Friday, June 04, 2010

Where Nick Clegg Fits in the Coalition Puzzle

Political reforms on the agenda for Deputy PM

A coalition drawn from as disparate partners as the British Conservative Party and the Liberal Democratic Party was certain to be quite the puzzle.

Sometimes, it's difficult to know where all the pieces fit -- particularly when a piece like chief Treasury Secretary David Laws disappears from the picture. Laws, a committed Liberal Democrat, had long been sought by the Tories. It must be disappointing to see him resign over an expenses scandal.

David Cameron likely had Laws' office pegged from the very beginning of the coalition. Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg must have been another matter entirely.

For those who were wondering where Clegg would fit into into the Conservative/Lib Dem coalition, they recently found out.

Clegg's primary task as Deputy Prime Minister will be electoral reform. He will be responsible for introducing legislation to fix the term of Parliament, further reforms of party funding, the establishment of a lobbyist registry, and to hold a referendum on reform of the electoral system.

He will also consider introducing a primary election system for the selection of candidates.

Clegg will also be handed responsibility for the Electoral Commission, Boundaries Commission, and Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority. Not only will Clegg wield tremendous power over the establishment of new electoral boundaries, but he will also be responsible for helping establish the expenses rules that will prevent the disgracing of MPs such as David Laws.

The road ahead for David Cameron's and Nick Clegg's coalition will not be an easy one. But with Clegg himself in charge of satisfying some of the Liberal Democrats' premier demands, the road should be made a little easier -- provided that Clegg remains satisfied if his referendum fails.

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