Letter: Parliament loses vote of confidence

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The Independent Online
Sir: The confidence vote on Maastricht offered a curious choice to MPs. It asked two questions ('Do you want Maastricht?' and 'Do you want the Government to survive?) at the same time, but only allowed two out of the four possible combinations of answers. A Yes vote meant one thing, but a No vote didn't mean the opposite.

This is a form of persuasion worthy of the Mafia. Why should a government be able to coerce its members in this way by attaching the 'confidence' label to an otherwise unconnected motion? The Tories claim to support 'freedom of choice', but this episode neatly demonstrates just how far their commitment to that ideal really goes.

Yours faithfully,




23 July