Portsmouth MP leads debate on Lords reform

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PORTSMOUTH North MP Penny Mordaunt has led a debate on reform for the House of Lords.

The Tory MP quizzed deputy prime minister Nick Clegg on his proposals to change the powers of the House, and make every member an elected representative, rather than holding a seat for hereditary or religious reasons.

She said: ‘The elegance of our unwritten constitution allows it to adapt when necessary to meet a pressing need, but change for some other reason could be regarded as constitutional vandalism. Has the deputy prime minister reflected on the fact that his plans for reform might fall into the latter category?’

Mr Clegg said: ‘There is a need to make decisions in both Houses as accountable to the British people as possible. The simple principle that those who shape the laws of the land should be held to account by people who have to obey those laws is a long-standing democratic principle.’

Lib Dem MP Andrew George asked the deputy PM if the House of Lords should be fully elected, under the proposals laid out in a government White Paper presented before Parliament.

But Mr Clegg did not promise that would be the case.

He said: ‘We aspire to create a reform that will at least be comprehensive and create a reformed House of Lords with a far greater mandate and democratic legitimacy than is currently the case. All parties went to the country in last year’s general election with a clear manifesto commitment to reform the House of Lords.’

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