Wednesday, February 21

Tories branded arrogant for trying to ban House of Lords opposing Government



The Tories were accused of breathtaking arrogance by trying to ram through laws to quash opposition in the House of Lords.

A review by Tory peer Lord Strathclyde could see the Upper House banned from overturning some Government legislation.

The grandee was charged with looking at reforming the Lords after the government’s humiliating defeat on tax credits.

The Government will seek to overturn a defeat by peers on its plans to exclude 16 and 17-year-olds from voting in the EU referendum on British membership.

To ensure the Bill gets through ministers have an added an amendment saying it is now a financial issue. Peers are not allowed to vote down financial bills such as a the Budget.

Lib Dem leader Tim Farron said the Government was treating Parliament “like a rubber stamp.”

“The Tories claim to be the party of responsibility; yet they will not give 16 and 17 year olds the chance to take responsibility for potentially the biggest decision in their lifetime.

“It is frankly a scandal and shows the utter hubris of the Prime Minister and his clique. They do not like people disagreeing with them and are now trying to find ways to shun debate and scrutiny,” he said.

Labour’s leader in the House of Lords, Baroness Angela Smith said the Government did not like being 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,” she said.