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  Coalition deadlock as Nick Clegg and David Cameron veto each other
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ContributorNew Jerusalem 
Last EditedNew Jerusalem  Aug 07, 2012 06:19am
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AuthorThe Guardian
MediaNewspaper - Guardian
News DateTuesday, August 7, 2012 12:00:00 PM UTC0:0
DescriptionNick Clegg's plan for constitutional reform and David Cameron's scheme to shift parliamentary boundaries in the Conservatives' favour both lay in ruins on Monday as victims of the prime minister's inability to persuade his backbenchers to support an elected House of Lords.

A subdued and depressed Clegg announced he was abandoning all plans to reform the Lords in this parliament, adding as a result he will also be instructing his MPs to vote down revised parliamentary boundaries designed to reduce the number of MPs to 600.

He claimed that to reduce the number of MPs whilst leaving the Lords unreformed would only strengthen the executive against parliament, an argument denounced as "specious nonsense" by Tory MPs.

The announcement represents a personal blow to Clegg, who had championed widescale political reform as a distinctive Liberal Democrat contribution to the coalition but has been thwarted at virtually every turn.

It leaves the deputy prime minister increasingly reliant on an upturn in the economy, progress on social mobility and a broader liberal agenda to justify the original decision to form the coalition with Cameron.

A triumphant Labour party claimed announcement was a humiliation for the coalition, and a sign of the prime minister's weakness. Privately the party also added that the move sharply reduces the likelihood of a Conservative majority government at the next election, and makes the chances of the Lib Dems forming a second coalition government with the Conservatives increasingly remote.

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