UK Politics

Ex-minister David Laws says coalition will not end early

David Laws
Image caption David Laws helped negotiate the Tory-Lib Dem coalition government deal

The coalition government will not formally break apart six months before the next election, David Laws has said.

The former Lib Dem minister - who helped negotiate the coalition agreement - said he does not see an early end to the Tory Lib Dem alliance.

But he said he saw no need for a coalition "mark two" document.

Mr Laws was forced to quit the cabinet after revelations about his expenses but remains close to the coalition's leadership.

Speaking at an Institute for Government conference on Thursday, the Yeovil MP said that rather than drawing up a new agreement, as some have demanded, the coalition should concentrate on implementing the existing one.

The government does not need "84 more ideas on spending money," added the former Chief Secretary to the Treasury.

He predicted that the two coalition parties will not formally "disengage" before the next election. Instead, Conservative leader David Cameron and Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg will "juggle two balls - setting out their own visions of the future while maintaining coalition unity".

He dismissed suggestions that the two parties could go their separate ways six months or so before polling day in May 2015: "There won't be six months when the coalition will cease to function."

There could be a review of the coalition's progress, he told the conference, but he was against a new coalition agreement for the second half of the Parliament.

The Insititute for Government examines the performance of the coalition in a new "half time" report.

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