Constitutional Reform

  • Judi Atkins
Part of the Rhetoric, Politics and Society book series (RPS)


Following intense negotiations, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats agreed to equalize constituency boundaries and hold a referendum on the Alternative Vote (AV). The chapter examines the parliamentary debate on these reforms, showing that both sides employed different definitions of ‘fairness’ to foster ideological identification. This concept also dominated Cameron’s case against AV in a bitter referendum campaign, and the ensuing friction between the leaders was manifested in a dispute over House of Lords reform. The analysis reveals that this conflict stemmed from the parties’ different interpretations of the Coalition Agreement, which were shaped by their perceived interests. Consequently, Liberal Democrats could justify their decision to back the postponement of the boundary review, which angered the Conservatives but allowed the junior partner to reassert its distinctiveness.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Judi Atkins
    • 1
  1. 1.Coventry UniversityCoventryUK

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