Nick Clegg urges Lords reform unity
Thursday 12 May 2011
Nick Clegg attacked the political points-scoring of both sides of the vote reform referendum campaign today and appealed for unity over House of Lords reform.
The Deputy Prime Minister said he was determined to press ahead with moves towards electing the upper chamber despite the resounding public rejection of a change to the voting system.
And he denied the issue was a minority "obsession" for his party that should be abandoned in favour of concentrating on issues higher up voters' lists of priorities.
A draft bill will be published this month, setting out proposals for culling the remaining hereditary and appointed peers in favour of an elected body.
The electorate gave a damning verdict against a change in the way MPs are elected in last week's UK-wide vote - a long-term blow to the Lib Dems' long-held passion for electoral reform.
A bitter and highly-personalised campaign saw Tory and Lib Dem coalition colleagues clash publicly over the issue but Mr Clegg said he hoped for less argument over the Lords.
"The referendum campaign was characterised, some would say disfigured, by party politics and point scoring. It was not a particularly uplifting argument by either side of the debate.
"What lessons does one learn? It reinforces my view that where we can develop ideas together rather than everyone shouting at each other across the barricades, clearly it is best."
He said he had gone to "very considerable effort" to find agreement by talking to all parties in the committee drawing up the proposals for the reforms.
"I hope that desire to try to move forward as consensually as possible on something as constitutionally significant as that will be reflected and recognised in the draft bill we will be publishing shortly," he told the Commons political and constitutional reform committee.
Asked about criticisms from within his own party that he should not concentrate on issues that were more important to the party than the public, he said: "Things that are important are not always resonant. The fact that we as a country, as a national community, have been talking about this one way or another for a century or more suggests that it is not a preoccupation or an obsession for one party or one politician.
"I do not think that as a Government we should apologise, not only in this area, for proceeding with things that are important but might not be things that your constituents and mine will raise in our weekly surgeries."
- 2 18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
- 3 US? China? India? The 10 biggest economies in 2030 will be...
- 4 'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
General Election 2015: David Cameron catching up in polls – but he badly needs a clear lead
Alan Rickman admits editing 'terrible' script with friends in Pizza Hut behind backs of writers on Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
South Africa xenophobic attacks: Shops looted and violence on streets of Johannesburg as foreigners are forced to hide in police stations
18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...
£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...
£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...
£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application ...