Lords Reform: Labour actions must match rhetoric
Commenting on the publication of the House of Lords Reform Bill today, and Ed Miliband’s pledge to support the legislation, the Director of Unlock Democracy Peter Facey said:
"If Labour matches his rhetoric with actions, Ed Miliband's pledge to support the government on the House of Lords Reform Bill is a gamechanger.
"It puts the Tory rebels in a tricky position: oppose the programme motion and prolong the agony for both themselves and their party, or make a token gesture and move on. With the government showing every sign it will brazen Lords reform through to the end, they can no longer fool themselves that such tactics will help kill the bill.
"But Labour must also face up to the consequences of its actions. By blocking the programme motion if they are genuine about supporting the bill, they face weeks having to whip their MPs through endless procedural divisions. It isn't clear what all this extra time for debate will actually achieve on a topic which has been discussed to death for well over a century.
"It is no doubt too late to persuade Ed Miliband to change his mind and vote in favour of the programme motion, but he might not want to whip his MPs too hard on the day of the vote. Failing that, he must spell out how much time it does need.
“If the programme motion does fall, the government must be prepared to keep the Commons in session throughout the summer; after all, there is no reason this legislation should eat into the time reserved for other bills. It is worth remembering that the 1911 Parliament Act reached it final stage in Parliament in August.”