Cameron gave them far too much power as part of the deal. Cameron has pandered to them for the past 4 years. Cameron still panders to them. The Conservative Party in Parliament has allowed it to continue.

    No good complaining now.

  31. Iain Gill
    Posted September 8, 2014 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    On the housing benefit one the government made a mistake.
    They should have handed buying power over to the individual tenant. Stopped all subsidies to housing associations and council housing and diverted the money as extra funds paid to the needy to compensate. Stopped planning perks for housing associations. Forced housing associations to charge market rents. Then watch as individuals made their own decisions about where to take the entirety of their housing subsidy, how many rooms they can afford, distance to potential jobs and schools and family, and so very much more. Let the individuals optimise all of that much better than the state ever will. A real “power to the individual” move. In doing so rents in areas with few jobs would collapse, allowing new employers to move to the area since the workforce would be more competitive as they needed less money for rent, and other normal market dynamics. The silly rationing of the social housing sector would have disappeared. High earners would no longer be in subsidised accommodation. People would not be forced to live in areas with no jobs as they are now. All done while giving people more freedom and choice.
    Instead we have another attempt at getting people into supposedly better sized accommodation, when in reality the state is in no position to know these things. Another measure where the state dictates to people rather than freeing them up to make their own choices. Bound to be unpopular and a very imperfect lever to pull.

  32. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted September 9, 2014 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    But we all know what will happen if Labour or Lab+LibDem form the next government. Spending restraint will be suspended, income tax will be increased and there will be a mansion tax.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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