Liberal Democrat Constitutional Affairs spokesman, Lord Tyler, has said the new Government’s coalition agreement represents a ‘real chance for change’ after a House of Lords debate on the Queen’s Speech.

Following new Liberal Democrat Justice Minister, Lord McNally, Lord Tyler said those on the Labour side had failed to reform the political system.  “We had 13 years of retreat on civil liberties; constitutional renewal was under constant attack; there was subservience to the right-wing tabloid press; and even the 2008 Lords reform White Paper sat gathering dust for two more years. There was weak-kneed collapse of the discussions on cleaning up party funding and then only a deathbed repentance on electoral reform. Those on the opposite side of your Lordships’ House who now bemoan what happened on 6 May have only their side to blame, because they failed to address the collapse in public confidence in politics and Parliament.”

Lord Tyler went on to support some of the key changes proposed by the new Government, including fixed term Parliaments and reform of the House of Lords.  David Cameron was “the first Prime Minister who has been prepared to give up the right to call a general election when it suited his party’s advantage.”  Lords reform had been the subject of debate for 100 years since the 1911 Parliament Act.  “That has hardly been rushed,” he said.

Commenting afterwards, Lord Tyler added:

“The House of Lords is more used to working on a consensual basis than MPs are in the Commons, so the atmosphere in the House was good, with a lot of goodwill for new Ministers.

“There is a real chance for change under this government.  Changes that Liberal Democrats, with strong public support, have sought for decades are now finally within our grasp.

“What we now need is a working group to prepare a draft Bill for Lords reform, so that as quickly as possible we can have full pre-legislative scrutiny.  This not only has the advantage of letting all MPs and Peers can have influence over the form of the final Bill, but also give the opportunity for evidence from the general public. It’s time this stopped being a Westminster village discussion.”


The full debate is available at:

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