Wednesday, 8 August 2012

650 MPS 765 Lords. Cut the MPs?



David Cameron has said he will press ahead with proposed changes to the House of Commons despite the Lib Dems saying they will vote against them.

This will see LIb Dem  ministers voting against their own government 

The prime minister said plans to redraw constituency boundaries would be "put forward" to MPs and urged all parties to back the "very sensible" proposals

Sensible to the Tories who are set to gain 20 seats if it goes through.

Cameron's proposal would have some merit if he had at least proposed to reform the house of Lords

A the moment future  by-elections notwithstanding the Commons is composed thus.

AffiliationMembers
Conservative305
Labour254
Liberal Democrat57
Democratic Unionist8
SNP6
Sinn Féin5
Plaid Cymru3
SDLP3
Alliance1
Green1
Respect1
 Independent2
 Speaker and Deputy Speakers4
 Total650
 Actual government majority1083


But Camerons Party is not even  the largest Party in the Lords and the Coalition does not have a majority. 
AffiliationLife peersHereditary peersLords spiritualTotal
 Labour2224226
 Conservative16449213
 Liberal Democrats86490
 Democratic Unionist4-4
 Ulster Unionist4-4
 UKIP112
 Plaid Cymru2-2
 Crossbenchers14631177
 Lords Spiritual2626
 Other21-21
Total6508926765



So Instead of making  80% of peers elected and to halve the number of members to 450 . Cameron probably intends needs to increase his Prtys number of Peers in the Lords to overtake Labour  and with those Peerages given to others it seems likely that the unelected chamber will grow before the next election .

And yet the Democratically elected Chamber will (if the Tories win the vote)will be cut .

How is Cameron going to justify this?

Cutting the number of elected member must surely have been linked to cutting the number of Lords if we are talking abour democracy rather than political advantage.

There was an argument for cutting the number of MPs but it was always in my mind tied in with Constitutional reform . But all proposals in the parties manifestos  (a part from fixed  5 year Parliaments) have now fallen

Tou could argue that we need a General Election but there is no guarantee that Labour will introduce Lords reform their behaviour over this has been cynical and opportunist and have offered no alternative.

Sadly we have lost any real reform for a generation and is another argument for Independence .

A Democratic Wales or an Undemocratic UK? You choose.

One further point Welsh MPs who will be cheering if the boundary changes fail may be a bit premature.

The Tories will make a case for a separate bill to cut the number of Welsh MPs because of devolution  and there no guarantee that the Lib Dem's will not support a separate bill culling Welsh MPs unless Clegg  makes this clear now.

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