A Sad Day for Democracy

Today is a sad day for democracy.

I wanted Lords Reform because I believe that the people who make the laws should be elected by those who abide by the laws. Becoming a lawmaker because of accident of birth or preferment by a party leader is no replacement for having an election.

When reform was discussed last month, the vote was 462-124 in favour of the principle, a majority of 338. Only 91 Tories, 26 Labour and 8 DUP MP’s voted against reform, including Manchester Labour MPs Gerald Kaufman and Graham Stringer.

I expect right wing Tories and parliamentary dinosaurs to oppose reform.

But Labour’s line is without principle or credibility. How can you argue that you are in favour of reform of the House of Lords and then vote against a timetable for debate that is put in place to ensure that the legislation cannot be scuppered by delaying tactics of opponents of reform?

And refuse to say how much time for debate is enough time.

At the same time, how can you argue that there are more important issues to deal with in Parliament and then vote against a timetable that would allow those other debates to take place? This was Labour’s position.

Of course, part of the job of an opposition is to oppose. But those tactics only take you so far. Ask Neil Kinnock. Part of the job is to offer an alternative, and that’s what Tony Blair did before 1997 which Ed Milliband is not doing now.

The 67% of the electorate who supported these reforms have been thwarted on a technicality.

This is a bad day for democracy.

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