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Government Abandons Lords Reform

Today Nick Clegg announced that the Coalition government has put on hold until after the 2015 General Election any plans to reform the House of Lords.  He also announced that the LibDems would no longer support the Tory's proposed parliamentary boundary changes and reduction in the number of MPs.  

 

Although the boundary change proposals would have left Congleton constituency unchanged it was predicted that they would benefit the Tory party nationally to the tune of some twenty seats.  If the LibDems stick to their guns this is good news for Labour.  Not only will we not be disadvantaged by the reduction in the number of MPs but we can also get on with selecting candidates without having to worry about boundary changes.

 

Sadiq Khan MP, Labour's Shadow Justice Secretary, commenting on today’s announcement by Nick Clegg that House of Lords Reform is to be abandoned, and that the reduction in the number of MPs and changes to parliamentary boundaries are not being implemented, said:

 

“Today’s humiliation for the Government is a spectacular failure of leadership from David Cameron. Just three months in, a centrepiece of his Queen’s Speech has been ditched.

 

"David Cameron’s weakness in not being able to control his own party and deliver on the coalition agreement shows a Prime Minister lacking the leadership our country deserves. Nick Clegg seems to be the only man in the country who doesn’t understand that.

 

"Although it is not our number one priority, Labour remains fully committed to Lords reform. That is why we took the unprecedented decision of voting for the Bill in the House of Commons despite some serious reservations about the legislation. And why we gave a commitment to support the Bill in progressing from the Commons to the House of Lords. In contrast 91 Tories voted against their own manifesto commitment.

 

"As we warned continually, the real obstacle to Lords reform are the Tories. They have never been serious about reform, despite this being in their manifesto. That’s why it is outrageous of Nick Clegg to blame Labour."

 

On the news that Nick Clegg now refuses to support the reduction in the number of MPs and changes to parliamentary boundaries, Sadiq Khan said:

 

"Nick Clegg suddenly finds it impossible to support the reduction in the number of MPs and the parliamentary boundary changes. But if it is such a wrong policy, he should have opposed it in the first place, just as Labour did. Instead, he actively supported it.

 

"It was left to Labour to fight the arbitrary reduction in the number of MPs. Getting rid of 50 MPs hits Labour the most, and that’s why the Tory-led Government chose that figure. It was nothing to do with better politics, or about saving money – particularly as this Government has created an extra 117 unelected peers since May 2010.

 

"This Government’s approach to constitutional reform is in tatters. They have inflicted huge damage because of their behind the scenes horse trading – self-serving and partisan changes to our parliamentary boundaries, to our electoral registration system, and to the length of our parliaments.

 

"The task of modernising our constitution is too important to be treated in such a shabby way, and it will be left to Labour to pick up the pieces."

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