Could today hasten the end for the House of Lords?

Could today hasten the end for the House of Lords?

Are peers ready to continue the battle with the commons?

Later this morning, at about 11am, the controversial voting and constituencies bill returns to the upper house after MPs last night overturned the changes that peers had sought to impose.

Do their lordships now acquiesce and approve the bill as agreed in the commons or do they seek to continue the battle. If so they could stop the AV referendum taking place as planned on May 5th?

For the legal time-table means that the bill has to complete its passage though both houses before peers and MPs rise for their half-term recess.

A challenge for the coalition is that following the Labour government’s peer creation programme the red team is the biggest grouping in the upper house. It has the votes although the very sizeable cross-bench segment is likely today to play a key role.

One thing we do know about David Cameron is that he doesn’t like being defied and you could see him instituting his own peer creation programme if the Lords go against him.

All this is against the background of plans to reform the second chamber which the coalition is committed to.

My guess is that the cross-benchers in particular will see the danger of upper house reforms being brought in against the background the the Lords frustrating a key part of the coalition’s programme.

But who knows? The filibuster was unprecedented and maybe peers feel strongly enough to go into battle against the elected commons.

Mike Smithson

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