Page last updated at 11:19 GMT, Wednesday, 18 May 2011 12:19 UK

Select Committee

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has told the House of Lords' Constitution Committee that he wants "less political heat" in the debate on reform of the House of Lords.

Giving evidence on 18 May 2011, Mr Clegg admitted that his proposals had caused "angst and objections".

He has set out options for replacing the House of Lords with a mainly elected upper chamber.

The deputy prime minister outlined plans on Tuesday for a legislature with 300 members, 80% of which could be elected.

However the proposals have been criticised by Tory and Labour MPs and cross-bench peers.

While it was up to MPs and peers to decide the final balance, he said the first elections should happen in 2015.

Mr Clegg dismissed media reports he would cede overall control of the plans to Conservative Lords leader Lord Strathclyde and said he was not "abdicating responsibility" for them.

But he added he was focused on the "bigger picture" and wanted to allow a wider debate "uncluttered by the kind of day-to-day yah-boo of the politics of today".

David Cameron has recently been told in a report from the independent Constitution Unit that the House of Lords is "full" and he must stop creating new members.

The prime minister has created more peers more quickly than any of his post-war predecessors, having ennobled 117 people in less than a year.

Peers also questioned Mr Clegg on the referendum on changing the voting system to AV, which was opposed by 67.9% of voters.

Mr Clegg said it was "not a wildly uplifting experience" and said it had been "bogged down" in party political point scoring.

He added that 'the outcome was decisive... as far as this government is concerned the question is put beyond further debate'.


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