Details promised of Lords reform

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Indy Politics

The Government will publish a White Paper next month setting out its plans to reform the House of Lords, Tony Blair announced yesterday.

In his first speech to the Welsh Assembly in Cardiff, the Prime Minister said the proposals would be based largely on the report drawn up by a commission chaired by Lord Wakeham, the former Tory cabinet minister.

Mr Blair said: "There will be an elected element, to ensure proper regional representation. There will be a statutory Appointments Commission. There will continue to be independent members. There will be rules to determine fair political balance."

He was deliberately vague because an intense debate is still taking place within the Cabinet. Mr Blair wants to limit the number of elected members so that the House of Lords does not challenge the suprem-acy of the Commons. But Robin Cook, the Leader of the Commons, is believed to be urging him to strengthen the elected element. Mr Cook also wants members of the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly to sit in the Lords.

Legislation is unlikely to complete its passage in this parliamentary year.