David Cameron to ban House of Lords from overturning legislation ~ Laura Hughes, THE TELEGRAPH, 07 Dec 2015.
Lord Strathclyde has been instructed by the Prime Minister to look at curbing the powers of the second chamber.
The Tory grandee appointed by David Cameron to review the role of the House of Lords will propose that hostile peers should be banned from overturning legislation.
Lord Strathclyde has been instructed by the Prime Minister to look at curbing the powers of the second chamber, after peers voted to block George Osborne’s plan to cut tax credits.
The chair of the review into the second chamber will suggest the increasingly hostile anti-Tory majority should lose their veto over delegated or secondary legislation, as it poses a threat to the Prime Minister’s legislative plans.
Photo: Will Wintercross
Lord Strathclyde said that the House of Lords acted “deplorably” by defeating the Government on the Chancellor’s plans in October and has been looking into measures to ensure the House of Commons retains the power to push through bills.
Mr Cameron is worried that the Common’s conventional bills will be sabotaged by peers and therefore wishes to deploy statutory instruments, which receive less scrutiny than full bills.
One Conservative aide told the Financial Times: “We are being told to use statutory instruments wherever possible to get legislation through.”
In the House of Lords the Conservative’s have 251 seats, whilst Labour and the Liberal Democrats have a combined total of 324. leaving them vulnerable to defeat.
Photo: AFP/Getty Images
According to senior Tories, the Lords have inflicted defeats on the government on 70 per cent of occasions since May’s election.
The peer said he will complete his review before Christmas and has rejected the option of creating hundreds of new Conservative Lords to give the governing party a greater chance of success in Lords votes.
One senior Tory said: “The House of Lords has to tread carefully. If they don’t accept this proposal, we could stop them having any say at all on secondary legislation. That’s a big bazooka.”
Photo: Eddie Mulholland/The Telegraph
Lord Lisvane, a former clerk of the Commons, recently raised concerns that secondary legislation was being used “increasingly for matters of policy and principle which should be the subject of primary legislation”.
Baroness Stowell, the Conservative leader in the Lords, said: “Clearly, it is important that all governments use the right vehicle to secure parliament’s decision on their business.
“That is what all governments seek to do, and it is what we have been doing and will continue to do.”
Baroness Angela Smith of Basildon, Labour’s leader in the House of Lords, said: “This government does not like being challenged or held to account.
“The Strathclyde Review was clearly an over-reaction to the Lords vote on tax credits but even in its own terms the focus was on clarifying Peers powers over financial measures. It appears now however, that the government intends to use the review as a Trojan Horse for closing down wider parliamentary scrutiny of any secondary legislation – while openly using the latter to ram home contentious policies.
“During thirteen years of government, Labour was defeated over 500 times in votes in the Lords. We didn’t like it but we took it in our stride and dealt with the consequences. That’s the grown up approach to Parliament – rather than the breathtaking arrogance of some in the current government who think they should be allowed to do whatever they want.”