Labour must stand by manifesto promises – Tyler

Labour Peers and MPs were today (Wednesday) challenged to honour their party’s manifesto policy on reforming the House of Lords.

As parliamentarians prepared to leave Westminster for the long Recess, the Liberal Democrat Constitutional Affairs Spokesman highlighted a continuing commitment from Shadow Leader of the House of Commons, Hilary Benn, to a fully elected House of Lords.

Speaking in the Lords at Question Time, Lord Tyler said, “has my noble friend seen the report published on Monday entitled The End of the Peer Show?, in which Mr Hilary Benn has committed the Labour Party to a continuing campaign based on its manifesto commitment for a wholly elected House of Lords?”  He then asked, “Is he aware of any successful parliamentary candidate who arrived in the other place committed to voting against his party’s manifesto?”

Replying for the Government, Conservative Leader of the Lords, Lord Strathclyde, observed that he had no knowledge of any such rebels and that Mr Benn’s article should be “required reading for all noble Lords”.  Earlier, he said, “I have reminded the House of this before: at the last election all three main parties had in their manifestos a pledge to reform the House.”

Commenting afterwards, Lord Tyler said:

“Again today we saw Labour Peers row back from their own party’s manifesto promises on Lords Reform.  They don’t want any reform at all.

“Meanwhile, the Labour Spokesman on these issues, Hilary Benn, says nothing but a fully elected House will do.

 “After thirteen years of Labour’s failure to introduce elections to the House of Lords, we know that neither their pious frontbenchers nor their reactionary backwoodsmen can be trusted.

“If any of them want to be listened to ever again they must stop their crowing and carping, and stand by their election promises.

“They will have a major opportunity to do so when the Coalition bring its full Lords Reform Bill before Parliament next year.”


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