On 11 May 2010, the Conservative Party and the Liberal Democrats formed Britain's first full coalition government since 1945. Despite initial scepticism, their partnership has survived bitter disagreements over issues such as constitutional reform and Europe. Indeed, the parties have worked effectively together in a number of areas, notably foreign policy and education. This raises a number of questions. Why did some initiatives prove to be particularly contentious? Conversely, why was co-operation on other policies relatively straightforward? How did the two leaders seek to manage conflict both within and between their respective parliamentary parties?
In addition to exploring these questions, this special section examines some of the issues that will confront the next government regardless of its composition. Of particular concern are the UK's constitutional arrangements, the fallout from the Scottish independence referendum, and the nature of Britain's engagement with the EU and the wider world. With the forthcoming general election set to be the most unpredictable in a generation, it is hoped that this collection of articles will offer useful lessons for subsequent coalitions, while providing insights into the competing dynamics of conflict and co-operation at work within the Cameron-Clegg government. You can read the articles from the collection, edited by Judi Atkins, here free.
Introduction: Conflict, Cooperation and the Cameron-Clegg Government by Judi Atkins
‘Together in the National Interest’: The Rhetoric of Unity and the Formation of the Cameron–Clegg Government by Judi Atkins
The Liberal Democrats and the Coalition: Driven to the Edge of Europe by Eunice Goes
Unity and Distinctiveness in UK Coalition Government: Lessons for Junior Partners by Libby McEnhill
Interventionism by Design or Failure: The Coalition and Humanitarian Intervention by Timothy Oliver
The Coalition and the Decline of Majoritarianism in the UK by Oonagh Gay, Petra Schleiter and Valerie Belu
The Coalition and the Politics of the English Question by Richard Hayton
When Second-Best is Still a No-Brainer: Why Labour Should Shoot for a Majority Coalition in May 2015 by Ben Yong and Tim Bale