Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Back in Westminster

Now back in Westminster after 5 weeks up north. Going through the letters and paperwork and prepping for the start of the new parliamentary term on Monday.

Still taking in some of the ramifications of summer while I was on my Charity Walk, like our Coalition partners now not proceeding on Lords reform, and dodging the silly season stories like Prince Harry - surely what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas?

On House of Lords Reform I voted for the Bill in July. It passed the house overwhelmingly but clearly needed serious revision / amendment in order to work long term. But that is what parliament does. We pass Bills in outline and then work on them in debate and committee to improve them as abest we can.

I am stunned that Nick Clegg has now said that he will not be proceeding with the reforms that the whole House overwhelmingly backed.
It seems that there are three options:
- proceed with Clegg's bill, subject to amendment - the DPM has now announced he will not do this
- do nothing = now our present course, which means the House of Lords will not be reformed at all despite everyone agreeing it needs reform.
- Take Cleggs Bill, and the much admired Draft Bill of Lord David Steel, a former Lib Dem Party Leader, and work the two together to create a final Bill that actually creates a more accountable, slimmer, less patronage based Upper Chamber that enjoys the support of the House of Commons and most importantly the public which also allows for Commons supremacy and other changes that many have agreed are required.

I will be very curious to see whether Lords reform is now off the agenda for good.