The Westminster model is recognized the world over as delivering strong, stable one-party government with hung parliaments an anomaly. The recent UK general election has proved the exception to the rule, with 2010 providing the first hung parliament since 1974. Unlike the 1974 minority administration, 2010 saw the formation of a coalition government for the first time in over 70 years. Bringing together the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, two parties not seen as natural bedfellows, the coalition has proven somewhat of a political experiment. While the coalition may have surprised many, this article highlights how the UK’s shifting political landscape and changes in personnel at the top of both parties has facilitated the coalition. In doing so the article questions how the coalition will impact upon the Liberal Democrats in particular, and explores the extent to which coalition governments might constitute a more permanent feature in UK politics.
- Liberal Democrats