Lord Strathclyde, Leader of the Opposition in the Lords, said his party no longer felt obliged to comply with the so-called Salisbury convention, under which the second chamber does not wreck manifesto commitments of the governing party. "Most of the conditions that gave rise to the Salisbury convention have gone," he said. "It may well need to be redefined over the next few years, as House of Lords and House of Commons work in partnership to re-mark the boundaries between them."
The convention was introduced after Labour's landslide victory in 1945, when the Tories, who had an in-built majority in the Lords, agreed not to halt Clement Attlee's reforms.
Lord Strathclyde's remarks were dismissed by government sources, who said the convention was not brought in to deal with the anomaly of hereditary peers. "It was established to ensure that the democratic mandate of the Commons remains supreme, and nothing has changed in that regard."