Another day, another questionable idea emanating from the new and improved two-headed donkey: this time, the meeting of Young Dave’s jolly good chaps and Corporal Clegg’s motley platoon has gone for a particularly brazen attempt to stack the House of Lords in its favour. Like the 55% rule, which I considered previously, it has hardly seen the light of day, but already there is a most unpleasant smell from its general direction.
There are just over 700 members of the Lords. Of these, 211 support Labour, which by my arithmetic makes them over 140 short of a majority. Moreover, many of the 186 so-called crossbenchers are conservative, if only with a small “c”. Also, there are a total of 258 peers supporting the coalition, giving 47 more than Labour. But notwithstanding all of that, there appears to be a move afoot to appoint another 172 Government supporting peers to ensure that legislation is passed.
Rupe’s troops at the Times, in its last few days before vanishing behind a paywall, have run the story by headlining “100 Peers”, but then the article admits that it’s going to be more than 100, with the increases (Tories from 186 to 263 and Lib Dems from 72 to 167) then revealing the total of 172. The excuse for this blatant act of vote rigging is that it is to make the Lords “reflective of the vote” at the election.
Reflective my arse. This is another crude and inexcusable attempt to stack the odds in favour of the two-headed donkey. And, like the 55% rule, it will not be explained away merely by Young Dave trotting out a bit more of his amateurish PR. Over at the Guardian, Alan Travis is suitably unimpressed: as he points out, even with this supposed numerical superiority, Labour was defeated in the Lords 350 times between 1999 and 2006.But I’m sure that Cameron will be along soon to tell that he has no more territorial ambitions. And, as I write this (Monday at 1730 hours) the usual suspects in the Tory cheerleading part of the blogosphere have thus far been silent on the matter.