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62% of Lib Dem members agree with Clegg decision to vote down boundary changes over Tories’ Lords reform retreat

August 8, 2012 11:18 AM
By Stephen Tall in Liberal Democrat Voice
Originally published by East Midlands Liberal Democrats

What party members say about Tory breach of Coalition Agreement

LDV asked: Within the package of constitutional reforms proposed in the Coalition Agreement was a pledge to reduce the number of parliamentary constituencies and re-draw them to ensure each individual's vote counts roughly equally no matter where they live. It is believed by electoral experts this will benefit the Conservatives and have an adverse impact on the Lib Dems at the next election compared to the current boundaries. Thinking about if House of Lords reform does fall as a result of Conservative MPs refusing to support it, which of these statements is closest to your view:

12% - If that happens the Lib Dems should pull out of the coalition
62% - If that happens the Lib Dems should vote down the Parliamentary boundary changes
17% - If that happens the Lib Dems should remain in the Coalition and continue to support all the measures in the Coalition Agreement, including the boundary changes
7% - Other
2% - Don't know / No opinion

Almost two-thirds (62%) of our sample of Lib Dem members chose the option Nick Clegg chose yesterday - to respond to the Tories' reneging on the Coalition Agreement over Lords reform by torpedoing the parliamentary boundary changes. A minority, just 12%, voted for the nuclear option of complete withdrawal from the Coalition. I suspect that figure might have been higher if we'd asked it last month, when members' anger against Tory tactics was at its peak. Interestingly, rather more members - 17% - believed the party should have honoured its side of the Agreement in full no matter the Tory position.

NB: this poll was open from Friday onwards, both before and after the news broke that Nick Clegg would be announcing the end of Lords reform. However, there didn't seem to be a significant shift in the poll findings in any particular direction as a result.

For the record… Most of you wanted Lords reform Bill to carry on

LDV asked: The Lords Reform Bill has received its 2nd Reading in the House of Commons with a majority of 338 but with 91 Conservative rebel MPs. A plan for a specific timetable ('timetable motion') for its further progress was not put to the vote as the government expected to be defeated by a combination of Conservative rebels and the Labour party. What do you think the Liberal Democrats should do now?

74% - Continue to press for the Bill to go through Parliament
20% - The Coalition should abandon the Bill
6% - Don't know / No opinion

Well, it's all a bit academic now… but for the record, an overwhelming majority of Lib Dem members - three-quarters of those we surveyed - wanted the party to press ahead with Lords reform even in the face of continuing Tory rebel and Labour opposition. A minority, one-in-five, thought it would be better simply to drop the Bill.

  • Over 1,200 Lib Dem paid-up party members are registered with LibDemVoice.org. Some 450 responded to the latest survey, which was conducted between 3rd and 6th August.
  • Please note: we make no claims that the survey is fully representative of the Lib Dem membership as a whole. However, LibDemVoice.org's surveys are the largest independent samples of the views of Lib Dem members across the country, and have in the past accurately predicted the winners of the contest for Party President, and the result of the conference decision to approve the Coalition agreement.
  • The full archive of our members' surveys can be viewed at www.libdemvoice.org/category/ldv-members-poll

* Stephen Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, a Research Associate for the liberal think-tank CentreForum, and also writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.

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