Westminster party politics obstructing democracy, say reformers

By agency reporter
8 Aug 2012

Political reform groups have reacted with anger to the government's abandonment of Lords reform, following Tory backbench pressure.

In response to Nick Clegg’s announcement this week that coalition plans to reform the House of Lords have been set aside, the director of Unlock Democracy, Peter Facey, declared: “This is a shocking example of party politics getting in the way of democracy."

He continued: “It is clear from the vote and debate last month that an overwhelming number of MPs support Lords reform. 462 MPs supported the bill at second reading, against 124. It has been scuppered because divisions within the Conservative Party have been put before the supposed supremacy of the Commons, the coalition agreement and all three party manifestos."

Mr Facey added: “David Cameron has some serious questions to answer about his ability to lead the country if he can allow himself to be led by the nose in this way. Liberal Democrats too should be questioning the purpose of being in a coalition which has so spectacularly failed to deliver any meaningful democratic reform whatsoever."

“While we accept that progress on Lords reform will not be achieved in this parliament, we call on all three parties to be more forthcoming about their own plans for reform in advance of the next election to ensure that we can have a meaningful debate and a clear way forward after the next general election," said the Unlock Democarcy chief.

“While this is yet another roadblock to reform however, it has by no means killed it off altogether. The current system is unsustainable and supporters of the status quo cannot hold out against public opinion forever,” concluded Mr Facey.

Unlock Democracy is an independent all-party campaign for constitutional reform in the UK, incorporating Charter88.

* More: http://unlockdemocracy.org.uk/

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