The Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, and the Minister for Constitutional Affairs, Mark Harper, appeared before the Joint Committee on the Draft House of Lords Reform Bill last night. It was something of a marathon meeting – two-and-a-half hours, albeit interrupted by adjournments for two divisions in the Lords. You can watch the proceedings here.
I am not sure that much was added by the session. The Deputy PM did not really go beyond what he had said to the Constitution Committee at the beginning of the month. Despite the contested nature of the proposition, he continues on the basis that democracy necessarily equates to electing the second chamber, which, as I have variously noted, is not self-evidently true. The fact that the Deputy PM continues as if it is does not make it so.
Mark Harper, for some reason, decided to call in aid a survey undertaken by conservativehome, arguing that it showed a majority for an elected chamber. I checked with him that the survey in question was the one headed ‘Tory members vote overwhelmingly against a House of Lords elected by PR’.
Anyway, comments on the session welcome.