Clegg told: Lords will never vote for your reforms

Senior figures from within Deputy PM's own party say proposals for elected Senate are doomed to fail

Nick Clegg had no chance of getting the House of Lords to support his plans to sack them and create a new Senate with 300 elected members, two senior members of his own party warned yesterday.

The two Liberal Democrat peers – one who backs the Clegg reforms, the other who opposes them – separately predicted that the Deputy Prime Minister faced inevitable defeat in the upper house.

Mr Clegg will defend his plans later today in front of a parliamentary committee, alongside the Cabinet Office minister, Mark Harper. He wants to abolish the House of Lords in 2015, replacing it with a chamber of 330 senators who would be elected by proportional representation for 15-year terms.

But the plan faces growing opposition even within his own party, with the possibility of 20 out of 91 Lib Dem peers opposing it. In the Commons, it is thought 50 or more backbench Conservatives are also ready to vote against, defying a threat yesterday from the Lib Dem peer Matthew Oakeshott that it could tear apart the Coalition.

Alex Carlile, one of the most experienced Lib Dem peers, accused Mr Clegg of having "perilously little" understanding of how the House of Lords worked. He warned that 15-year terms would create "some risk of corruptibility" because senators would "see themselves as invulnerable" while being elected would make them think they had the same legitimacy as the Commons.

The Tory MP Philip Davies has also said he will vote against the Clegg Bill when it goes before the Commons. "The point of the House of Lords is that it works," he told the BBC's Sunday Politics programme. Another Tory MP, Penny Mordaunt, said: "It's hard to see what the good is with these particular reforms that are on the table."

Lord Oakeshott, who backs Mr Clegg, warned that if Tory MPs blocked Lords reform, the Lib Dems would retaliate by sinking David Cameron's plan to redraw constituency boundaries and cut MP numbers from 650 to 600. "We'll not be wanting to put that through if they welsh on the other half of the deal," he said.

But he agreed that the Clegg reforms had no real chance of getting through the House of Lords, where about two thirds of peers would lose their privileges if it went through.

"There's no way the turkeys in the House of Lords are going to vote for Christmas – it's all down to the Commons," he said.

On Thursday, the Lords will vote on a counter-proposal put forward by the former Liberal leader, David Steel, which would bring in two minor changes to the upper house that can be agreed without controversy.

One would introduce a system under which peers could retire, instead of holding on to their membership until they die. The other would give the Lords the power to expel members who break the law.

There are four former Tory peers and one former Labour member who have received prison sentences but cannot be deprived of their peerages.

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
From Mean Girls to Mamet: Lindsay Lohan
theatre
Sport
Nathaniel Clyne (No 2) drives home his side's second goal past Arsenal’s David Ospina at the Emirates
footballArsenal 1 Southampton 2: Arsène Wenger pays the price for picking reserve side in Capital One Cup
News
Mike Tyson has led an appalling and sad life, but are we not a country that gives second chances?
peopleFormer boxer 'watched over' crash victim until ambulance arrived
Arts and Entertainment
Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
tv
News
i100
Travel
travelGallery And yes, it is indoors
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
The Tiger Who Came To Tea
booksJudith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed'
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Account Executive/Sales Consultant – Permanent – Hertfordshire - £16-£20k

£16500 - £20000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...

KS2 PPA Teacher needed (Mat Cover)- Worthing!

£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Crawley: KS2 PPA Teacher currently nee...

IT Systems Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

IT Application Support Engineer - Immediate Start

£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Software Application Support Analyst - Imm...

Day In a Page

Syria air strikes: ‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings

Robert Fisk on Syria air strikes

‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings
Will Lindsay Lohan's West End debut be a turnaround moment for her career?

Lindsay Lohan's West End debut

Will this be a turnaround moment for her career?
'The Crocodile Under the Bed': Judith Kerr's follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

The follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

Judith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed' - which has taken 46 years to get into print
BBC Television Centre: A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past

BBC Television Centre

A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past
Lonesome George: Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains

My George!

Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains
10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Pack up your troubles: 10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Off on an intrepid trip? Experts from student trip specialists Real Gap and Quest Overseas recommend luggage for travellers on the move
Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world