History won’t forgive us for
squandering once in a lifetime opportunity – Caroline Lucas MP


Over 100
Conservative MPs are now threatening to join with Labour to vote against the
Lords reform proposals in the Commons this evening. Ed Miliband is adamant that
a last minute deal is not on the table, and is urging Labour MPs to join with
Tory rebels, to vote down a "programme motion" for the bill.

Lucas, Green MP for Brighton Pavilion, said:

 "It is
desperately disappointing to see Labour playing political games over Lords
Reform.  It makes no sense for them to say they support the principle of
Lords Reform and then refuse to back the timetable motion – they need to will
the means as well as the ends. 

 We need a
proper amount of time allocated for parliamentary scrutiny and debate given the
importance and constitutional significance of House of Lords reform. What we
don’t need, though, is for the issue to dominate Parliament at a time when the
country is facing challenges like rising unemployment,  attacks on support
for the most vulnerable and businesses struggling to stay afloat.

That’s why
I’ve tabled an amendment designed to increase the amount of time given to the
most controversial aspects of the reform programme, namely the relationship
between the House of Commons and the Lords, the future composition of the
House of Lords, and methods of accountability including the right to
recall,  thus reducing the risk of the whole issue being left open ended
and subject to yet more political game playing.

 This is a
once in a lifetime opportunity to replace our outdated, unelected second
Chamber, based on patronage and privilege, with an elected body, answerable to
the people – history won’t forgive us for squandering it."