Mordaunt criticises reform bill for Lords

REBEL Penny Mordaunt MP
REBEL Penny Mordaunt MP
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TWO local Conservative MPs have pledged to vote against a bill which aims to reform the House of Lords.

Portsmouth North’s Penny Mordaunt and Gosport’s Caroline Dinenage are expected to join a backbench rebellion against the Coalition government this evening that could lead to its first defeat in the House of Commons.

Two MPs have spoken out alongside around 100 of their colleagues – who have said they will vote against a motion which would cut debate on the bill to 10 days.

It has been championed by deputy prime minister Nick Clegg, but many Tories object to the lack of time in the House of Commons given to discuss the legislation.

They are also concerned that the new chamber would be unaccountable and could become a rival to the House of Commons.

Ms Mordaunt said: ‘I’m going to vote against the motion because this is an issue of huge importance and there are some really messy things in this bill.

‘I’m pro reform – but we should be having a proper debate about it.

‘This is a very serious issue, we can’t experiment on constitutional reform. And we are asking people to vote in new peers using a system which has just been rejected by the public in a referendum.

‘It has just not been thought through. It’s a complete dog’s breakfast of a bill.’

Mark Harper, the constitutional reform minister, defended the proposals, and said MPs had been given plenty of time to debate the bill.

‘I don’t think we should talk about it forever,’ he said. ‘Let’s debate this properly with the proper amount of time but we don’t want to debate it forever.’

Miss Dinenage said: ‘At a time of great political and economic challenges, these expensive, unnecessary reforms cannot be justified.

‘The House of Lords Reform Bill, which proposes a wholly or mainly elected second chamber, is the wrong priority for government time and taxpayers’ money.’