Lords reform unlikely to reappear

 

          Parliament is having a long and needless break until September. Clearly the government is not desperate to crack on with Lords reform, which might take a lot of debating time, as they are not shortening the summer holiday.

          I expect the Lords Reform Bill worked out by Mr Clegg to be quietly dropped this autumn. I would imagine government business managers have realised that they cannot rely on Mr Miliband to vote it through promptly and unamended. Though Labour may well wish to see a Bill carry in due course, they would also wish to see as much divisive debate and damage to the Coalition is possible before it passed. They would also doubtless vote with Conservative opponents in favour of a referendum on the issue.

       Business managers would also shrewdly work out that the Bill could be voted down in the Lords. Even some of the Lib Dem peers are against, let alone the Conservatives.  That would mean waiting a year and then trying to force it through the Commons under the Parliament Act, with the Lords complaining long and loudly that the use of the Parliament Act to abolish the Lords was an extreme measure. I cannot see them having the stomach for such a protracted and hazardous fight.

         Mr Clegg could then respond in the wider interests of the Coalition he helped form. He could see the Lords Reform delay for this Parliament as a parallel act by Conservatives to the Lib Dem slowdown and enforced changes to Mr Lansley’s  Health Reforms and their refusal to vote in support of Mr Hunt, and accept that these things happen in coalitions. Or he could seize what he thinks is his party’s interest, and demand that the boundary changes to reduce the number of MPs and make seats of a more consistent size be dropped. If Mr Clegg and the other payroll vote Lib Dems will not vote for the boundary changes then they too are dead, as Labour is strongly against them for party reasons as well.

           This will leave the legislative programme light . That is not necessarily a bad thing. The UK is not short of laws.  It would allow a repeal Bill to be put in, if the government wishes to increase our liberties and cut out some of the vexatious laws and regulations that bind us. Now there’s an idea that should appeal to Ministers from  both Coalition parties, but I  don’t see them limbering up for it.

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84 Comments

  1. Posted August 3, 2012 at 5:46 am | Permalink

    Conservative MPs in my view should be using the recess to develop ways of ridding their Party of the Cameron influence which is set to detroy all in which they presented themselves to the nation as their core beliefs.

    A light legislative programme following the recess is anything but what the nation requires with the legal consequences from the EU’s deliberate self-destruction to be dealt.

    The earliest possible start to prepare for such an event will become obvious as soon as the Coalition Agreement, which presently makes the necessary preparation impossible, is abandoned.

    Cameron, to be seen daily strutting around Olympic facilities and interviewed on sporting matters, while the ECB becomes an international laughing stock as occurred yesterday, seems surely ready to depart with only the minimum of pressure, he clearly senses he is inadequate for the duties and responsibilities he has taken on!

    • norman
      Posted August 3, 2012 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

      Cameron doesn’t care any more, that much is obvious. not even countenancing a change in the treasury should be proof enough but I’ve read articles suggesting he now accepts in private that a second term is beyond him. thats why he wont care about boundary changes either – preserving coalition until 2015 is end game.

      may as well have the most of next two years and not get too stressed about it. who cares if the country is going to the dogs, won’t affect him or his mates

  2. Mike Stallard
    Posted August 3, 2012 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    Thank you for one of your usual clear and concise summaries. Much appreciated.

    It is so sad to see the parochialism of our parliament which occurs just at the time when Germany is about to lose all her guarantees of her strong currency. (Weimar and Hitler go together in a lot of civilized German minds).

  3. Stewart Knight
    Posted August 3, 2012 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    So what you’re saying is that Cameron is very weak and a coward? I’d go along with that.

    • zorro
      Posted August 3, 2012 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

      Indeed, the Lib Dems are already saying the a ‘democratic’ House of Lords is their red line……so Cameron then says (or lets it be said) that these are only rumours about his backtracking on reform of the House of Lords. He will be wondering which way to turn….’Who should I upset John and his friends or Nick?’…well, no contest there then….As others have said, there is still time to act to remedy the situation and give yourselves a fighting chance.

      As for a repeal bill, somehow I doubt that there is a hope in hell of that, no matter what they promised before the election. At least over the summer, we are spared a lot of the pathetic posturing except of course from Cameron at the Olympics as he tries to let some of the stardust sprinkle on him.

      zorro

    • Posted August 3, 2012 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

      Cameron seems to think his job is strutting around for photo opportunities and saying anything that will get him some press coverage – fine let him do that but put someone sensible and numerate (JR like) in charge of economic policy and direction. I simply cannot see how Cameron can win the next election – indeed is he even trying to, his credibility is just gone?

