Do parties making deals supply you with confidence? Photo: Flickr/www.flazingo.com
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What is confidence and supply and how does it work?

As alternatives to a formal coalition are being considered, we outline what a confidence and supply arrangement entails.

Confidence and supply is an agreement between political parties that is looser than a formal coalition.

A smaller party (or number of parties) makes a deal to back a larger party in government on a vote-by-vote basis, in exchange for policy concessions.

They agree to support the larger party’s budget and other such key votes that would otherwise potentially bring a government down if they didn’t pass. The Queen’s Speech is another example of this. They could also abstain.

This arrangement allows a minority administration to govern without conceding ministerial positions to the junior partner or partners, and in turn, gives smaller parties the opportunity to achieve some of their manifesto commitments without having to sign up wholesale to the leading party’s programme.

The “confidence” applies to the agreement to back the governing party on no-confidence votes, and the “supply” refers to the bills required for the party in power to receive money to enable it to implement its policies. It’s a common misconception that “confidence” means the trust between parties, and “supply” the concessions given to the smaller party/parties.

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David Cameron softens stance: UK to accept "thousands" more Syrian refugees

Days after saying "taking more and more" refugees isn't the solution, the Prime Minister announces that Britain will accept "thousands" more Syrian refugees.

David Cameron has announced that the UK will house "thousands" more Syrian refugees, in response to Europe's worsening refugee crisis.

He said:

"We have already accepted around 5,000 Syrians and we have introduced a specific resettlement scheme, alongside those we already have, to help those Syrian refugees particularly at risk.

"As I said earlier this week, we will accept thousands more under these existing schemes and we keep them under review.

"And given the scale of the crisis and the suffering of the people, today I can announce that we will do more - providing resettlement for thousands more Syrian refugees."

Days after reiterating the government's stance that "taking more and more" refugees won't help the situation, the Prime Minister appears to have softened his stance.

His latest assertion that Britain will act with "our head and our heart" by allowing more refugees into the country comes after photos of a drowned Syrian toddler intensified calls for the UK to show more compassion towards the record number of people desperately trying to reach Europe. In reaction to the photos, he commented that, "as a father I felt deeply moved".

But as the BBC's James Landale points out, this move doesn't represent a fundamental change in Cameron's position. While public and political pressure has forced the PM's hand to fulfil a moral obligation, he still doesn't believe opening the borders into Europe, or establishing quotas, would help. He also hasn't set a specific target for the number of refugees Britain will receive.

 

Anoosh Chakelian is deputy web editor at the New Statesman.