Today’s announcement by the Deputy Prime Minister shows the Lib Dems in the worst possible light. He said that Lords Reform is being dropped because the Conservative back-benchers will not support it and therefore the Lib Dems will not support the boundary review.
Revenge, retaliation, childishness, self serving? Take your pick.
Let’s just remind ourselves about the relevant part of the coalition agreement:
We will bring forward a Referendum Bill on electoral reform, which includes provision for the introduction of the Alternative Vote in the event of a positive result in the referendum, as well as for the creation of fewer and more equal sized constituencies. We will whip both Parliamentary parties in both Houses to support a simple majority referendum on the Alternative Vote, without prejudice to the positions parties will take during such a referendum.
Last time I checked we had a referendum on the AV system in May 2001, at a time of the Lib Dems choosing, and it was defeated. The boundary review doesn’t have, and never had, anything to do with Lords Reform and no amount of retrofitting justifications will change that.
And before any Lib Dems claim that the boundary review was some Tory germandering exercise they might want to explain why it was in their manifesto for the 2010 General Election.