      Jobs, working banks, fewer daft regulations, growth, lower taxes, cheap non green energy, a sensible EU position,sensible direction and a smaller state sector is all that could win it now – and action not worthless cast iron promises nonsense.

      So little time and still he is mucking about with happiness nonsense, QE, the enforced equality agenda, the EU/PIGIS money drain and tax borrow and waste.

      At least Lords reform is dead just get the parliamentary boundaries sorted and now.

      • Posted August 3, 2012 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

        An easy hire and fire law is perhaps the most important thing to put in any legislative space available – perhaps start with firing the anti business secretary who is resisting this and so many other sensible things. Also get rid of nearly all unfair subsidies for everything start with the BBC tax and the green tosh. Do we not have a fair competition law somewhere?

  4. Pete the Bike
    Posted August 3, 2012 at 6:42 am | Permalink

    “Parliament is having a long and needless break until September.”
    I look upon it as a month where no new stupid policies are conjured up and no hot air wasted on irrelevancy and prevarication. If only it was permanent. Sadly Sir Humphrey is busy crafting more awful rules and wasting billions on himself, that part of government never stops.

    • outsider
      Posted August 3, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

      Sadly, a “light legislative programme” will doubtless be filled with other Bills such as gay marriage and forcing taxpayers to subsidise private political parties even more. Will either of these be subject to a referendum? Another of Mr Redwood’s “simple rules” might be that ministers should ask themselves whether they would object to any new Bill (other than Finance Bills) going to a referendum. If the answer is yes the Bill should be dropped.

  5. JimF
    Posted August 3, 2012 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    Good, so perhaps the effort which won’t be expended here can be expended in the direction of the banks.

  6. alan jutson
    Posted August 3, 2012 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    The Country is going down the tubes, and Mp’s are on Holiday.

    Aware its not a complete holiday John, as you are still doing constituancy work, but it does not look good, or perhaps project the correct image, does it.

  7. forthurst
    Posted August 3, 2012 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    “It would allow a repeal Bill to be put in, if the government wishes to increase our liberties and cut out some of the vexatious laws and regulations that bind us. Now there’s an idea that should appeal to Ministers from both Coalition parties, but I don’t see them limbering up for it.”

    I can’t think. Oh, wait a minute, what about those thoughtcrime laws that are used to intimidate English people and give those not like us a crowing superiority over us. That an ‘offence’ may have been committed if an allegedly aggrieved party says so and which only in practice can be applied against English people might be considered an unexpected diversion in the progression of English law toward greater fairness and the freedom from the arbitrary use of the power of the state over the last thousand years.

    • zorro
      Posted August 3, 2012 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

      Yes, I’ll have to make a complaint about your non approved views and behaviour to the police immediately – expect a visit from the tweet cops!

      zorro

  8. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted August 3, 2012 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    Your final paragraph confirms that even you realise that there is no enthusiasm amongst the coalition “leadership” to reduce the state’s intrusion into our daily lives. In fact, they are more inclined to do precisely the opposite.

  9. Martin Sewell
    Posted August 3, 2012 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    I sense that Eric Pickles would be the man for the job.

    • Bazman
      Posted August 3, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

      Not in charge of the pies. Thats for sure.

      • RB
        Posted August 3, 2012 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

        Actually that would be good. He clearly knows his pies and at least they would be tasty!

        • Bazman
          Posted August 5, 2012 at 8:13 am | Permalink

          He is an expert in porky pies for sure and in particular that Yorkshire one called a ‘growler’ as in the pastygate scandal is quoted as saying: “Real men don’t eat pasties they eat growlers” A Ginsters pasty contains according to the packet 24% fat so it is fair to to say he would have a higher percentage than this. It’s not my fault culture of problem families is attacked by him, but says he has lost count of the number of diets tried by himself in the last 30 years, so we will presume that is not his fault. The 50 million quid he proposed to cut when in Bradford council must have been spent on pies if you look at photo’s of him in the 80’s.

  10. Liz
    Posted August 3, 2012 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    If Mr Clegg blocks changes in constituency boundaries it will show that he is not as interested in democracy as he loudly claims to be. At the moment an Englishman’s vote is “worth” about half that of a Scotman’s as not only do they have their own Parliament they also have some very small constituencies and as a result have too many MPs who have no compunction about voting on purely English affairs in the House of Commons. Mr Clegg is a bit selective in which bits of “democracy” he supports – he is also of course madly ken on that undemocratic EU. Lords’ reform is a long way down the list of things we need to do to make this country more democratic.

