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Coalition tensions as Lords reform and boundary changes scrapped

Deputy PM Nick Clegg has confirmed that Lords reform is to be dropped – as are proposed boundary changes that would have aided the Conservatives. 

The Lib Dem leader said Tory rebels had broken the Coalition contract and that he would, in turn, instruct his MPs to vote against the bill to equalise boundaries, which would disproportionately harm his party and aid the Conservatives. 

He told a news conference: “I knew that creating a democratic Lords would not be straightforward. This cause has long been blocked by an establishment resistant to change and by the vested interests who benefit from maintaining the power of political patronage, while keeping the power of people out. 

“However, Lords reform was in each party’s manifesto. It was written into the Coalition Agreement – without argument or controversy. And I had hoped that, with enough compromise and cross-party involvement we could build a consensus delivering it once and for all.” 

He added: “The Conservative party is not honouring the commitment to Lords reform and, as a result, part of our contract has now been broken. Clearly I cannot permit a situation where Conservative rebels can pick and choose the parts of the contract they like, while Liberal Democrat MPs are bound to the entire agreement.” 

The Conservatives have been scathing about Clegg’s “betrayal” today, with many saying that the quid pro quo for boundary changes was the AV referendum, not Lords reform, and saying that up until yesterday, Clegg had been arguing for constituency equalisation in the name of fairness.

The Labour Party has said it is still committed to Lords reform in principle, but Clegg said it had but its own short-term interests in seeing the Coalition falling out ahead of its principles. 

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email [email protected] 

(Image: bisgovuk)


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