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Ahead of PMQs, backbench Tory MPs make clear their opposition to Lords reform proposals

By Matthew Barrett
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5.45pm Update:

Expanding upon his earlier remarks, Jesse Norman appeared on The World At One, and described the reform proposals as "a constitutional monstrosity", saying the Bill "should never have reached the House  Norman Jesse 2of Commons":

"Unfortunately the Conservative manifesto didn’t contain anything like the commitment that everyone’s pretending it did and it’s a small dishonesty to pretend that it did. What the Conservative manifesto said is that the party made a commitment to ‘seek to build a consensus’ for a mainly elected second chamber. Now it has sought to build a consensus until it is blue in the face and all of that tells us that there’s no possible consensus around the bill. Now, there might have been a consensus around a more intelligently crafted set of reforms but this bill is a total nonsense."

Forsyth Michael NewLord Forsyth, on the Daily Politics show, strongly condemned the proposals:

"This bill, which is being drawn up to satisfy the Deputy Prime Minister, is clearly a nonsense. I think that most people would be pretty outraged at the idea that some grubby little deal between the Conservatives and the Liberals that says we will give you permanent controlling vote position in the House of Lords in return for you to agreeing to vote for boundary changes that will give us 20 extra seats. That is not the basis of which to proceed with major constitutional reform."

SANDYS LAURAA dissenting voice came from Laura Sandys, who claimed on BBC News that an elected Lords would be better able to scrutinise the executive:

"Absolutely not. I think this is an extraordinary piece of legislation in many ways. This is legislation brought forward by a government which actually gives Parliament more power over the executive. We will actually end up with a proper, fully-fledged bicameral system, which will ensure that Parliament can hold government more to account, in many ways ensure that we get better legislation, and possibly from a Conservative point of view desirable with less legislation."


Nick Clegg's Lords reforms come to the House of Commons today - and undoubtedly one or two backbench Tories will ask the Prime Minister some difficult questions about the proposals at PMQs. In timely fashion, the Today programme this morning featured two Tory MPs who opposed Clegg's reforms. Firstly, Conor Burns, who is also Owen Paterson's PPS, BURNS-CONORsaid:

"This is major constitutional change. Major constitutional change is not usually guillotined in debate and I think if we’re going to have this debate we need to have it at length and in full and we should have it in committee, on the floor of the House of Commons, and we should take as much time as is necessary to do that. So on that basis, I would certainly be attracted to voting against any programme motion that would constrain the amount of time Parliament can debate this for."

LAING EleanorEleanor Laing, the MP for Epping Forest, said:

"There are large numbers of Conservatives both in the government and on the backbenchers who know that this is simply giving the Liberal Democrats a permanent balance of power under PR in the second chamber. That's why we want a referendum, that's why we want a proper discussion in the House of Commons."

The Today feature also caused a number of Tory MPs to tweet their opposition to Clegg's reforms:

One Tory MP did, however, tweet his support for reform this morning:


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