    • Derek Buxton
      Posted August 3, 2012 at 11:35 am | Permalink

      Nice comment. It reminded me of a letter I saw last night in the local paper in which a local man questions the attitude of our local MP, a Mr. Stunnell. This apology for an MP is calling for an elected HoL just as instructed by his boss Clegg. The letter asked how an elected HoL would be more democratic but the Limp-Dims want us fully integrated in the EU, an anti democratic organisation. There is more than just a streak of hypocracy in this toy party, which shows just how bad a deal Cameron got when wanting a coalition with them.

      • uanime5
        Posted August 3, 2012 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

        I’d imagine an elected House of Lords would be more democratic that an unelected House of Lords by default. Unelected scarcely goes with democratic.

    • A.Sedgwick
      Posted August 3, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

      What do MPs in Scottish seats do?

      • nicol sinclair
        Posted August 4, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

        Sit!

    • peter davies
      Posted August 4, 2012 at 7:07 am | Permalink

      Very good first sentence – Its really puzzled me the last few years what the libs are about – their view of democracy is all over the place, first they want a voted in House Of Lords yet they would sell us down the EU road tomorrow if they could. The Lords issue should be kicked into the long grass until the EU thing is sorted out as a minimum.

      It will be interesting to see whether Clegg blocks the boundary changes – nothing would surprise me, just hope he sees sense and lets it o through.

    • lifelogic
      Posted August 4, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

      Clearly the EU is not democratic, indeed it is anti democratic in so very many ways. It cannot be democratic as there is no sensible “EU Demos” with a consistent common interest or even language.

      Clegg is very pro EU, he and the LibDems are clearly dangerous enemies of democracy (as indeed is Cameron). Voters will not get a say in anything unless they are likely to vote as required. If they do not do so they will have to vote again, just as the Irish have to.

  11. norman
    Posted August 3, 2012 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    I can’t decide if the first paragraph is said tongue in cheek or not. Are summer holidays for MPs (although, like teachers, it would be wrong to look on them as a summer break, no doubt need the time to catch up with constituency business, etc.) curtailed on a regular basis?

    I’d have thought this would be a very rare occurence but would be happy for the cynic in me to be proven wrong.

    • Bazman
      Posted August 5, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

      After their summer holidays do MP’s like teachers need a day called a (Un) professional day before they start work?

  12. Posted August 3, 2012 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    Which lib dem peers are against it?

  13. Andrew Shakespeare
    Posted August 3, 2012 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    Is that the same Great Repeal Bill that Little Nicky decided back in 2010 was all a bit too much like hard work?

  14. Matthew
    Posted August 3, 2012 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    I hope that you’re correct – well done Conservative backbenchers.

    Mr Cameron should use the break to reflect upon the direction of his government and sort what his priorities are.

  15. Lord Blagger
    Posted August 3, 2012 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    Simply solution. Cut their funding.

    Last time I calculated the cost it was 2,700 a day for each peer. [Cost to us, not their tax evading expenses]

    Allow them 500 a day each to run the Lords.

  16. Martin C
    Posted August 3, 2012 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    The Lib-Dems will not vote for the boundary changes because they are dishonest liars. They had their part of the coalition agreement on the issue, which was the referendum on electoral reform (A-V) and lost it; and now as bad losers they will renage on their side of the bargain. Just as they equally intend to renage on their manifesto commitment to a referendum on EU membership, which was another equally opportunistic lie.

    • Liz A
      Posted August 3, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

      True – tired of the trivia and vanity projects.

      It’s about time Cameron decided whether he’s Conservative or Lib Dem and concentrate on the important issues.

      If Nick and Vince don’t like it, then let them have their hissy fit and go, I for one, won’t miss them.

      EU is a massive drain on us – withouth borders, there is no country. We have no borders.

      It’s a pity that Cameron isn’t as committed a Conservative as John Redwood.

      • lifelogic
        Posted August 4, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

        Opportunistic lies indeed all round well they are politicians after all.

        Cameron is clearly a Libdem, socialist at heart. Who else would waste time and money on a “happiness index”.

        Clearly Cameron should have won the sitting duck election with a big margin, had he been a real Tory, done a deal with UKIP and not given Clegg equal TV billing.

        Also he should have got the boundary changes done first, before he allowed the LibDems their absurd AV referendum. He is incompetent and a pro EU, socialist to boot.

  17. stred
    Posted August 3, 2012 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    Any chance they may just decide to adopt David Steele’s proposals, which seem quite sensible?

    • lifelogic
      Posted August 4, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

      No chance.

  18. Iain
    Posted August 3, 2012 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    Lords reform was always a stupid idea when the British establishment chooses to ignore the real constitutional discrimination, the West Lothian Question, and until we have sorted out English democratic rights in the UK there is no point in trying to ‘fix’ anything else in the constitution, for everything flows from that , not from Lords reform.

