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Clegg warns on Lords reform

Clegg warns on Lords reform
Nick Clegg has warned he expects "everybody" in the Government to abide by the Coalition Agreement and get behind House of Lords reform.

Speaking to Channel 4 News this evening, the Deputy Prime Minister said the reforms - published today - were "binding on the whole of the Coalition Government".

"We’ve had a discussion within government about what the shape of this legislation would look like, and we’ve agreed it collectively. This is government legislation, it is binding on the whole of the Coalition Government," he claimed. 

“I think in a coalition government, in particular, it is just incumbent on everybody in it to do what you’ve collectively agreed to do in the coalition agreement."

However the Deputy Prime Minister refused to comment on what would happen to the Coalition Agreement if the proposals were defeated, saying both he and the Prime Minister were "determined" the reforms should pass.

The Prime Minister told MPs this afternoon it was the right time to "make progress" on House of Lords reform, despite vocal opposition from within his own party.

At Prime Minister's Questions, David Cameron said: "We have been discussing this issue for 100 years. It really is time to make progress."

He also insisted that the majority of people across the country supported a mainly elected House of Lords.

The plans have been attacked by peers, with former Tory and Labour Cabinet Ministers raising their concerns about the primacy of the Commons, the costs of the reforms and the proposed use of party list systems to elect the reformed Lords.

Earlier, a Conservative ministerial aide indicated he would vote against a motion that would speed up the passage of the bill through the Commons.

Conor Burns told the Today programme: "If I lose my job for something that was a mainstream view within the Conservative Party within the last Parliament, which serving Cabinet ministers held as their view, so be it."

But Leader of the House Sir George Young said "normal sanctions" would apply to ministers or aides who break the three-line whip.

There are also MPs on both Labour and Conservative benches who oppose the Bill. Former Labour Home Secretary David Blunkett described the package as a “dog’s dinner”, which was designed to secure Nick Clegg’s legacy, while Tory MP Eleanor Laing said having two elected chambers would “reduce democracy, and reduce the accountability of Parliament to the people”.

 

Green Box: Clegg warns on Lords reformClick to open

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