Support 100 years of independent journalism.

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.

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.

Content from our partners
How to create a responsible form of “buy now, pay later”
“Unions are helping improve conditions for drivers like me”
Transport is the core of levelling up