Page last updated at 15:32 GMT, Monday, 8 October 2012 16:32 UK

Lords still needs reform, say peers

Peers have welcomed the government's decision to drop its House of Lords Reform Bill, but insisted that some changes to the upper chamber are still necessary.

In September, the government officially withdrew proposed legislation for elections to the House of Lords after admitting defeat over the plans.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg told the Commons that ministers had sought but failed to build a consensus on the changes.

On 8 October 2012, the leader of the House, Lord Strathclyde, told peers that Lords reform was now a matter for "other parliaments", as the coalition was unable to deliver on its plans.

His comments were in response to a private notice question from Conservative peer Lord Wakeham on peers' first day back from the summer break.

Shadow leader of the House Baroness Royall of Blaisdon welcomed that the coalition "has finally come to its senses" and dropped the "bad" bill.

But it was "regrettable", she continued, that the deputy PM had "in a fit of pique" ruled out any reform of the upper chamber before the next general election, due in 2015.

'Modest house-keeping'

Former Lord Speaker Baroness Hayman - a crossbench peer - said reform and election were "not synonymous".

She said a consensus had emerged that the bill for elections to the Lords "was not deliverable" but that "there was an urgent need to make changes in this House".

"Despite the pique felt by the withdrawal of this bill, those are urgent priorities on which there is widespread agreement," she added.

Conservative backbencher Lord Cormack said he was "delighted" that the reforms had been dropped.

But he sought assurances that the government had not ruled out "sensible, modest housekeeping measures to make this House even more effective than it is at the moment".

Lord Strathclyde said given 70% of MPs voted in favour of an elected House, "I think it might be a little bit difficult to believe that the House of Commons will now move to entrenching an appointed House so early on".

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