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Referendum on House of Lords reform "politically inevitable"

25 June 2012

Meg Russell on Lords reform

Dr Russell, from University College London's Constitution Unit, was speaking as the Government prepare to publish controversial legislation to introduce elected peers without plans to proceed to a national vote.

Earlier this year, a parliamentary committee responsible for drawing up the proposals recommended that they should be put to a referendum.

This advice was rejected and ministers will now publish the House of Lords Reform Bill with the first elected peers planned to be introduced in 2015.

The decision may be seen as a concession by the Conservatives to Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader, who previously compared the House of Lords to the “Chinese People’s Congress”.

However, for all the short-term political manoeuvring, Dr Russell warned the Coalition that it was unlikely to escape a national vote when the Reform Bill began its passage through Parliament. 

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