The House of Lords Constitution Committee will tomorrow take evidence from Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale and Rhodri Morgan, former First Ministers of Scotland and Wales respectively, and Lord Stephen and Ieuan Wyn Jones, who served as their deputies as leaders of minority parties in coalition governments. The session is part of the committee’s ongoing inquiry into the constitutional implications of coalition government.
In this session the committee is likely to discuss the impact of the requirement in Scotland and Wales for the First Minister to be nominated within 28 days of an election, what role the civil service in Scotland and Wales play in coalition negotiations, how coalition governments can best respond to issues not outlined in coalition agreements and what impact the likelihood of having to form a coalition government after an election has on parties in drafting their manifestos.
This will be followed by evidence from Lord O’Donnell and Lord Butler of Brockwell. Lord O’Donnell was Cabinet Secretary during coalition negotiations following the 2010 general election. Lord Butler was Cabinet Secretary from 1988–98 and a private sectary to the Prime Minister during the hung parliament of February–October 1974.
The committee is likely to ask the witnesses how useful the draft Cabinet Manual chapter on government formation was during negotiations following the 2010 election, how Cabinet and cabinet committees work in a coalition government and how civil servants are affected when ministers publicly disagree on policy.
The first evidence session will start at 11.00am on Wednesday 4 December; the second is due to begin at around 11.45am. They will be held in Committee Room 1 of the House of Lords.
The session will be webcast at www.parliamentlive.tv and is also open to the public. Journalists wishing to attend should go to Parliament’s Cromwell Green Entrance and should allow time for security screening.