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Storm brewing over Tory-Lib Dem deal
Published on 16 May. 2010 12:23 AM IST
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Even before PM David Cameron, 43, could finish appointing junior ministers in his government — the first coalition in the UK since 1945 — a rebellion is brewing over the Conservative-Liberal Democrat government’s plan to introduce a legislation that would require a 55% majority in the House of Commons to remove it.
The agreement between the ideologically diverse Tories and Lib Dems proposes a five-year fixed term for parliament, which can only be cut short if 55% MPs vote for it. This is suggested in the name of stability, given the delicate state of UK’s public finances and the markets being wary of any political upheaval.
But what has not gone unnoticed is that the Conservatives MPs constitute 47% of the House. In other words, regardless of the Liberal Democrats pulling the rug, the Tories could continue to be in office. Even MPs who would occupy the treasury benches find this appalling.
Christopher Chope, a Conservative backbencher, said a fixed term parliament would give the incumbent party a huge unfair advantage. Some of his senior colleagues are mulling opposing the motion. One of them said: “It will be this government’s first defeat.”
Jack Straw, until recently the Labour government’s justice secretary, described the idea as “unworkable, anti-democratic and a fix”.
“What if 51% of the Commons was against any confidence in the government and it wasn’t possible to pass legislation? You would be in the extraordinary position where parliament can’t be dissolved because Lib Dems would be scared of losing their seats, with parliament unable to work,” said Straw.
UK govt may impose bonds on Indian students
Britain’s new Immigration Minister Damian Green has indicated that students from India and other non-European Union countries will have to furnish a bond of a specified amount before coming here to study at British institutions. Green, who was the Conservative spokesman on immigration issues, believes that the current points-based student visa system is the ‘biggest single loophole’ and has promised to bring about major changes in the immigration system.
British authorities had suspended the issue of student visas in north India, Nepal and Bangladesh earlier this year after missions received an unusually large number of applications from these regions.
“We want genuine students and want a fair system. We will introduce the bond system for international students who will be refunded the bond amount when they leave after completing their studies,” Green had told an audience at the Guru Nanak Prakash Singh Sabha in Bristol recently.
International students are a source of major revenue because they pay three times higher fees than students from the UK and the European Union.
Among other new measures Green is likely to introduce is an annual cap on the number of skilled professionals from India and other countries outside the EU in order to drastically reduce the annual number migrants coming to Britain.
As per the coalition agreement between the Conservative and Liberal Democrats, it is the Conservative policy that has been adopted by the new coalition government.
The coalition agreement says: “We have agreed that there should be an annual limit on the number of non-EU economic migrants admitted into the UK to live and work. We will consider jointly the mechanism for implementing the limit”.
The overall goal of the Conservative party’s policy is to reduce net immigration to the levels of the 1990s – “tens of thousands a year, instead of the hundreds of thousands every year under the Labour government”. Green said: “There are benefits of immigration but not of uncontrolled immigration.
There is concern about immigration within the migrant community that have integrated well in British society over the years. We will ensure that immigration returns to the level of 1980s and 1990s”.

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