Davis on the attack

By Ian Dunt

David Davis has launched a surprise attack on the policies of the coalition government.

Speaking on the World at One Mr Davis said the scheme under which parliament can be dissolved with the votes of 55% of MPs was a “very serious mistake”.

“The consequence, in the extreme, is you could have a government in parliament which could command 45%, or 45% plus one, of parliamentary votes, but no more, and therefore couldn’t deliver a budget, couldn’t deliver its manifesto, couldn’t deliver its normal legislation and yet couldn’t be thrown out either,” he said.

“That is a, frankly, just a terrible formula for government. It could end up with a sort of crippled government.”

Mr Davies is just the latest parliamentary figure to object to the proposals, with many parliamentarians branded the set-up problematic.

The 55% benchmark prevents either the Tories or the Lib Dems from backing out of the coalition and bringing government crashing down, because neither party can secure that level of support in the Commons.

But some parliamentarians are concerned that a government could be reduced to impotence by not being able to pass any bills, without being unpopular enough to see MPs dissolve parliament through a no confidence vote.

The intervention is the first major statement from the former shadow home secretary, who was being tipped for the Home Office role during the early stages of last week, when Cabinet position were gradually being filled by the new coalition. Theresa May was eventually given the position.