UK coalition`s record: 100 days, 100 cuts
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Last Updated: Wednesday, August 18, 2010, 18:45
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 fiscal issues.

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," Hughes added.

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 coalition government.

That should include the right to say to the Conservatives: "No, we can't go down this road," he told the BBC.

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

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