London: Defying predictions of doom,
Britain's first post World War II coalition government on Wednesday
completed 100 days in office, in spite of string of tensions on
The Conservative-Liberal Democrats government which
came to power after the Labour party defeat in the May polls
continues to enjoy positive ratings from the public.
That the tie up is running strong is indicated by
a series of public sector spending cuts announced by it.
Nick Clegg, deputy prime minister and the Liberal
Democrat leader is holding the fort while prime minister David
Cameron is away on holiday.
Despite a poll suggesting that the public continued to
be positive about the coalition overall, tensions between the
parties have begun to surface.
In statement seen as a major crack in the coalition,
Liberal Democrats deputy leader Simon Hughes said today that
the party should be able to veto government policy.
Many of the coalition's recent policies have not gone
down well with either party, particularly on the wide ranging
cuts announced by Chancellor George Osborne to reduce
burgeoning national deficit.
The Independent newspaper listed 100 spending cuts
announced since the coalition came to power.
Moreover, Hughes also said that a coalition with
Labour was his aim and "still on the agenda". An alliance
between the two parties could be considered as early as the
next election, he said.
After the May 6 election, there were some efforts to
forge a coalition between Labour and the Liberal Democrats.
Hughes, who took over from Vince Cable as the party
deputy leader, said that a centre-left coalition was still
very much his desire. "The idea of a centre left, of a
progressive liberal Britain, is still very much for me what I
am here to achieve," he said.
"Who knows, there may be a coalition with a Labour
party if they are progressive at the next election, after the
next election or sometime in the future. It's on the agenda,"
Hinting at the unease felt by some Liberal Democrats
MPs about decisions taken in the first 100 days, Hughes said
his MPs should be able to reject policies put forward by the
That should include the right to say to the
Conservatives: "No, we can't go down this road," he told the
He said: "If you want a coalition to deliver the vote
then you have to make sure everybody has bought into that.
It's a matter of practical politics, the answer is therefore:
yes, the parliamentary party, on behalf of the wider party, on
big issues has to say, 'No, we can't go down this road.'"
Meanwhile a survey for Guardian said, there is "strong
support for government's cuts-based recovery strategy."
"Despite claims from Labour that front-loaded spending
cuts risk a double-dip recession and will hit the poorest the
hardest, 44 per cent of those polled said the coalition was
doing a good job in securing economic recovery against 37 per
cent who said it was doing a bad job," it said.
The poll also showed voters were prepared to back
Osborne, who has so far been successful in blaming his
inheritance from Alistair Darling for fiscal pain that will
see VAT rise to 20 per cent in January and the most sustained
cut in public spending since the war, it added.
While a third of voters 33 per cent said the
chancellor was doing a bad job, 42 per cent said he was doing
a good job.
First Published: Wednesday, August 18, 2010, 18:45