In Westminster this afternoon to listen to the debate in the Commons on the House of Lords Reform Bill. The speech opening the debate by the Deputy Prime Minister simply ignored the wider debate that has taken place so far. He continues to assert that electing a second chamber is self-evidently democratic. As readers of this blog know, it is no such thing. He concluded by saying that there are three reasons for passing the Bill: democracy, to make better laws, and reform cannot be ducked. None of these is an argument for the Govermment’s Bill. Far from enhancing democracy, the Bill undermines it by fragmenting accountability. No evidence has been presented to show that an elected second chamber would lead to making better laws – quite the reverse. And as for reform not being ducked, the Government have continually ducked it by not supporting the Bill introduced by Lord Steel. The Steel Bill provides for reform. The Government’s Bill provides for replacement. No clear or compelling argument has yet been advanced for it. The Deputy Prime Minister keeps advancing arguments that have already been demolished. One can only speculate as to why.