Thursday 5 August 2010

A telling Clegg silence on council house tenure?

It is one thing for number 10 Downing Street to disown the Coalition's deputy Prime Minister. It is quite another for the deputy leader (backbench division) of the Liberal Democrats to disown the Coalition PM.

That appears to be the government's position on David Cameron's proposals for council house tenure, where Downing Street appear to be confident that Nick agrees with Dave, even if his party might not.

Paul Waugh has an significant post noting that the Conservatives are relying on Nick Clegg's "radio silence" over the issue to push it into legislation this Autumn.

Despite Simon Hughes' anger over Cam's words at PM Direct on Tuesday, it seems that there was 'radio silence' from Nick Clegg on the proposal when it was first raised.

His silence was taken as acquiescence - and the Conservatives still think it will appeal to Clegg's own liberal instincts.

The very clear inference is that the proposal was not sprung on the LibDem leader, who had not objected when it was "first raised" inside government.

It clearly did come as news to Nick Clegg's deputy - who is confident he speaks for the LibDem mainstream on this.

So the Coalition intend to continue to legislate on anything and everything at breakneck speed by including the proposal in a Bill this Autumn.

If there are some challenges in making it LibDem policy by then, the Conservatives believe that the Coalition can politely face them down and rely on Clegg to manage the change past any unruly elements in his own party.

The politeness promised towards the LibDems makes it all sound like a formality.

We shall see. It might be more difficult than they think.

This looks like the first serious test case of Simon Hughes' belief that he can ensure the LibDems can have influence and voice over new Coalition policies which were not in the May agreement. Can he win that argument if Nick does not agree with him?


NoetiCat said...

Clegg is on holidays for crying out loud!

Sunder Katwala said...


That doesn't really work. The point isn't that he should have commented yesterday. He might well not want to get involved in a heated row, though he will of course have to at some stage.

Waugh is reporting Downing Street saying Clegg knew about plans to float it and didn't object, so they think that is a green light to legislate this year.

And today's Daily Mail report quotes a spokesman for the Deputy PM saying Clegg's holding position is that "there are arguments on both sides".


The spokesman for deputy prime minister Mr Clegg said last night: 'The Prime Minister said it was an option but it hasn't been agreed.

'There are a lot of issues regarding tenure, there are arguments on both sides. But clearly it throws up a lot of potential problems.'

Robert said...

The sad fact is we knew Cleggie was a bloke that swings both ways in his Political following, he is a Tory Liberal when the chips are down, who can blame him he is the old Whigs after all, I suspect in five years time Cameron will give Clegg a seat in the house of lords, and then he will be able to earn a living telling people about the liberals being back in power, as his party disappears up it's own ass.

I bet Cameron has a problem with love bites on his backside now, just wait.

Labour the party that needs to find a new way of dealing with the Tories, coalition maybe a better deal.