See this extract from the coalition agreement.
The parties agree to the establishment of five year fixed-term parliaments. A Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government will put a binding motion before the House of Commons in the first days following this agreement stating that the next general election will be held on the first Thursday of May 2015. Following this motion, legislation will be brought forward to make provision for fixed term parliaments of five years. This legislation will also provide for dissolution if 55%or more of the House votes in favour.
What this means, particularly in the last sentence, is that it is unlikely the Tories can be ousted from Parliament even if they prove to be terribly unpopular and the coalition falls apart.
Why? Because 55% of the House is 357.7 MPs, call it 358.
307 Tory MPs (I am assuming Thirsk and Malton will return Conservative for the purpose of this blog)
258 Labour MPs
57 LibDem MPs
So if all the others, plus all the Labour MPs, plus all the LibDems voted to dissolve parliament, that would still only account for 343 MPs, still 15 short of the number required. So 15 Tories would have to vote against their own party in order to collapse the government.
Under the old system, a vote of confidence would have been a matter for the majority. 50% plus 1. Which would have been 325 + 1 = 326.
This is a disgraceful attack on our Parliamentary Democracy. It does not matter now how much the people might kick against any Tory legislation, it does not matter if the coalition falls apart. The Tories will hold the keys to number 10 until May 7th 2015 and not even a vote of no confidence can throw them out.
And don't forget, the LibDems have agreed to this, it is contained within the coalition agreement. Nobody will be surprised at the Tories gerrymandering the system to ensure they get to stay in power for the maximum amount of time, it is only what we would expect from a party with their record, but for the Liberal Democrats to sanction this is a real body blow. Neither Liberal, nor Democratic.