    If Cameron was politically smart, which he isn’t for he has the most malfunctioning political nose there has ever been in Parliament ( the only real surprise is how with such an impediment he managed to make it to No10) he would sideline the Libdems and take on the issue of the West Lothian Question, place himself at the heart of English interests, and set a long lasting constitutional settlement in place by federating the UK and give English people their own Parliament. This would give the UK a constitution that would restore basic rights of equality, that could be defended.

  19. stred
    Posted August 3, 2012 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    Off subject. I have been dealing with the estate of a late friend, who lived frugally, invested for his old age, and left a simple will with all his papers and contacts in clear order.

    So far we spent an hour handing over papers and having various laws, such as copyright explained, which would make the process very difficult. In addition the young lawyer refused to allow an executor to pay the proceeds into their account before distribution. We now have to open a bank account for a month or two and go through laundering procedures.

    If the firm of lawyers were to take over the estate, their charge would be in the region of £8k plus some time charges. The young solicitors’ time charge would be £250 per hour. The accountant’s charge was even more.

    And the medics made the most of their bit of embarrassment when one of their number bumped off a few hundred patients and ensured that good doctors and nurses fear giving dying patient enough morphine to shorten their suffering. Those wishing to use a cremation now have to have the death certified by two additional doctors. The fee is £120 for two signatures.

    • alan jutson
      Posted August 3, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

      Stred

      From Experience.

      Simply set up a Probate Account with a chequebook, with the Executor operating the Account..

      All payments made into that by the Executor.

      All expenses/fees etc paid by the Executor from that Account.

      When Probate granted, then settle the Will according to the deceased wishes.

      Only complication is if Inheritance Tax is due on the Estate, as the Inland Revenue want to be paid before a house sale goes through, if it forms the larger part of the Estate, and no money is available to pay the tax due.

      Thus you either have to get a loan to pay the Inland Revenue, or agree an interest rate charge with them for delayed payment.

      Do contact the Inland Revenue help line (telephone) for the required forms, I found them very helpful and understanding (the first time ever) a couple of years ago.

      Best of luck, even the most organised affairs and clearest of Wills can sometimes be frustrating, when dealing with officialdom.

      • alan jutson
        Posted August 3, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

        Almost forgot.

        I avoid solicitors if at all possible.

        In my experience they are inefficient, make too many mistakes, take too long to do anything, and cost the earth.

      • RB
        Posted August 3, 2012 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

        Absolutely. You dont need a lawyer for an estate with no IHT. As has been said just open an Executors account, attend the probate meeting at the local court. Get your grant and account properly for the money on the basis that the court can randomly require an executor to provide accounts (although they almost never do).

        Paying lawyers/accountants on a simple estate is throwing away money unnecessarily. (And I was a lawyer for nearly 20 years).

      • stred
        Posted August 4, 2012 at 12:25 am | Permalink

        Thanks Alan. The accountant is an executor and his time setting up the bank account has to be £350 per hour! He was trying to save money by paying into the lawyer’s account and is a very honest chap. OK for some!

    • lifelogic
      Posted August 4, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

      Much of the legal system is indeed run, mainly in the interest of the Legal profession, not those of the public. Never put a solicitor/accountant as executors on a will would be my advice. The executors can then take legal advice (if and as needed) and a agree a fee in advance rather than being lumbered with usually very over expensive executors.

      It is only a few forms after all in most cases.

  20. oldtimer
    Posted August 3, 2012 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    Most people appear to be enjoying the circus that is the London Olympics. After they are over, attention will focus on the bread. The political class would be most unwise to indulge itself in its very own circus – the political games that turn people off contemporary politics. Parliament needs to focus on issues that matter. These include measures to stabilise and restore conditions to enable economic growth, including the removal of the many obstacles that impede this objective.

    Lords reform is a circus we can do without.

  21. Atlas
    Posted August 3, 2012 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    Quote: “If Mr Clegg and the other payroll vote Lib Dems will not vote for the boundary changes then they too are dead, as Labour is strongly against them for party reasons as well.”

    I presume by the ‘they’ you mean the changes and not the Lib-Dems. Such a voting action by the Lib-Dems will just enhance the chance of Labour and the Lib-Dems forming a coalition after the next election (Providing Clegg leaves).

  22. PayDirt
    Posted August 3, 2012 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    The LibDems need to work out for the next election if they want to stay in coalition with Tories or move over to side with Labour. Forget about high-sounding principles, it is all about manoeuvering the jelly which is the British electorate. By the way, what is a “payroll vote LibDem”?

