Lords: Pause, victory, defeat?
- 10 July 2012
- From the section UK Politics
The government calls it "a pause". Labour says it is a victory for Parliament. Tory rebels say it is a defeat for a constitutional change few really want.
Whatever you call it, it is clearly a defeat for a coalition which declared that, without agreement on how to timetable its business, there was no chance that Lords reform would ever happen.
A massive threatened Tory rebellion of, some claim, more than 100 backbenchers working in coalition with Labour led David Cameron to urge Nick Clegg to withdraw the so-called "programme motion" so that he could gather support for it among Conservatives over the Summer.
The government claims it will come back with a new timetable in the autumn. What will change minds between now and then? No-one can say.
For now, as so often in the history of failed attempts to reform the Lords, all sides are blaming each other for what has gone wrong.
The Tory line is that Labour has sabotaged a plan it says it agrees with. Labour claims that ministers have failed to give MPs the chance to scrutinise and improve their proposals.
When I asked a spokesman for the deputy prime minister whether he blamed the Conservatives or Labour for this setback, he said: "A plague on both their houses."