In 2010, on this day Britain entered a fresh political crisis after David Cameron rejected Nick Clegg's demand for an additional three Cabinet Ministerial Posts in the Coalition Government just one day after the British electorate voted overwhelmingly to endorse the Alternative Voting System (AVS).
The Cameron FormulaDuring the formation of a "strong, stable and legitmate" Government back in May, Cameron had devised an imaginative formula for the division of powers. As a result, almost half of Liberal Democrat Mps had received a Whitehall appointment, and Nick Clegg became Deputy Prime Minister. Effectively, the Parliamentary Party had been bought off.
However, in seeking to drive a harder bargain, Clegg had engaged with paralell talks with Gordon Brown. The fear of a Progressive Coalition being formed by Labour and the Liberal Democrats forced Cameron to up his "big, open and comprehensive offer". And as a deal-sweetener, Cameron went the "extra mile" by offering a referendum of AVS.
Cameron and Clegg had agreed to maintain the Coalition up until 2015, a full Parliamentary session. However the problem was that in the small print of the deal, Liberal Democrats could campaign independently during European and Local elections and so party politics remained a reality. And many Liberal Democrats were eager to fight a General Election under AVS in the expectation of at least doubling their number of Parliamentary seats. Such an outcome, would of course dramatically imbalance the Cameron formula because it would upgrade the Liberal Democrats to full partners.