  23. Sue
    Posted August 3, 2012 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    “This will leave the legislative programme light” – Oh yes, that’s right, you’ve made yourselves redundant by handing over the running of our country to Brussels. Looks like Cameron’s become a Sports Commentator, obviously there’s nothing else occurring that we should be worrying about.

    Perhaps you should all get your P45’s at the beginning of Autumn term. We could certainly do with the extra money and most politicians could do with actually working in the real world.

    • Derek Buxton
      Posted August 3, 2012 at 11:40 am | Permalink

      Would anyone in the real world want to employ them? I would not touch most of them at any price.

  24. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted August 3, 2012 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    I would not want to see the LibDems vote against the proposed constituency boundary changes which are (a) just and (b) in the interests of the Conservative Party.

    On the matter of Lords Reform, it’s time for the Conservative Party to get a bit cute. Labour say that they are in favour of a reform bill in principle. All the Prime Minister has to say is that, once Labour and the LibDems have agreed on a particular set of proposals and the amount of parliamentary time required, he will provide the parliamentary time. I doubt if it will lead to anything but it puts the ball in their court.

  25. Philip
    Posted August 3, 2012 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    I agree that a Repeal Bill to “cut out some of the vexatious laws and regulations that bind us” would be a good idea, to increase liberty as well as help economic growth.

    But shouldn’t be a free-for-all that only has profit as the motivation and too little regard for impacts on families and society (so ‘no’ to ending Sunday Trading rules, and ‘no’ to easier gambling). But it should include restoration of basic freedoms and liberties that are the mark of a free nation, such as freedoms of speech, religion, and conscience, which are being eroded by “equality” etc laws and attempts by the state to impose revised moral views.

    • RB
      Posted August 3, 2012 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

      I agree. The first to go should be the Equality Act and the ridiculous oppressive thought crimes that were introduced in recent years.

  26. Timaction
    Posted August 3, 2012 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    It’s been reported in the Telegraph today that Mr Cameron has announced that the Lords reform will not proceed. However, when is he and the Government going to deliver on……….. anything?
    Public spending cuts? Cull of the quangos? Immigration in the 10’s of thousands? Reform of the bogus student visa, bring your unsupported family scam? When is Article 7, 2004 EU directive of the free movement of people being inacted to stop EU residents being a burden on this state? Don’t think our europhile Government or Sir Humphries have any appetite for that, just keep taxes rising to provide free health, housing, education and other public services for all new arrivals! Reducing the Border force budget should help!
    Reform of the Human Rights Act? Repatriation of laws from the European Court of Human Rights? EU repatriation of powers and reduction in costs (£11 billion net)? Referendum on In/Out of the EU?
    The Governments priorities remain increasing foreign aid, green power with more windmills and solar panels that don’t work providing huge rental and other income to family and friends, gay marriage…………
    Some may argue our political leaders tinker on the fringes as our masters in Brussels decide all the big policy issues and they pretend it’s theirs and inact them.

    • Derek Buxton
      Posted August 3, 2012 at 11:45 am | Permalink

      Your last paragraph in most certainly correct. You are in error however on the repatriation of powers from the EU, it just is not possible even were there to be a PM and parliament with the backbone to try. there is of course no one of that calibre available and the civil service would strangle it at birth.

      Reply: As I have said negotiate then let the people decide, what’s to be lost in trying?

      • Sean O'Hare
        Posted August 3, 2012 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

        JR said:

        Reply: As I have said negotiate then let the people decide, what’s to be lost in trying?

        Precious time would be lost. I’m fearful that in the time it takes to “negotiate” the ratchet will have tightened to the extend that escape will have become impossible.

  27. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 3, 2012 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    Firstly, there is absolutely no intention to “abolish the Lords” with or without the use of the Parliament Act.

    Cromwell abolished the monarchy and abolished the Lords, but Cleggs’ reform Bill would do neither of those things.

    • Sean O'Hare
      Posted August 3, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

      If Clegg’s bill were passed then the upper house would become The Senate and would bear no resemblance to the HoL. Therefore it would have been abolished surely?

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted August 4, 2012 at 7:56 am | Permalink

        Clegg’s Bill is the House of Lords Reform Bill:

        http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/cbill/2012-2013/0052/13052.pdf

        All references throughout the Bill are to the “House of Lords” and its “members” with no references at all to a Senate or to Senators; it’s a Bill to “Make provision about the membership of the House of Lords … ” as reflected in the first section of the first part, but without changing either its name or more importantly its present constitutional position which is expressly confirmed through the last section of that part.

