The Liberal- Conservative coalition’s plan to introduce a 55% rule before Parliament could be dissolved has come under intense scrutiny.
The measure was revealed in the coalition’s agreement published on Wednesday.
It reads: “This legislation will also provide for dissolution if 55% or more of the House votes in favour.”
However backbench MPs, constitutional lawyers and campaigners have expressed serious concerns that the measure would undermine Parliament.
Under the current rule, a simple majority of MPs- 50% plus one- is enough to trigger a dissolution of Parliament, and thus a general election.
A ‘noto55’ campaign has been gathering pace on the social networking site Twitter.
The 55% rule would favour the Conservatives remaining in power because even if the coalition fell apart and the Liberal Democrats joined forces with other opposition parties, they would be unable to reach the 55% needed.
Tory backbencher Charles Walker said: “This is perhaps just a little too much for our unwritten constitution to bear”
However the Prime Minister defended the rule change.
“It is an important change and one I think should be welcome,” he said, on a visit to Scotland on Friday to meet First Minister Alex Salmond and other party leaders.
“I’m the first prime minister in British history to give up the right unilaterally to ask the Queen for a dissolution of Parliament. This is a huge change in our system, it is a big giving up of power.
“Clearly, if you want a fixed-term Parliament you have to have a mechanism to deliver it.
Downing Street said Labour had put through fixed-term laws in Scotland requiring 66% of MSPs to dissolve Parliament.
Filed under: Freedom and Rights |