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Recommendations to elect Lords due

The parliamentary committee report on House of Lords reform is due today, and is likely to call for a mostly elected upper chamber, with 80% of Lords voted in rather than appointed.

The joint committee of MPs and peers is also set to suggest a referendum on the plan, although Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has stated this is unnecessary as Lords reform was in the manifestoes of all three major parties at the last election, suggesting it already has a democratic mandate.

He said: “It is for the people who want to advocate a referendum to explain why we should spend millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money on an issue where all the parties agree.”

Under the proposed reforms, members would serve non-renewable 15-year terms and receive a salary of £50,000 a year. A recent YouGov poll showed that 69% of voters support reform of the House of Lords and the Liberal Democrats are calling for firm proposals to be included in next month’s Queen’s speech.

Clegg told the BBC: “It’s something we have been talking about for 100 years. We should just get on with it now, with minimum fuss.”

The changes are part of the Coalition Agreement, and so Prime Minister David Cameron is supporting the plans, despite some opposition from Conservative backbenchers.

Clegg sought to remind Cameron of the difficult compromises the Liberal Democrats had made for the Coalition: “I have asked Liberal Democrat MPs and peers to back a number of things they didn’t like at all. But I did it because it was in the spirit of the Coalition, and I would ask people from all sides of the Coalition Government to continue to govern in that spirit.”

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