        If the purpose of the Bill was indeed to “abolish the Lords”, then afterwards other Bills would no longer start with the words:

        “BE IT ENACTED by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:— ”

        but instead would only refer to the advice and consent of the Commons.

        Which is actually done now, on the rare occasions that the Parliament Acts are invoked to by-pass the Lords, eg the Hunting Act 2004:

        http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2004/37/introduction

        but would become the norm if the House of Lords was abolished.

        • Sean O'Hare
          Posted August 4, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

          If it is a totally elected house then there would likely be no Lords left and presumably even life peers (political shoe-ins) would have to stand for election. I fail to see how they can still refer to “Lords Spiritual and Temporal” under such circumstances.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted August 5, 2012 at 8:06 am | Permalink

            Under Clegg’s proposals, Section 1 in the Bill, it would always be less than 80% of the total members who were elected, and there’s nothing to stop all them still being referred to as Lords while they were members, and there would still be up to 12 “Lords Spiritual”.

            So I think that the present introductory formula in Bills could and would be retained, which it certainly couldn’t be if the plan really was abolition of the Lords rather than reform of its membership.

  28. Graham
    Posted August 3, 2012 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    The only thing of interest in this article is noting the disgraceful amount of holiday time.

    Mind you it means that less damage can be caused while they are on their (normal) extended break.

  29. Posted August 3, 2012 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    If ut us a good thing that the legislative programme be light in new laws constraining us, & I firmly agree, then the argument that too much legislating time would be taken up by a premature, after a century, reform of the Lords falls.

    On a shifting the blame way I the government could go on with it saying that if Labour vote it down or bring in a time wasting amendment they will drop the whole thing. Thus the blame for maintaining the current indefensible mess would lie with Labour.

    If actually doing something useful were the intent a multi-option referndum would be the way to go. Obviously this resort to democracy is not popular with any faction in the Commons.

  30. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 3, 2012 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    Secondly, if the Lords reform Bill were to be dropped then that would create some slack in the government’s legislative timetable, but that wouldn’t be used for a “repeal Bill”.

    However on September 3rd the Commons will be asked to give a second reading to the European Union (Approval of Treaty Amendment Decision) Bill that was started in the Lords on May 10th:

    http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2012-13/europeanunionapprovaloftreatyamendmentdecision.html

    “A Bill to make provision for the purposes of section 3 of the European Union Act 2011 in relation to the European Council decision of 25 March 2011 amending Article 136 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union with regard to a stability mechanism for Member States whose currency is the euro.”

    Maybe MPs will be able to spend more time asking the minister to explain exactly why the government is pursuing the insane foreign policy of helping to preserve the present eurozone intact so that it can subsequently expand and eventually, inevitably, engulf us as well.

    An e-petition calling for a referendum on that radical EU treaty change is still running here:

    http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/33825

    but will of course become redundant if/when the Commons follow the Lords by agreeing that whatever EU treaty changes Angela Merkel may want she must have, and we must ask for no other EU treaty changes in return.

    • James
      Posted August 3, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

      I don’t think it is at all inevitable that the eurozone will expand and engulf us. Far from it in fact. I fully expect the eurozone to collapse, if not sooner, then certainly later. What we should be doing is limiting our exposure to the euro currency along with ceasing to help fund this dead currency. Better a quick sharp shock of collapse than a long-drawn-out slow decline into death which would leave us in permanent recession (or at best stagnation). We simply will not be able to grow again until the eurozone crisis has passed. Let’s encourage its demise as soon as possible.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted August 3, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

        And if your guess that the eurozone will collapse turns out to be wrong, what then in the longer term?

      • Sean O'Hare
        Posted August 3, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

        The EU will do everything in their power to keep their zombie currency in existence, and that will include an attempted expansion, if they deem that as a measure that will keep it above ground level.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted August 4, 2012 at 8:59 am | Permalink

          They will do everything they possibly can, legal and illegal, ethical and unethical, to preserve the present eurozone intact, because if even tiny Malta left the eurozone that would destroy the repeatedly declared principle that euro membership is irreversible, setting a precedent that an EU member state could join the euro and subsequently leave it without leaving the EU, and necessitating EU treaty changes to sort out the legalities.

          As things stand 17 out of 27 EU member states are already in the euro and none may ever leave it, and 8 more EU member states are under a treaty obligation to join the euro at the earliest opportunity, and that same legal obligation is automatically imposed on all new EU member states.

          The current case in point being Croatia, illustrating that since the Maastricht Treaty came into force Tory party support for enlargement of the EU has always implied support for expansion of the eurozone some years later, and that would be the case if it was Turkey joining the EU rather than Croatia.

