Friday, 3 August 2012

Lords dancing with joy

It looks as if Nick Cleggs cherished bill on the reform of the House of Lords is to be dropped by the government.
The Prime Minister has concluded that there is no way that he’ll get his own backbenchers to bite the bullet on Lords reform and rather than stand up to them, he’s bowed to the inevitable. The bill is likely to be dropped. 

Although as yet there hasn't been a formal announcement, it is widely rumoured its going to be kicked into the long grass.
The decision will put real strain on the coalition. Nick Clegg will have seen plans for Lords reform and electoral reform for the Commons thrown out partly due to Conservative opposition.
But there may be some benefits to Wales in the fall out. It is almost certain that the Liberal Democrats will retalitate by kicking the legislation designed to cut the number of MPs to 600. 
This legislation was widely seen to be to the advantage of the Tories and to the disadvantage of the Liberal Democrats.  

In Wales the number of MPs were going to be reduced from 40 to 30 under the proposals. 
It is unlikely that there will be changes to either the Assembly or Westminster constituency boundaries despite the current consultation being conducted by Cheryl Gillan.
Pressure will likely raise its head in the Liberal Democrat conference to question the advantages to the party of being in coalition with the Conservatives. The party delegates just  love talking constitutional reform, the Welsh conference even wanted elections to the boards of national parks. How much disappointment they must now feel that their party has failed miserably to stop an unelected second chamber in the highest parliament in the land.
Labour will be blamed for the failure. Ed Miliband saw an advantage in not committing his party to a timetable that would have seen the passage of the bill through the Commons.
It now looks as Lords reform will not see the light of day for sometime soon despite the three parties having reform of the upper chamber in their manifestos.
Plaid Cymru were quick to discomfort the other parties. Dafydd Wigley said that it was extremely disappointing that such an important opportunity had been blown off course by an unholy alliance of Labour and Tory backbenchers.  
So it looks as if laws in the UK will continue to be made by unelected party nominees awhile yet.


  1. Nick Clegg would be mad to drop his campaign on the Lords. He'll score a huge own goal. He should carry on with it and make Labour argue in favour of an unelected house.

    The Tories would like wise be mad to oppose Lords reform and lose their chance to increase the number of their seats. What's best for them, lose the next election or win it.

    They'll come to some compromise. Clegg is playing hard-ball. If he's not, he's in the wrong job and will soon be out of a job.

  2. Clegg isn't playing hardball. He's waiting to be offered a new job within the EU, a plushy, cushy, well remunerated position that he has been promised by 'call me Dave'.

  3. It's now clear that the Tories have closed the door on the prospect of House of Lords reform. By doing so they have, once and for all, slammed, bolted and barricaded the door closed on any notion that the Lib Dems have any real influence in the Coalition.

    The bickering will begin, the 'tit for tat' rejection of each other's policies will begin, and the Coalition will blunder on until 2015, ineffective and directionless.

    Neither party can afford the electoral consequences of disengaging from it.

    Mr. Clegg, how naive you have been. You sold out on your party's principles very cheaply indeed.