A leading political reform group says the postponement of a procedural motion on Lords reform is better than seeing the proposals defeated.
Responding to Sir George Young’s announcement this afternoon that the government has decided to postpone the vote on the programme motion, the director of Unlock Democracy Peter Facey commented: “We strongly welcome the government’s decision to postpone the vote on the programme motion. It was clear that the government would not have been able to get it through the House."
He continued: “MPs on both side of the house will now have the summer recess to consider how best to move forward. We call upon supporters of Lords reform to work constructively to ensure this bill does not now get lost in silly parliamentary games."
“In light of yesterday’s debate, it is clear that the government is in trouble over the issue of giving elected members 15 year, non-renewable terms: it should seriously consider revisiting this proposal. We also believe it should adopt the Joint Committee’s recommendations of limiting the government’s powers to make ministerial appointments, and to establish a concordat between both houses on how the two chambers should work together," said Mr Facey.
“Finally, a middle way needs to be achieved between those who demand a referendum and those who claim one is not necessary. A referendum should only be called if there is clear public demand for one. Therefore, we call on the government to include a section in the bill which will trigger a referendum if at least five per cent of the electorate demand one,” concluded the Unlock Democracy CEO.
* Unlock Democracy’s Media Guide to the House of Lords Reform Bill can be read here: http://www.unlockdemocracy.org.uk/media-guide
* The group's briefing to MPs on the House of Lords Reform Bill can be read here: http://www.unlockdemocracy.org.uk/lords-briefing