          It is also clear that the so-called “referendum lock” is not intended to allow us to have a referendum when we might want one, but only when the government wants one; which they don’t for either the radical EU treaty change agreed on March 25th 2011 or the accession of Croatia to the EU and later to the eurozone, and similarly for Turkey; and as that Act is not in any way entrenched against easy repeal if necessary the government could avoid a referendum on whether we should end our increasing “isolation” within the EU by joining all the other member states in the euro.

          Therefore as the EU treaties stand the chance that the UK will eventually be wangled into the euro is uncomfortably high, only somewhat less than the chance that the present eurozone will be preserved intact, which I would still put at about 75% probability and which the present government would like to see increased to 100%.

          This truly is an insane policy on the part of a political party which publicly criticises the euro as having always been a bad idea, and declares that while the UK must stay in the EU we should not join the euro.

  31. Mike Fowle
    Posted August 3, 2012 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood, I have just been reading the life of Asquith by Roy Jenkins, which is elegantly written and most interesting. Of course, the question of Lords reform, curtailing their power etc features largely. I was wondering whether there is just an atavistic urge on the part of Liberals etc to reform the Lords even though their character and role has changed enormously since then?

  32. Stephen O
    Posted August 3, 2012 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    Two parties committed to reducing regulations and the opportunity to focus on it. Petty they did not really mean it.

    Good that the Lords ‘Reform’ (sic) looks dead. petty they never actually came up with a proposal to improve government in the first place.

  33. Sue
    Posted August 3, 2012 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    This government seems to have become a specialised outlet for corporatism, perhaps that is their new function in government. After all, it is said socialism and corporatism go hand in hand.

    “The Government department that has failed to stop energy bills going through the roof paid out £1 million in bonuses to its civil servants last year, it was revealed today.
    Mandarins at the Department of Energy and Climate Change grabbed £958,783 in 2011-12 – up £133,135 on a year earlier. But in the same period many British households have been forced to pay at least £200 extra a year to heat and light their homes.

    Local businesses are suffering in London because of the Olympics, it seems entirely devoted to corporatism (and very badly organised in my opinion) Empty seats, cash machines not working and what happened to the TAXPAYER FUNDED “Fit for Life” campaign? McDonalds and Coke are hardly healthy. The opening ceremony, although impressive (they spent enough lets face it), was very left wing. It was obvious London was chosen for it’s multiculturalism and in my opinion was the worst site possible for this event. It should have been in one of the old industrial areas in the North that needed regeneration.

    “Hunt and Johnson have taken the classic neocon attitude to the 2012 Olympics: ignore the oridnary citizens, provide a sufficiency for the athletes, sell out to the sponsors, butter up the big multinationals at the expense of local business, and shower the money-men with tickets and go-faster lanes. You couldn’t ask for a better encapsulation of everything logically and ethically wrong with Friedmanite economics”

    The political party that you belong to Mr Redwood have lost their moral compass. Many of you like Mr Carswell, Mr Cash and Mr Hannan (there are some others I know) have been betrayed as much as we have. I have watched your posts over the last few years now and they are beginning to sound more like the “grass-roots Tories” blogs that I read everyday. It must be terribly frustrating for you.

    Reply: I doubt we could have won the Olympics for somewhere other than London. Our previous Manchester bid, which I thought as good, was rejected.

  34. David Langley
    Posted August 3, 2012 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    Lets get the EU sorted first, then we can sort out the Lords and while we are at it the House of Commons as well. Once we get started who knows where it might end. It would be really good if we had fresh ideas and a business like and can do attitude with a smaller board and more focussed on what we the electorate want. Personally I think its time to rethink the Mother of Parliaments as if it can allow EU rule it is not to my mind really fit for purpose.
    Treason and traitors spring readily to mind when examining the way we have been conned over the years.

  35. James
    Posted August 3, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    John, once again I wish you were in government. People often wonder why the public are no longer interested nor engaged in politics. The answer is simple. No politician with backbone and forthright views is able to get into government anymore. You are seen as “gaffers” and “loose cannon”. I long for the days of idealist, fire-in-the-belly political arguments; sadly I think those days are over. However there is just one glimmer of a light at the end of the tunnel…
    Let’s get Boris in as PM. I feel confident that he would be carefree in saying what he felt and damn the consequences. It would certainly reignite politics, and may even make the Tories electable in their own right come 2015. It’s far from impossible to conceive…

    • Manof Kent
      Posted August 3, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

      I second that!

  36. Atlas
    Posted August 3, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    Would Boris have to be an MP to be initially elected leader?

    reply Yes – and would have to resign as Mayor.

