UK Politics

Tory views: The coalition

The coalition government is holding together better than many expected - but what do the Conservative Party faithful think about sharing power with the Liberal Democrats?


I think we are doing OK. It seems to be going fine at the moment. We didn't win an overall majority at the general election so we are having to work in partnership. But I don't think an electoral pact with the Lib Dems would work. We are separate parties who have come together for five years. I think it would be better to have a majority Conservative government. There are some policies I did not want to see dropped, such as abolishing the Human Rights Act, but it's a lot better than having a Labour government, that's for sure.


I am wonderfully happy. Having fought the Liberal Democrats all of my political life, to find us working together is extremely refreshing. I didn't expect us to be in this position. I didn't pulp my campaign leaflets because I thought there might be another election in a few months. The Conservatives have probably done best out of the coalition so far, but then we did get the biggest share of the vote in May. The two parties will go their separate ways if in five years' time if we are not in the same state we are now. If we are still in trouble then it may be up for grabs again. Most of us are going to vote against AV, though. Conservatives are viscerally against that kind of thing.


It is mixed. We lost some policies that were actually quite important to the country, such as the married couple's tax allowance and inheritance tax. I don't think it will be any benefit to the Conservative Party. I think Nick Clegg has found someone in David Cameron who is in the same place on the political spectrum. He is not a sandal-wearing "grollie" - that means "Guardian-reading old leftie in ethnic skirt". The Lib Dems seem to me a parish council type of party - and that applies to many of their MPs. I don't think they have the gravitas to hack being in government.


So far so good. I am very impressed. Nick Clegg and David Cameron recognise that they need to come together in the national interest. This sort of arrangement happens all over the land in local councils, so we are not surprised by it. I don't think there should be an electoral pact though. I think it would send out mixed messages to voters. I am not in favour of AV either. It just doesn't work. There is not any dissent at conference about the coalition though. Everybody is right behind it.


I think the coalition will have the biggest impact on the Liberal Democrats, as a party. I could see them splitting. The Lib Dems remind me of the Anglican Church - all these extremities held together by a big elastic band. It happened to us when we split over Europe and I could see it happening to them. Maybe the Conservatives will win back some of the supporters we lost to them in 1997.


So far it has been really positive. I like the way we have come together with the Lib Dems in the national interest, to get the country out of the situation that it is currently in. I was quite worried after the election but I don't have a problem with working with another party. I respect the Lib Dems' values, which are closer to the Conservatives' on family and the work ethic, but I'm not comfortable with the idea of an electoral pact.

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