New Times,
New Thinking.

25 May 2010

Queen’s Speech debate

Conservative MP outlines differences within coalition in awkward speech.

By James Macintyre

Peter Lilley, who was first to propose the Queen’s Speech in the Commons today, has outlined some of the differences between the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties that make up the coalition.

In a witty speech, he wondered whether to call the Lib Dems “honourable friends” or “partners”, and eventually settled on “allies”. He went on to paraphrase John Major, however, saying that it was better to have the enemies “p***ing in” than out.

Nick Clegg sat next to an amused David Cameron in silence, his head sometimes bowed, as Lilley, a Thatcherite libertarian, made it cleared that he would campaign against electoral reform. He went on to claim that immigration was the biggest fear among the electorate and dismissed a liberal, “metropolitan” approach.

Finally, Lilley pointed out that the coalition’s position on marriage is unclear, despite the political marriage that has taken place.

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The speech was indeed funny in parts. But in its own way, it also underlined the very real differences between the two parties that make up a coalition that is safe — for now.

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