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article imageUK Government rumoured to be creating new peers

By Duncan Hall     Jan 19, 2012 in Politics
Rumours abound in Westminster about government plans to create approximately 60 new members of the House of Lords, potentially avoiding embarrassing defeats in future.
If the rumours, circulated by Labour peer Lord Toby Harris among others are true, that would mean that the government had created nearly 200 new members of the House of Lords since the 2010 General Election.
The UK's House of Lords is an unusual legislative body in that it is unelected and is made up almost entirely of appointed people who cannot be removed by new governments. The coalition government has created a large number of new peers to try and ensure that it more closely reflects the share of the votes received in the 2010 General Election, following 13 years of Labour governments.
However, since the election, the government has lost 28 votes in the House of Lords. This is not an especially high number and, until recently, these have not been high profile losses. However, the difficulties the government has been having in getting its Welfare Reform Bill through the House of Lords seems to have galvanised them into further action.
Should the sixty peers be created, the coalition government would find themselves with an effective majority in the House of 120 (although this is confused by the presence of 186 independent cross-benchers, some of whom have been among the more high-profile critics of the government's Welfare Reform Bill).
It is likely that, with these sixty peers in place, the government would have been unlikely to lose any of the 28 votes they had previously lost in this parliament. The BBC has also begun reporting on the rumours.
However, it is still Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg's intention to turn the House of Lords into an entirely elected body before the next General Election, although few people predict him success in this matter, because of the indifference or hostility of most of his coalition partners in the UK Conservative Party.
More about United Kingdom, Government, Cameron, Clegg, House of Lords
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