Lords Reform 'not a priority' for British voters


Andrew Woodcock
Thursday 19 July 2012 15:16 BST

There is broad support for reform of the House of Lords among British voters - including supporters of all three major parties - but very few think it should be a priority for the Government, according to a poll released today.

Overall, around eight in 10 (79%) of the people surveyed by pollsters Ipsos Mori support the idea of reforming the Upper House of Parliament. But just 7% said it should be a priority, with 72% saying there are other more important things the Government should concentrate on.

Differences over Lords reform have imposed massive strain on the coalition Government, with Nick Clegg urging David Cameron to bring Conservative rebels into line over a bill which has become the centrepiece of the Liberal Democrats' constitutional programme since the failure of the AV referendum.

But the poll found that even Lib Dem voters do not think the issue should be high on the Government's agenda - some 74% said Lords reform was not an immediate priority, compared with 74% of Labour voters and 70% of Conservatives.

Support for reform is highest among Liberal Democrats at 87% and lowest among Conservative supporters at 75%. About one in six people (16%) said they do not support reforming the House of Lords at all.

Gideon Skinner, head of political research at Ipsos Mori said: "Although a clear majority like the idea of Lords reform, we know that the economy is by some way the number one priority for the British public, while concern about unemployment is growing.

"What's remarkable is the consistency across all age groups, classes, and party support who say there are more important things for the Government to be concentrating on."

Tory rebels inflicted a possibly fatal blow on the House of Lords Reform Bill earlier this month when they forced Mr Cameron to drop a motion which would have limited debate on the legislation to 10 days. Without a timetable, the Bill is in grave danger of being "talked out" by opponents, and the Prime Minister has said he will have "one more try" to secure a limit in September.

:: Ipsos Mori interviewed 1,006 adults across Great Britain between July 14 and 16.

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