Are Westminster and Whitehall Coping with the Coalition?
One year after the formation of the first coalition government since the 1930s, new research by the Constitution Unit investigated how the corridors of Whitehall were coping with the new occupants of No10 and Westminster.
The audience were treated to a panel of constitutional experts to discuss the interim findings of the study by Professor Robert Hazell CBE and Dr Ben Yong who are leading the research team. Baroness Hamwee of Richmond upon Thames (Co-Chair of the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Policy Committee on Home Affairs, Justice and Equalities) and Tim Montgomerie (co-founder and Editor of ConservativeHome) also contributed their thoughts. Key findings include of the report include:
The Liberal Democrats secured 22% of cabinet seats and 19% of frontbench poistions with 16% of coalition MPs
Creation of a formal 'coalition dispute mechanism', though most issues are resolved informally
Lib Dem junior ministers charged with monitoring Conservative-led departments but often struggle to fulfil this role, particularly in the Home Office and Department for Communities and Local Government. Yet there are success stories with positive collaboration between Conservative Andrew Lansley and Liberal Democrat Paul Burstow as well as Conservative Michael Gove and Liberal Democrat Sarah Teather
Substantial pressure on Liberal Democrat resources after losing state party funding, a strengthened by still inexperienced Deputy Prime Minister's Office, and an over-stretched group of cabinet ministers who serve on many more Cabinet committees than Conservative counterparts
- Expect more rebellions, as MPs fight for 50 less constituencies and problems in any cabinet reshuffle with limited options for Nick Clegg
The final report will be published in 2012.
Listen again to the event:
Part 1 - Professor Robert Hazell
Part 2 - Professor Robert Hazell & Dr Ben Yong
Part 3 - Tim Montgomerie
Part 4 - Baroness Hamwee
Questions & Answers:
Part 5 - Q&A
Part 6 - Q&A
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