'Oh, so that's who Richard Morris is..." Lord Hattersley on The Daily Politics

'An influential activist' - The Guardian

'Iain Dale, without the self loathing' - Matthew Fox in The New Statesman

You are a tinker...' - Tim Farron

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Want Lords Reform? We're going to have to get Labour to do a deal.

David Cameron is bemused and becalmed, unable to get 100 or so Tory MPs to support the governments position on Lords Reform. So he's decided to have one final go, try and get a 'tiny' number of elected Peers agreed (I hear this morning the plan is to replace the 92 hereditary peers with elected ones), and if he can't do it, give up.

At first, senior Lib Dems appeared to be happy to accept this news. Nick was described last night as 'sanguine' about this position, despite apparently being unaware that this was what Cameron was going to say to the 1922 committee before he said it. Tim Farron is quoted by ITV (with my quote appended) as saying..

This would be just nuts - so nuts it can't be true. I am sure we're doing all we can to make this work. The coalition agreement is clear that the plan is to form a wholly or majority elected Upper House. We are also meant to be reducing the numbers - not just replacing 90  or so peers directly. The Conservatives should be told this proposal is unacceptable, and that, as Nick first put it on Tuesday, 'a deal is a deal'.

Now, while the government can't muster a majority to support the current bill thanks to Cameron's inability to lead his party, Labour did support the bill. Yes, I know they were then totally two faced about the timetable motion - and Sadiq Khan may well be the world's most irritating man. But he was clear in Newsnight on Tuesday that he was open to offers.

So let's go make them. Don't let the Tories have the lead - this is a Lib Dem led bill, sponsored by the DPM. Make those offers behind closed doors at first. And if they won't
play ball, make them openly,  publicly force them to say what they want or shame them into making their two facedness clear.

If it's a referendum, so be it. This has no fears for me. Length of terms, re election etc - put it all on the table.

'Why give Labour the power?' the cries go up, 'they're not in government'.

My answer is - because they have the power. We may not like it - but
it's the truth.

I urge you. Be flexible, be open, be quick. We can win this.

Let's lead the charge


  1. So very true, but over on Lib Dem Voice you would think such a suggestion was selling ones soul. There seems many too ready to accept the Tory proposal that is so watered down it is worthless rather than speak to Labour. Yet again defeat from the jaws of victory...

  2. I can't for a minute think we'll accept what 91 Tories demand when over 400 members of the House supported the bill - that would be madness. I fear many in the Westminster bubble can't see the woods for the trees on this