Tory MP David Davis attacks 'ridiculous threat' of stuffing House of Lords with new peers to pass tax credit cuts

The Government is considering its options if the wake of its defeat on tax credits

Jon Stone
Tuesday 27 October 2015 09:19 GMT
The House of Lords at the state opening
The House of Lords at the state opening (Leon Neal - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

A senior Conservative MP has branded suggestions that the Government stuff the House of Lords with new Tory peers to pass its tax credit cuts as “a ridiculous threat”.

Former shadow home secretary David Davis said the plan, which has been suggested by some of his Conservative colleagues, would leave the public disgusted.

“That’s a ridiculous threat,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on the morning after the Government was defeated by peers.

“The last honours list came under wide criticism and that was just a few because of the quality of the peers. How are you going to get higher quality people when you’re going into the hundreds?

“The public will be disgusted by it. They will view that action as a piece of bullying politics.”

The criticism of the idea comes as the Government considers its options in the wake of a deafeat in the Lords.

George Osborne said in the aftermath of his defeat that the upper house’s decision raises “constitutional issues” which would have to be “dealt with”.

Some Tories have suggested creating hundreds of new peers to automatically give the Government a majority in the chamber.

Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg said last week that he would support the creation of more than 150 peers to be absolutely sure his party could pass whatever legislation it wanted without interruption.

“I wouldn't go for 150. I'd go for more than that. You've got to make absolutely sure,” he told the BBC’s Daily Politics programme.

The Conservative manifesto contained a pledge to address the size of the House of Lords – though this was widely interpreted to mean a reduction in the number of peers.

Research by the Electoral Reform Society reported by the Independent on Monday found that such a move would cost millions of pounds because of the cost of peers’ allowances and expenses.

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