Cameron: I'll ditch Lords reform if we cannot reach a compromise

Prime Minister issues ultimatum to Tory rebels as he prepares to reveal watered-down proposals

David Cameron wants to water down plans for an elected House of Lords in an attempt to broker a compromise between the Liberal Democrats and rebel Tory MPs.

But in a move that will infuriate his Coalition partners he is making it plain he will ditch reform altogether if consensus cannot be reached rapidly. The PM is struggling for a compromise that will satisfy both the Liberal Democrat leadership and his Conservative critics who staged a dramatic rebellion against the plans to elect 120 peers in 2015.

The plans have briefly been put on hold while he tries to find a reform blueprint that will satisfy both sides.

Under one proposal being examined by Downing Street, the remaining 92 hereditary peers would still be expelled in 2015. Elections for a much smaller number of seats in the Lords – possibly around 50 – would be held at the same time.

Mr Cameron could back the move with a promise that further waves of elections to the Lords would have to be approved by votes of MPs in subsequent Parliaments.

Last night Mr Cameron told his MPs at a private meeting that he would examine whether there would be support for a reformed Lords with a "smaller elected element".

Tory sources believe the proposal would enable Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader, to tell his party that he has secured the first elections to the Upper Chamber.

Meanwhile Mr Cameron could reassure his restless MPs – 91 of whom rebelled on Tuesday against the current reform plans – that the change is marginal and represents little challenge to the supremacy of the Commons.

Conservative sources were clear yesterday they did intend to devote much more time trying to find a way out of the deadlock. "We're going to give it one more try in the next few weeks. If it's not possible, then we are going to draw a line," said one.

Currently, however, there is little appetite for concessions among senior Liberal Democrats – and party sources made clear last night that the Cameron initiative had not been squared with Mr Clegg. "We have consistently marched our troops towards gunfire to support Tory priorities – it isn't too much to ask for the same thing in return," a minister said.

However, Tory rebels were not in the mood yesterday to back down following their success in outmanoeuvring their party's leadership on Tuesday.

"There is no package they can put together that will satisfy us. We want it killed – we don't want compromise," one said. Tensions were running high in the Commons yesterday after the Conservative revolt forced the Government to abandon plans to set a limit on the time MPs could spend discussing the reform plans.

Sir George Young, the Commons leader, is expected to tell MPs today that the "programme motion" – stipulating the time spent on the Bill – will be brought back to the Commons in September.

Mr Cameron brushed aside claims that he was involved in an angry confrontation with Jesse Norman, a leading Tory rebel on Lords reform, as "tittle-tattle and rumour".

The Labour MP Karl Turner, an eye-witness to the clash, said: "The Prime Minister put his finger in his face and was pointing at him. I heard him say words to the effect that this wasn't the action of an honourable man. The area was jam-packed – the prime minister had clearly lost his rag and didn't care who was witnessing it."

PM loses his cool: So who's felt his rage?

Nadine Dorries The Prime Minister's ire is not always reserved for the Opposition. When asked by Tory MP Nadine Dorries if he would tell his deputy, Nick Clegg, who was boss, he replied: "I know the honourable lady is extremely frustrated... err... maybe I should start that again." Mr Cameron apologised to her by text message later that day.

Ed Balls In January, he said it was like "having someone with Tourette's sitting opposite you". In May, dismissed him as a "muttering idiot" during Prime Minister's Questions.

Douglas Carswell Mr Cameron turned on the Tory right-winger after the MP hinted that the Government resembled the regime depicted in Yes, Minister.

Dennis Skinner After criticism over Jeremy Hunt and BSkyB, a riled PM retorted: "The honourable gentleman has the right, at any time, to take his pension and I advise him to do so."

Jesse Norman The Tory MP for Hereford got the full "Eton hairdryer" treatment. Mr Cameron jabbed his finger in his face and declared his conduct "not honourable".

Suggested Topics
Tommy Ramone performing at The Old Waldorf Nightclub in 1978 in San Francisco, California.
peopleDrummer was final surviving member of seminal punk band
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

The Mexico chief finally lets rip as his emotions get the better of him
world cup 2014
German supporters (left) and Argentina fans
Final gives England fans a choice between to old enemies
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Spectators photograph the Tour de France riders as they make their way through the Yorkshire countryside
voicesHoward Jacobson: Line the streets for a cycling race? You might just as well watch a swarm of wasps
Life and Style
lifeHere's one answer to an inquisitive Reddit user's question
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
Yaya Touré has defended his posturing over his future at Manchester City
Detail of the dress made entirely of loom bands
Life and Style
There were mass celebrations across Argentina as the country's national team reached their first World Cup final for 24 years
transfersOne of the men to suffer cardiac arrest was 16 years old
Arts and Entertainment
Armando Iannucci, the creator of 'The Thick of It' says he has
tvArmando Iannucci to concentrate on US show Veep
A mugshot of Ian Watkins released by South Wales Police following his guilty pleas
peopleBandmates open up about abuse
Basketball superstar LeBron James gets into his stride for the Cleveland Cavaliers
sportNBA superstar announces decision to return to Cleveland Cavaliers
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

C# Developer (HTML5, JavaScript, ASP.NET, Mathematics, Entity)

£30000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

C# Integration Developer (.NET, Tibco EMS, SQL 2008/2012, XML)

£60000 - £80000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Integration...

Biztalk - outstanding opportunity

£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...

Trade Desk Specialist (FIX, Linux, Windows, Network Security)

£60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Trade Desk Specialist (FIX, Linux, Windows...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice