Sir Edward slams loveless “marriage in barbed wire.”

Edward Leigh EMN-141010-122653001
Edward Leigh EMN-141010-122653001

Gainsborough MP Sir Edward Leigh attacked his own government again as he led a parliamentary revolt last week against fixed-term parliaments.

Sir Edward lost the vote 68-21 to remove the law enshrining fixed term parliaments, passed in 2011, as part of the coalition agreement.

In the Westminster debate, the veteran MP called the coalition agreement a “hash job” designed “to keep both parties in the coalition from doing a runner from each other.”

“This was always going to be a loveless marriage, and fixed term parliaments were a pre-nuptial settlement drawn up between two parties who were never in love. Indeed, they had to bind their marriage in barbed wire to stop them ratting on each other,” he said.

Earlier, Sir Edward described fixed-term parliaments as a “restriction on democracy” saying it prevents a government from finding a way out of “decision gridlock.”

“I think all of us hope that the present coalition is an aberration,” he said, describing all parties as coalitions in their own way.

And in another barb at his own side, the MP also commented: “I sometimes think the Conservatives on the Treasury Bench would rather be in coalition with the Liberals rather than the with the likes of me. If this is true, it is no surprise if party membership is under stress.

“I think the whole idea of fixed term Parliaments has a Blairite feel to it, in a fawning admiration of the American style of government,” he said.

But at least the US has a system “whereby a president can be removed through impeachment, and President Nixon took that route.”