Are coalitions the inevitable future for UK governments?

From Political Science

Two heads are better than one? Assessing the implications of the Conservative–Liberal Democrat coalition for UK politics

The UK’s political system has been recognized as a model delivering a stable one party government, but 2010 has proved the exception rather than the rule with the result of a hung parliament and the formation of the first peacetime coalition for more than 70 years. This coalition has been agreed between Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, two parties with seemingly little in common. This paper recognizes how the UK’s shifting political landscape and changes in personnel at the top of both parties has facilitated the coalition. It considers and assesses the impact of the coalition on the political parties involved and asks whether coalitions might become a more regular feature of Westminster government.
 
 

Abstract

 

The Westminster model is recognized the world over as delivering strong, stable one-party government with hung parliaments an anomaly. The recent UK general election has proved the exception to the rule, with 2010 providing the first hung parliament since 1974. Unlike the 1974 minority administration, 2010 saw the formation of a coalition government for the first time in over 70 years. Bringing together the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, two parties not seen as natural bedfellows, the coalition has proven somewhat of a political experiment. While the coalition may have surprised many, this article highlights how theUK’s shifting political landscape and changes in personnel at the top of both parties has facilitated the coalition. In doing so the article questions how the coalition will impact upon the Liberal Democrats in particular, and explores the extent to which coalition governments might constitute a more permanent feature in UK politics.

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Article details

Title: Two heads are better than one? Assessing the implications of the Conservative–Liberal Democrat coalition for UK politics

Author: Elizabeth Evans

From: Political Science

DOI: 10.1177/0032318711404532

     
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