This evening we overwhelmingly won an historic vote on the Second Reading of the House of Lords Reform Bill – a Bill that will finish something our party started a century ago.
This is a huge triumph for our party, and a clear mandate to deliver much needed reforms to the House of Lords.
As David Cameron and I have both repeatedly made clear – in the Queen’s speech, in May 2011 in the White Paper and in May 2010 in the Coalition Agreement – the Coalition Government is committed to reforming the House of Lords. And we have every intention of delivering it.
The Liberal Democrats have worked closely with our Conservative partners to bring forward a Bill they could support. We have been reasonable and looked at acceptable compromises at every stage. That is why we agreed to withdraw today’s timetabling motion, to allow the Conservative team in Government take more time over the summer to talk to their backbench colleagues.
When we return in the autumn to vote on this again, we fully expect the Conservatives to deliver this crucial part of the coalition deal – as we have delivered other coalition policies. At the same time, we will increase the pressure on Labour to, as the Guardian put it this morning, ‘simply stand up and do the right thing’ and support these reforms in votes in Parliament when it really counts.
We have been waiting for Lords Reform for 100 years. Today we took a huge step towards delivering it. There will be many more tests ahead, but with your help we will continue to make and win the case for reform.
Leader of the Liberal Democrats and Deputy Prime Minister
Nevermind the ninety Tories and twenty odd Labour rebels who consigned the bill to the dustbin…