Cameron Announces Urgent Review Of House Of Lords Powers

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In the wake of tax credits defeat, review of Lords is confirmed

House Of Lords

UK Prime Minister David Cameron has made clear his fury after plans to cut spending on tax credits by £4.4 billion were thrown out by the House Of Lords

Following the Government’s humiliating Lords defeat, a ‘rapid’ review into how MPs can be given the “decisive role” over key financial decisions has been set up.

A statement from Downing Street said:
The Government is setting up a review to examine how to protect the ability of elected Governments to secure their business in Parliament.

The review would consider in particular how to secure the decisive role of the elected House of Commons in relation to (i) its primacy on financial matters; and (ii) secondary legislation.

The review will be led by Lord Strathclyde, supported by a small panel of experts.

Meanwhile Chancellor George Osborne has insisted that he will be pressing ahead with changes to reduce the welfare bill regardless.

The Independent reports:

The review of the Lords’ powers came after Chancellor George Osborne told MPs: “Unelected Labour and Liberal peers voted down the financial measures on tax credits approved by this elected House of Commons. That raises clear constitutional issues which we will deal with.”

The Commons leader, Chris Grayling, accused unelected Labour and Liberal Democrat peers of deciding to use their weight in the second chamber to try to ”wreck the Government’s programme”. He refused to rule out the possibility of creating 100 or more new Tory peers to secure a majority in the Lords.

Downing Street said the review would examine ways of ensuring that MPs are given the “decisive role” over key decisions over spending. It will be headed by the former Cabinet minister Lord Strathclyde, who has been instructed to come up with rapid recommendations.

A Number 10 spokesman said the review would “examine how to protect the ability of elected Governments to secure their business in Parliament”.

He said it would focus on ensuring the Commons enjoyed “primacy on financial matters” and pre-eminence over secondary legislation such as the statutory instrument that Mr Osborne had used to put the tax credit changes into law.

In another day of drama in the Lords, peers voted by 257 to 246 – a majority of just 11 – in favour of moves to introduce individual voter registration from December. 

Labour and Liberal Democrat peers warned the plans risked 1.9m names being deleted from the register and accused ministers of attempting to “gerrymander” the electoral system to the Tories’ advantage.

London Mayor Boris Johnson also issued a thinly veiled warning to peers to ‘think about their long term future’ after they wrecked the governments plans for benefit cuts. The Tory MP said that the House of Lords was wrong to overturn the will of MP’s and accused peers of playing with fire.

Niamh Harris
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