It seems Mr Clegg and Mr Cable are furious about the EU fiasco and might even stamp their feet a bit.
Clearly, this has led to much discussion of elections. Will Hutton in today's Observer now feels the coalition cannot possibly last until 2015.
I have no opinion. A party that has already moved so far on issues that would have seemed impossible before the election is no longer one I can possibly read. They are already supporting an economic plan that is failing, just as they said it would before the election, a tuition fee rise that is hurting, just as they said it would before the election and the privatisation of the NHS (again something they opposed before the election).
Nonetheless, the point of this post is to share a little democratic procedure.
There would not need to be an election if the coalition falls apart. In fact it is quite unlikely that there would be.
The fixed term parliament act, passed on 15th September, 2010 as part of the coalition agreement, changed the way elections can be called. This is from the parliament website :
"There are two provisions that trigger an election other than at five year intervals.
To translate, if Clegg, Cable et all jump ship, all parties have 14 days to form another government. Effectively, Labour and the Libs with a few "others" can form a government and no election will be called.
To simply call an election randomly, and dissolve parliament, the coalition changed the rules. Now, 66% of MPs would have to vote against the government in a vote of no confidence. Translating this means that, effectively, it is not possible in practise to get the required vote. It would mean every Labour MP, every LibDem MP, every "other" AND a further 91 Conservative MPs prepared to vote against their own government.
So, to all the commentators and talking heads arguing over whether the Conservatives could win a majority now or indeed, whether Labour could, it is irrelevant.
Liberal Democrats could simply leave the coalition and form a government with Labour, the Greens and others. All they have to do is vote against the government in a vote of no confidence.
Whether they would or not is another matter, but according to law, that is the process.
It seems almost no-one knows this. All are discussing a possible election.
One things is utterly sure however. Mr Cameron knows it. Mr Clegg knows it. And so does Mr Miliband.