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The Fixed Term Parliament Act brings to mind another, unofficial, statute – namely, the law of unintended consequences. When introducing the Bill back in 2011, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg told the House of Commons that “by setting the date that Parliament will dissolve, our Prime Minister is giving up the right to pick and choose the date of the next general election – that’s a first in British politics”.

Clegg was driven less by constitutional principle than fear the Liberal Democrats might be ditched as coalition partners, with the Tories calling a snap election as soon as their poll ratings improved. This self-interested ploy will, in my view, seriously damage British politics – in turn, undermining the economic policy process, making it more rancorous and subject to extremes.
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