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Government narrowly avoids second defeat in House of Lords

OWoN: Real Democracy at work as we blocked a furious Government from over-killing cuts for those in most need and forced a new rethink. Threats everywhere. How dare we "Unelected Elites" refuse to pass these Government Bills. We just did! Hello Congress, your turn next! It's called a Conscience vote and the Lords are in the doghouse today in Westminster. Why are we needed? For just this!

A Downing Street spokesman today insisted the Prime Minister - pictured today - was 'determined' to address the 'constitutional issue' thrown up by the Lords

Government narrowly avoids second defeat in House of Lords

Tories narrowly avoid another damaging Lords loss as peers reject motion which would have blocked government changes to electoral reform

  • Government narrowly avoids Lords defeat on electoral changes
  • Would have been second defeat in 24 hrs
  • George Osborne 'determined' to push for tax credit cuts
  • Tax credits defeat: what the Government will do next
  • David Cameron announces constitutional review of House of Lords
  • Telegraph View: House of Lords is undermining democracy

The Telegraph
By Michael Wilkinson
27 October 2015

Final round-up of events

The 104-year-old Parliament Act should be changed to prevent peers ever voting down another financial bill, William Hague says today as the Government stepped up its war with the House of Lords.

Writing in The Telegraph Mr Hague, the former foreign secretary, says that the Government should amend the Act to make clear that the "supremacy of the Commons on matters of finance is an overriding principle of law”.

The Conservatives were left furious after Labour and Liberal Democrat peers voted on Monday to halt George Osborne’s controversial cuts to tax credits.

It was the first time the Lords has voted down a financial bill in 100 years.

David Cameron has announced a “rapid review” that will ensure MPs are in future given the "decisive role" over key financial decisions.

The review will be carried out by Lord Strathclyde, the former leader of the Lords.

The Prime Minister and his allies have accused peers of prompting a “constitutional crisis” by voting down the tax credits legislation.

The Government on Tuesday narrowly avoided yet another damaging defeat in the Lords.

Peers were attempting to torpedo legal changes to the system of voter registration that would have damaged Mr Cameron’s upcoming review of constituency boundaries.

Although the Government won the vote with a majority 11, Downing Street made clear that the “rapid review” will still take place to ensure peers are in future not allowed to veto Government finance packages.

Mr Hague said that it would not be a “wise idea” to flood the Lords with a “vast wave” of Conservative peers to ensure that the Government has a majority in the Upper House.

However, he made clear that a simple amendment to the Parliament Act could prevent peers repeating Monday’s dramatic defeat.

“The formal restrictions on the powers of the Lords were set out in the Parliament Act of 1911, forced through by the Liberals and amended by Attlee’s Labour government in 1949,” Mr Hague writes.

“The Act makes it clear that the upper house has no power to block or amend a bill designated as a ‘Money Bill’.

“Now the solution is for the Government, calmly and in the next session of this parliament, to bring forward a bill to amend the Act once more. Such a bill could be very short indeed, but would specify either that the same system of designation would be extended to secondary legislation of the type defeated this week, or that the supremacy of the Commons on matters of finance is an overriding principle of law.”

A No 10 spokesman said: "The Government is setting up a review to examine how to protect the ability of elected Governments to secure their business in Parliament.

"The review would consider in particular how to secure the decisive role of the elected House of Commons in relation to its primacy on financial matters and secondary legislation.”

It came as constitutional experts attacked the conduct of peers.

Professor Vernon Bogdanor said: “There is a constitutional difficulty because it appears that the Labour and Liberal Democrat peers in the House of Lords intend to use it as an opposition chamber, rather than as a revising chamber. And that I think, this Government or indeed any government would find unacceptable.”

However, John Bercow, the Commons Speaker, risked angering the Tories by saying that peers did nothing wrong by blocking the tax credits reforms.

Meanwhile, it emerged that Mr Cameron is coming under pressure to sack Baroness Stowell, the current Tory leader in the Lords, after the Government’s defeat on Monday.

A senior Government source said that there are growing concerns Baroness Stowell is not experienced enough to handle the constitutional row emerging in the Lords.

Sir George Young, the former chief whip, is being touted as a potential successor with sufficient clout to stop peers overturning Government business in the Lords.


1 comment :

  1. The Upper House is a key element of the Westminster system that I'm glad to have. I've seen time and again the Senate here in Oz block radical and dangerous legislation that ideologues in the bear pit push through.


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