By Tim Montgomerie
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The House of Lords is becoming a problem. Inspired by such premier league Yellow B**tards as Lord Oakeshott the Upper House is overstepping its reforming, amending role and is in danger of becoming a roadblock to important Coalition reforms, including with respect to the NHS and elected police chiefs.
Yesterday, in alliance with pro-EU Conservatives, Liberal Democrat peers helped amend the European Union Bill to ensure that the referendum lock expired at the end of this parliament. The whole point of William Hague's referendum lock is that it ensures all future parliaments cannot make significant transfers of future powers to the EU without the consent of the British people. The usefulness of the lock had already been questioned by Eurosceptics and it looks much more vulnerable today.
The anti-Hague amendment was passed by just 209 to 203 votes. Among the 209 were the biggest beasts of the pro-EU Tory years, including Leon Brittan, Lord Debden (formerly John Gummer), Lord Heseltine, Baroness Howe, and Lord Jopling. They were joined by many Labour peers but also Liberal Democrats including Lord Oakeshott, Baroness Williams, Lord Maclennan and Lord Steel.
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