The Lords does have powers, but in order for any government to keep on functioning the elected Commons must hold the sway over the unelected Lords. Last night that agreed centuries old convention was broken.
Responding to the Lords' vote on tax credits last night, the Chancellor said:
“Tonight, unelected Labour and Liberal Democrat Lords have defeated a financial matter passed by the elected House of Commons, and David Cameron and I are clear that this raises constitutional issues that need to be dealt with.
"However, it has happened; and what we must address are the consequences of that. I said I would listen, and that's precisely what I intend to do. I believe we can achieve the same goal of reforming tax credits, saving the money we need to save to secure our economy, while at the same time helping in the transition.
"That's what I intend to do at the Autumn Statement. I am determined to deliver that lower welfare, higher wage economy that we were elected to deliver and the British people want to see."