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House of Lords

Volume 551: debated on Tuesday 16 October 2012

3. What his policy is on the House of Lords (Cessation of Membership) Bill [Lords], Lords Bill 21 of Session 2012-13. (122132)

As my right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister made clear to the House on 3 September, the Government consider that the provisions of the Bill do not address the issues that make reform of the House of Lords necessary.

I suppose I am not surprised that the Deputy Prime Minister did not answer that question himself. He will be aware, probably more than most, that there are some gaps in the legislative programme for this Session of Parliament. Will he therefore arrange for Lord Steel’s Bill to come before this House and allow adequate time for discussion of that modest but useful measure, rather than allow the best to be the enemy of the good?

That is rather rich considering that it was the Opposition who refused to commit to a timetable motion on the original legislation. We are focusing on economic matters.

Does my hon. Friend agree that now we appear to have sent House of Lords reform off into the distance we should be using any parliamentary time available to concentrate on the most important thing, which is getting growth back into our economy?

Nevertheless, does the Minister not agree that in spite of the foundering of the House of Lords Reform Bill there are still many residual issues on Lords reform for which there is all-party support and that there is no reason for the House or the Government not to accept that those reforms can be brought forward?

Minimal alternatives such as those set out in the noble Lord’s Bill are, in the Government’s view, no alternatives at all. The Government have been clear that any changes must include the introduction of elected Members to the House of Lords.