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Former First Ministers and Cabinet Secretaries questioned on coalition government

4 December 2013

The House of Lords Constitution Committee will 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.  

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 sessions are part of the committee’s ongoing inquiry into the constitutional implications of coalition government.


At 11.00am, Wednesday 4 December 2013, Committee room 1, Palace of Westminster:

  • Rt Hon. Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale, First Minister of Scotland 2001–07
  • Lord Stephen, Deputy First Minister of Scotland 2005–07
  • Rt Hon. Rhodri Morgan, First Minister of Wales 2000–09
  • Ieuan Wyn Jones, Deputy First Minister of Wales 2007–11

and at approximately 11.45am:

  • Lord O’Donnell, GCB, Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Home Civil Service 2005–11
  • Rt Hon. Lord Butler of Brockwell, KG, GCB, CVO, Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Home Civil Service 1988–98

Purpose of the Sessions

In the first 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.

During the second session 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. 

Further Information