Tom Perrin is a student who can be followed on twitter at @tomperrin93
Last week, the Government was defeated by the House of Lords on elements of its welfare form bill. Today, it will again consider parts of the bill - specifically, the proposal fundamentally to overhaul Disability Living Allowance. As significant an event as this may be, behind it lurks the shade of an altogether different (certainly equally important) issue that, rather like a ghost from the shadows of the past, sporadically comes back to haunt us: namely, Lords’ reform. For some, these defeats will be reason enough to reform the House of Lords. But for me, the effect is contrary. They show the Lords at its best and exemplify perfectly why the proposed Coalition Bill to in effect abolish it must be opposed.
If we put the topical matter of the Government’s defeat and today's debate aside, what we see is something truly remarkable. We see the House of Lords, the second House of Parliament, opposing a Government bill with considerable force; thereby making the Government think twice and perhaps review aspects of its legislation. Surely that is accountability in action? The existence of an appointed House of Lords means that executive power is limited. With a House of Commons that is all too often dominated by the whips, what the Lords does, is prevent a one party state. That is, in so many respects, its biggest strength.