The Government’s House of Lords Reform Bill has been published today and is as much, if not more so, of a dog’s dinner of a Bill as the draft Bill. It is a hotch-potch of provisions, with no clear coherence. I was interviewed on Sky News earlier and pointed out that it did not derive from first principles. I was very pleased that the interview then preceded – I thought refreshingly – on the principles and the need to start with functions rather than composition.
The Government published an accompanying projection of costs of the new House. The only problem is that their projection appears completely disconnected from the Bill. Under the Bill, IPSA will decide the level of payment, as well as what allowances will be paid and whether there will be a pension.
The Government keep praying in aid the three party manifestos. First, the manifestos say different things. Second, the basis of Government proposals is not supposed to be the manifestos, but rather the Coalition Agreement. That commits the parties to establishing ‘a committee to bring forward proposals for a wholly or mainly elected second chamber on the basis of proportional representation’. There is nothing that commits the parties beyond that. The agreement is, in effect, spent.