Lords Reform: Victories for Tories in Lords reform averted by Irvine

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THE GOVERNMENT suffered two setbacks last night over its plans for reform of the House of Lords.

By 231 to 189 votes, peers

voted to insist that the indepedent appointments commission

to vet the future choice of members most be put on a statuary basis to prevent any dangers of patronage by this or any future


Earlier, Lord Irvine of Lairg, the Lord Chancellor, had caved in to demands for "by-elections" to replace any of the 92 hereditaries remaining in the transitional upper chamber who die before stage two of the reform process is implemented. The so-called Weatherill deal to retain 92 hereditaries during the interim stage of reform was accepted by the Government last month.

Lord Irvine said that ministers would agree to the by-elections as long as only those hereditaries who were still working peers were allowed to vote to fill any vacancies.

It means that more than 600 hereditary peers, who will not be taking part in the second chamber's proceedings once the House of Lords Bill becomes law, may be able to stand for election.

In tabling the amendment, the Tories, led by Lord Strathclyde, said the amendment was a "necessary safeguard" which had "logic and certainty".