Cabinet revolt on Lords reform
The case for Lords reform is "fairly uncontroversial", according to Nick Clegg, who added it was time to "just get on with it".
The Deputy Prime Minister also dismissed concerns it would be a distraction from more pressing issues in the next legislative session: "Our priority as a government of course remains rescuing, repairing and reforming the British economy; it doesn’t mean we can’t do other things like, introducing a smidgen of democracy into the House of Lords.”
Earlier, the Lib Dem peer Lord Oakeshott described the current House of Lords as "completely illegitimate". Speaking alongside him on Sky News' Murnaghan programme was Labour's Lord Adonis, who also favours reform, as it is “impossible in the modern world to support a house of cronies”. Tory peer Baroness Neville-Jones criticised the proposed bill for being "silent on the subject of the powers of the House".
The Observer reported this morning that five cabinet ministers have raised concerns over reform. Defence Secretary Philip Hammond and Education Secretary Michael Gove are reported to have suggested at this week's Cabinet that the reforms were not a legislative priority, while Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith, leader of the House of Lords Lord Strathclyde and Northern Ireland Secretary Owen Paterson are also understood to be opposed to the plans. Tory MP Glyn Davies also added his voice today to those calling for the changes to be decided by a referendum.
But Justice Secretary Ken Clarke told Sky News this morning that reform of the House of Lords wasn't just "a Liberal Democrat thing". Mr Clarke said he was in favour of reform, and that "the House of Lords is a curious historic anomaly".
The Sunday Telegraph quotes a source close to Nick Clegg as saying the Deputy Prime Minister could settle for 450 peers rather than his initial demand of 300, with 90 rather than 60 appointed members. Labour's Sadiq Khan writes exclusively for PoliticsHome today, saying Labour is committed to reform of the House of Lords and to a referendum on the proposals.