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1 July 2010

Tory loyalists dismiss Cameron’s potential conversion to electoral reform at their peril

If the likes of ConHome have their way, the coalition government will fall apart.

By James Macintyre

Yesterday, I blogged on the prospect of David Cameron backing the Alternative Vote (AV) in order to seal his pact with Nick Clegg.

It comes as absolutely no surprise that ConservativeHome has sought to “rubbish” the idea, citing “sources” at Downing Street. The author of the rebuttal, Jonathan Isaby, is indeed well connected in the Conservative Party, and again it is not shocking that many Tories — the vast majority, in fact — would be disgusted at the very idea of changing a system, first-past-the-post, that provides a disproportionate advantage for the biggest parties.

But they miss the point. Doubtless, these Tories wish they were governing alone. But they did not win the election. Cameron is too clever not to know that in order to maintain the survivability of a coalition that at present appears to do much more for the Tories than it does for the Lib Dems, he will have to make a major concession at some point. And, for most Lib Dems, that will have to come on their glittering prize of electoral reform, however imperfect AV is.

I expand on the theme in my column for this week’s magazine.

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