Coaliton will 'survive' AV poll

The coalition will survive whatever the result of next week's elections and the referendum on voting reform, Defence Secretary Liam Fox insisted today.

The increasing vitriol of attacks between coalition partners over the Alternative Vote has sparked speculation that the year-old Government could be torn apart by Thursday's result.



But Dr Fox today insisted that the coalition was dealing with a "national economic emergency" which took precedence over any disagreements over AV.



The Defence Secretary - who describes himself as an "unreconstructed, free-market, unionist, eurosceptic Atlanticist" - is regarded by some on the Tory right who are disgruntled with the coalition Government as a standard-bearer within the administration for traditional Conservatism.



But at a Westminster lunch today, he made clear he regards the cross-party partnership as essential: "The coalition needs to exist because there is a national economic emergency.



"Whatever happens on polling day next week, that deficit and that economic emergency will still be there the week after and we will still need the coalition to continue to enable us to deal with that problem."



Dr Fox said that when he was asked whether the coalition Cabinet "all love one another", he pointed out that there was no shortage of personal animosities within the Thatcher, Major and Blair administrations.



"The thing is will it work, can we work together?" he said. "And the answer is yes, we will, because we have to work together.



"Before anyone writes premature obituaries for the coalition Government, you need to understand how much we believe in the need for the coalition to exist, to continue.



"For me and for many of my Cabinet colleagues we want to be able to put our hands on our hearts and say that we genuinely brought a change to British politics where politicians didn't govern in their own interests but in the national interest. If we do, that will be a vindication of everything we have done in the last year and hopefully that the coalition will do in the next four."



Dr Fox, who stood against David Cameron for the Conservative leadership in 2005, made clear he had no desire to head the coalition Government and believed he would not be the right person to do so.



But he sidestepped the question of whether he still had ambitions to lead his party and become prime minister, saying only that he was "exhausted just being Defence Secretary".



Dr Fox said: "I think the way that David Cameron is leading the coalition is with a skill that very few others would necessarily have had. I don't think I would have the skill to be able to deal with the personalities and complexities and issues of the coalition with the sensitivity and professionalism David Cameron has shown.



"While I put my case forward at the time, I have to say that given the way that our political system delivered us the result it did, I think my party made the right choice."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper / Office Co-ordinator

£9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This role is based within a small family run ...

Recruitment Genius: Designer - Print & Digital

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Design and marketing agenc...

Recruitment Genius: Quantity Surveyor

£46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This property investment firm are lookin...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales / Telemarketing Executive - OTE £30k / £35k plus

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003