Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Institute for Government Wednesday 22nd May

Back to London on the Metropolitan Line in time to catch up with Lord Andrew Adonis launching his political account 5 Days in May.   Lord Adonis acted as a leading member of Gordon Brown's negotiating team during the shuttle diplomacy and arm twisting that took place after the inconclusive election result in May 2010.

What happened inside Coalition negotiations between the Liberal Democrats and Labour in those few days?  Andrew Adonis shared his perspective on those crucial days of uncertainty as the nation speculated just what was going on behind closed doors. Andrew was in conversation with David Laws MP, part of the Liberal Democrat coalition negotiation team, talking about the parties’ various demands and how Labour perceived the competing side of the negotiations taking place with the Conservatives. David Laws has also produced a book on the same subject - 22 days in May!

Coalitions may well be the new norm and both speakers considered what the future may hold for political parties where parliamentary majorities are increasingly hard to gain. The rise of UKIP could yield even more complex negotiations in years to come where the mathematical combinations to find a majority are more numerous.

I caught up with Mark D'Arcy, correspondent for BBC Parliament and Sir Richard Lambert, former DG of the CBI.  Andrew Adonis signed a copy of his book for me. The suggestion was made by me that nobody votes for a coalition and that there needs to be strategy for dissolving coalitions, as well as forming them.

The event was chaired by Peter Riddell who is the new Director of the Institute for Government and I had a conversation with him afterwards. On my way back along the Mall I dropped in at the ICA to see the Royal Society of Portrait Painters Annual Exhibition and briefly attend a fund raising evening taking place there for Changing Faces, a remarkable charity that I know provides superb assistance to those, young and older, who live with severe physical disfigurement (

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