Those were the Lords reforms that the Tories promised
You can see why David Cameron got quite “firm” with Jesse Norman (pictured), the Lords reform rebel who thinks that the French Revolution was “one of the greatest disasters ever to befall European civilisation”.
As I say in my article in The Independent on Sunday today, the Prime Minister did not agree with Norman’s view that the Conservative rebels were being “helpful” to him.
But Norman is undaunted. He commented today on Menzies Campbell’s interview with Andrew Marr: “Ming Campbell wrong to keep suggesting that Lords reform legislation is in Coalition Agreement. Just says ‘bring fwd proposals’.”
This is a quirky reading of the Coalition Agreement, with which several of the Tory rebels persist. What would be the point of promising to “bring forward proposals” just so that everyone could say, “nice proposals”, and put them in the bin? Actually, the Tory rebels said “flawed proposals” and voted against them, but the rest of that paragraph of the Coalition Agreement is horribly specific about what the proposals would look like.
The proposals that the coalition promised to “bring forward” were for a “wholly or mainly elected upper chamber on the basis of proportional representation”. Admittedly it did not say it would be the closed regional list form of proportional representation, which is the worst form possible, but the dreaded PR phrase was in there and Tory MPs cannot pretend otherwise. Equally, they made a great fuss about the lack of democratic accountability afforded by 15-year non-renewable terms for members of the upper house. Yet the Coalition Agreement said “it is likely” that the draft Lords reform plan “will advocate single long terms of office”.
This model of Lords reform may be a bad idea, as I have said before, but Conservatives cannot say that they did not know about it and had not signed up to it.Tagged in: coalition, lords reform
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