The Coalition’s Lords Reform Bill received its Second Reading in the House of Commons on Monday and Tuesday. With the Labour party and at least 70 Conservative MPs announcing their intention to vote against the “Programme Motion” for the Bill (which would have imposed a time limit of 10 days for debate of the Bill at Committee Stage), the Government made a last-minute climb-down and cancelled the timetable motion. Nonetheless, the general vote on whether to give the Bill a Second Reading saw the biggest rebellion of the Coalition to date, with 91 Tory rebels voting against.
Meg Russell answers four key questions following this week's events:
- what are the government's options now on Lords reform?
- is there an alternative package of reforms that might succeed?
- were MPs right to criticise the government's plans for election, including 15 year non-renewable terms?
- why is Lords reform so difficult?
The fate of the Bill now hangs in the balance, with the governing parties promising to negotiate a renewed deal on the Bill over the summer recess. The implications for the Coalition remain equally unclear.
Constitution Unit Deputy Director Meg Russell offers her views on what the likely outcome. See Dr Russell’s work on the House of Lords and Parliament at ucl.ac.uk/constitution-unit/research/parliament