I chatted with business minister Norman Lamb a couple of days ago about what he thought of the Tory rebels causing problems over Lords reform. He had little time for them.

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“What an extraordinary position that there is resistance to the fundamental principle that we live in a democracy and those who pass our laws should be elected by the people,” said the North Norfolk MP.

“We’ve had so many scandals over the years, of people who end up in the House of Lords and you have this strange coincidence that they happen to have been very generous to political parties or whatever other favours that might have been made.

“You have got to get away from the rotten patronage and have a proper democracy.”

He said reform was an “essential modernisation” and slammed the “powerful vested interests” blocking proposals. One of the blockers is the Norfolk Baroness and former cabinet minister Gillian Shephard, whom I told actually quite likes Norman. For the Conservative spoilers, however, the Lib Dem had some pointed advice.

“The best way the Conservative party, as a modern party that has come to terms with how things should be run in a modern country, is to actually demonstrate that you don’t think people who are born into privilege, and there’s still some hereditary peers [in the Lords], or who get there because of patronage, should have a say in the laws of our land.

“It seems to me they should embrace it. It would be a perfect demonstration that the Conservative party had moved on.”

Any takers?

1 comment

  • Both Labour and the Conservatives will be luke warm in their response to the reform of the House of lords as it will remove a safe haven for MPs to retire to when they leave the house of commons, or to be retired to when the occasion demands it by their party leaders. I don`t think the Lib Dems are so worried about reforming the lords because they have so few MPs and don`t have so many palms outside parliament to cross with a peerage. A knighthood will do instead. Therefore they can afford to take the moral high ground and stand back with a smile on their faces and see who blinks first - the tories or labour.

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    BG

    Thursday, May 3, 2012

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