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'Worse than Maastricht' - Tory MPs warn that Lords reform could split the party

By Tim Montgomerie
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A special meeting of the 1922 Committee has just broken up. 70 Tory MPs gathered to discuss Lords reform. Only one MP spoke in favour. Citing polling numbers, the former YouGov CEO and normally uber-loyal Nadhim Zahawi warned the meeting that Lords reform would be a political disaster. Another Tory MP from the Major era warned that the divisions created would be worse than Maastricht. At least 100 Tory MPs are expected to actively oppose a change that would see the Upper House elected in thirds - and most controversially by proportional representation.

Mark Harper - the Tory minister responsible for Lords reform - was originally due to attend the meeting but stayed away after it was felt that MPs would be more candid in his absence. Leader of the Commons, Sir George Young, was in attendance, however. He'll report back to Mr Cameron but one Tory source commented acidly - "Cameron won't listen, he never does".

7pm: James Forsyth has more on the meeting.


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