  37. John Orchard
    Posted August 3, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    I think what Pete the Bike stated is true. No matter what Government is elected these Sir Humphrey’s stay and you are not telling me Osborne who has no business history does it all on his own, I think not. If it were at all possible these people should be looked at and the way the economy is being handeled ( badly ) they should be got rid of. How come you John are not the Chancellor ( not sycophantic on my part ) as you are a self made Man, why are you not a Cabinet member or is it possibly because you are not a posh Boy?

  38. Leslie Singleton
    Posted August 3, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

    It is opined above that Cameron is weak and a coward. He is neither. What he is, is simply wrong, on every issue apparently, and never ever even remotely Conservative. Telling the Liberals to go hang on Lords Reform would be a good start in trying to row back but I fear it is too late. For myself I have already vowed to support UKIP come what may. They deserve support.

  39. uanime5
    Posted August 3, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    The Conservatives can expect the Lib Dems to refuse to vote for Conservative bills if the Conservatives won’t vote for Lib Dems bills. You reap what you sow.

  40. Paul
    Posted August 3, 2012 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

    The Lords does need reform there’s no doubt about that. Anyone with half a brain cell can see it’s flawed in its current form. But it needs to be addressed and debated another time. The economy is the only issue at the moment (an issue which, like all others, Cameron and Clegg have no clue what to do). The fiasco over Lords reform is simply another sign of how hopeless and incompetent Cameron and the modern Conservative Party is. I also find it laughable that Clegg complains that the Lords needs reform because laws in this country should be made by those who are elected – what about 75%+ of our laws being made by the EU Clegg?! A total hypocrite.

  41. Alan
    Posted August 3, 2012 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

    Given the choice between an elected House of Lords and one appointed by patronage, our MPs choose patronage; given the chance to equalise the size of constituencies they prefer unequal constituencies for reasons of party advantage; given the choice between an electoral system that would have provided a more representative House of Commons, our electorate chose to continue using the system that ensures that the views of many are not represented.

    This is not right. This is no way to run the country.

  42. Marie1797
    Posted August 4, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    Yes it would unite the coalition if they both repealed the idiotic Human Rights Act 1998 and the
    stifling Equality Act 2010 to give us some of our freedoms back.

  43. Posted August 4, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    What might the LibDems usefully do instead of Lords-reform? If they return to their liberal roots, they might press the government to get the state out of ordinary people’s lives by encouraging enterprise and local decision-making. Each of England’s nine regions could become a Swiss-style canton, choosing what sort of health, welfare and education it wanted. Tax could be raised locally, with a tithe going to the federal government for defence (policing is already devolved).

    Trouble is, the LibDems aren’t liberals but soft-left. The Cablist cabal are mere social democrats, seeking to insinuate Labour policy into an anti-Labour coalition, and succeeding. Witness the steady rise in (not cuts to) public spending. When it all goes pear-shaped because we haven’t cut the state enough, the British electorate will do the same as its continental counterparts and elect a high-spending socialist government, LibDem objective achieved.

  44. uanime5
    Posted August 4, 2012 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

    It’s amazing how many posters condemn the EU for being undemocratic yet are perfectly happy with MPs being elected with 30% of the votes and having an unelected House of Lords. You’d think if democracy was so important to them they’d want more of it in the UK.

  45. Mike Wilson
    Posted August 7, 2012 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    It would appear the turkeys have voted for Christmas. Back bench Tories have scuppered Lords reform and, in due course, the coalition will break.

    ‘I expect the bill to be quietly dropped in the Autumn’ … hmmm … not really finger on the pulse stuff. I expect the coalition to break and a general election which Labour will win by a landslide.

    What have we got to date?

    Bonfire of the quangos? No.
    Reduction in the size of the state? No – it has increased.
    Anything on our relationship with Europe? Anything at all? Some morsel? No.
    Removal of business red tape and government interference? No.
    The big tax avoiders forced to pay their share? No.
    Little tax avoiders told not to pay their plumber in cash? Yes!
    Increased taxation wherever possible? Yes.
    Any sense that the government has a plan? No.
    Any sense that the government are like rabbits in the headlights. Yes.

    Ahhh well, what can you do? If you can’t beat them, join them. Time to go on sickness benefit of some sort I guess. Labour will look after me!

One Trackback

  1. By Week of July 31 – Aug 6 | US Daily Review on August 3, 2012 at 6:06 pm

    […] Lords reform unlikely to reappear Parliament is having a long and needless break until September. Clearly the government is not desperate to crack on with Lords reform, which might take a lot of debating time, as they are not shortening the summer holiday. […]

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, He graduated from Magdalen College Oxford, has a DPhil and is a fellow of All Souls College. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.

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