MP Lyn Brown: Lords reform debacle shows incompetence

PUBLISHED: 10:01 05 September 2012

West Ham MP Lyn Brown

West Ham MP Lyn Brown


Inside Parliament: Lyn Brown, MP for West Ham, writes for the Newham Recorder

Inside Parliament: By Lyn Brown, MP for West Ham.

Summer Recess is over and we are back at Westminster. It’s been a busy and exciting August in Newham, but a turbulent one for the Coalition.

My holiday reading had included books on the House of Lords, but Cameron was forced to abandon his poorly-drafted plans, due to opposition from his own party. I had more time to enjoy the Olympics and caught up on casework and correspondence.

I always suspected the Coalition’s proposals would fail. The Bill was rushed, with no attempt to build a consensus, not even on the Government’s own benches.

The House of Lords does need reform, but we need to work out what powers a reformed Lords will have, what proportion of its membership should be elected and how, how long they serve and the role of bishops and other groups. This needs careful consideration and drafting, not Cameron and Clegg’s hurried second-rate mish-mash of proposals.

With Lords Reform abandoned, the Lib Dems are desperate to salvage something from their craven collusion with the Tories, their broken promises over student fees and their support of the disastrous and expensive NHS re-organisation.

Clegg wanted Lords reform as the price for his continued subservience; he hasn’t got it.

Tory backbenchers want less Lib Dem influence in Government, resenting their lack of a majority and the need for a Coalition.

So, what now? Will the Coalition limp on?

Lords reform isn’t something that comes up much on the door step.

Families in Newham have far more pressing issues in their lives: dealing with rising costs of living, stagnant wages, unemployment, poor housing and savage cuts to public services.

We need a strong, substantial Government to deal with these issues. Tragically, this Coalition isn’t it. The Lords debacle just highlights how incompetent and disunited they are.

Britain deserves better.

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