Peers warn Nick Clegg they will fight Lords reform
Tuesday 17 May 2011
Senior peers warned Nick Clegg last night that he will face a strong rearguard action by them over his plans to turn the House of Lords into an elected chamber.
Today the Deputy Prime Minister will try to revive his constitutional agenda after his defeat in the AV referendum by outlining proposals for 80 per cent of the members of the Lords to be elected by proportional representation.
The size of the second chamber would fall from about 750 to 300 under Mr Clegg's draft Bill. Its functions and powers as a revising chamber would remain the same.
Mr Clegg wants legislation on the statute book before the next election but faces opposition from many peers and only lukewarm support from some Conservatives. Forty peers from all parties fired off a letter to MPs last night warning that the "supremacy and authority" of the Commons would "inevitably be challenged" by an elected Lords.
The backers, including the former Liberal Party leader Lord (David) Steel and the former Commons Speaker Baroness (Betty) Boothroyd, said the existing all-appointed Lords has "very real merit" because it can reflect the gender and ethnicity balance of the country. An elected second chamber would take away its "vast reservoir of talent and expertise".
Mr Clegg also faces criticism from Labour for not going far enough. The Opposition will accuse him of watering down plans for a 100 per cent elected Lords, which appeared in the Labour and Liberal Democrat manifestoes last year, to appease the Conservatives.
"A fully elected Lord should be the starting point," said a Labour source. "He shouldn't be making concessions to the Tories yet."
However, Clegg aides denied he had abandoned hopes of a 100 per cent elected chamber. The option will be kept alive in a White Paper published alongside the draft Bill.
Liberal Democrat sources said Labour should rally behind the proposals rather than pick holes in them. They said Lords reform was a big test for Ed Miliband and urged him to show leadership on an issue where there is common ground between Labour and the Liberal Democrats.
- 1 Rihanna 'nude pictures' claims emerge on 4Chan as hacking scandal continues
- 2 Kim Kardashian 'nude photos' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence scandal
- 3 'F*ck it, I quit': KTVA reporter Charlo Greene quits live on air in spectacular fashion
- 4 What are your fingerprint words?
Rihanna 'nude pictures' claims emerge on 4Chan as hacking scandal continues
Kim Kardashian 'nude photos' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence scandal
'F*ck it, I quit': KTVA reporter Charlo Greene quits live on air in spectacular fashion
Jennifer Lawrence: Leaked 4Chan sex video branded 'fake' by users
Jennifer Lawrence 'naked sex video' will be leaked next, threatens 4Chan celebrity photo hacker
Scotland could still declare independence – even without referendum, says Alex Salmond
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Plebgate MP Andrew Mitchell called officer a 'little s**t', claim court documents 'exposing ex-Chief Whip's 'record of abusing police'
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
£16500 - £20000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...
£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Crawley: KS2 PPA Teacher currently nee...
£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...
£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Software Application Support Analyst - Imm...