I am rather an admirer of Andrew Rawnsley, and greatly enjoyed his book Servants of the People. But his article yesterday on Lords reform is so chock-full of errors and false assumptions that it demands a response. So here below is a brief analysis and rebuttal of the piece.
The greatest obstacles to Lords reform sit in the Commons
by Andrew Rawnsley
There were almost no issues on which all three of the biggest parties were of the same mind at the last election. But there was one which united them in near perfect harmony. Tories, Labour and Lib Dems were agreed that the House of Lords was indefensible. David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg concurred that it was absurd for a country which is supposedly a mature democracy to have one half of its legislature populated by prime ministerial appointees with a rump of hereditary peers. All three parties made manifesto commitments, broadly along the same lines, to give Britain a revising chamber which was fit for the second decade of the 21st century.
Er, no. The key phrase in the Tory manifesto simply says “We will work to build a consensus for a mainly-elected second chamber to replace the current house of Lords”.