Page last updated at 15:56 GMT, Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Clegg urged to 'stop wasting time' on Lords reform

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has been urged to stop wasting parliamentary time on House of Lords reform and concentrate on "more pressing" legislation.

Speaking at deputy prime minister's questions on 7 February 2012, Conservative backbencher Nick De Bois reminded MPs that Mr Clegg had recently warned Britain would face "great challenges" in 2012.

"How can the government justify consuming so much parliamentary time to push through House of Lords reform at the expense of more pressing legislation?" Mr De Bois asked.

But Mr Clegg brushed off the accusation, telling MPs: "It's perfectly possible to do more than one thing in government."

The government unveiled its plans to replace the House of Lords with an elected second chamber last May.

Reaction to the proposals has been mixed, with some MPs welcoming the plans and others fiercely critical of them.

Earlier in the session, the deputy prime minister told the Commons the government had received over 200 representations since it revealed its plans for Lords reform.

Conservative Simon Kirby wanted to know if the proposals would include measures to create "parity" between the Lords and Commons in terms of the expulsion of members who are convicted of a criminal offence.

He asked: "Can it be right that those who break the law should be permitted to continue making the law?"

Mr Clegg replied that the plans would aim to "iron out some of the anomalies".

Shadow justice secretary Sadiq Khan pointed out that 117 new peers had been appointed to the House of Lords since May 2010.

He claimed this had cost £63m, and asked Mr Clegg to confirm that the government would not appoint any more peers until the legislation on Lords reform been passed.

Mr Clegg refused, telling MPs the government would continue to appoint new peers "in proportion to the share of the vote won by parties in the last general election".

He accused the Labour party of being "pious" about the issue.

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