No plan for Lords reform referendum


The coalition has decided against holding a referendum on reforming the House of Lords, it was revealed today.

The outcome will be seen as a victory for Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats, after David Cameron hinted that he could back a national poll.

Historic plans for introducing a largely elected second chamber are due to be published next week. It could begin operating in 2015, but the legislation is facing fierce resistance from Tories and Labour peers.

Critics have argued that the changes should not be a priority at a time of economic crisis, and said such a major constitutional reform requires a referendum.

Labour leader Ed Miliband has also suggested a vote will be needed, while the Prime Minister signalled he could back asking the public.

However, Mr Clegg has insisted that a referendum is unnecessary because Lords reform featured in the election manifestos of all three main parties.

Government sources have now confirmed that a national poll - which could have cost more than £100 million - will not feature in the plans.

Mr Cameron is said to have secured concessions in return, including making it clear that the new-look chamber cannot block legislation passed by the House of Commons.

The legislation is expected to propose cutting the number of Lords from around 900 to 300, with at least 80% of peers being elected.

Elections would be held every five years and appointed or hereditary peers will progressively be replaced by the new elected "senators".

Each senator will serve for a single term of 15 years and will represent a region rather than a traditional constituency, similar to the European Parliament system.

Shadow justice secretary Sadiq Khan said: "Labour is committed to a wholly elected second chamber fit for the demands of a modern democracy. Our track record on reform of the House of Lords is unparalleled. Our goal is clear but we have the humility to trust the public.

"Fundamental changes to our constitution should be put to the people in a referendum. The Government is showing breathtaking arrogance.

"Lords reform is no different in this respect to devolution in Wales, Scotland and London, a regional assembly in the North East, mayors in towns and cities up and down the country and changes to our voting system, all subject to referendums, some won and some lost.

"Labour trusts the people to decide on major issues like fundamentally changing our constitution. Why are this Government scared to seek the view of the public? They are denying the public a vote on the very fabric of how our country is to be run, showing just how out of touch and arrogant they are."


peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
New Articles
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Latest stories from i100
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

Cover Supervisor

£75 - £90 per day + negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Are you a cover supe...

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam