Tory tantrums: Backbenchers on the warpath over Hunt and Lords reform

After the Liberal Democrats abstained from last week’s vote on referring Jeremy Hunt over breaches of the Ministerial Code, the Tories prepare to strike back.

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As The Observer reported yesterday, the Liberal Democrats’ abstention from Wednesday’s Commons vote on whether Jeremy Hunt, the embattled Culture Secretary, should be referred to Sir Alex Allan (the Prime Minister’s independent adviser on the ministerial code) stemmed from Nick Clegg’s failed attempt to convince Hunt to refer himself.

Jeremy-HuntWhen Hunt declined the advice, Clegg saw abstention as the only available option for his party. David Cameron, at least overtly, appeared to understand: when challenged on the matter at Prime Ministers Question’s that day, he merely replied that “it’s politics”.

In the days since, his backbenchers have proven less sympathetic to their coalition partners.

Today, the Telegraph reports:

Tory MPs are furious at the way Mr Clegg failed to back Mr Hunt in a Labour debate on whether he should be investigated for his handling of News Corporation’s bid for BSkyB, and have decided to wreak revenge.

 

Specifically, the Tories are going after Clegg’s prize: an elected second chamber.

 


See also:

Labour must get back to its principles on Lords reform 23 Apr 2012

A coalition at war over Lords reform 23 Apr 2012

Tories threaten to ignore their mandate on Lords reform 20 Apr 2012

Lords big beasts turn up the heat on reform 27 Jun 2011

Tory and Labour peers look set to frustrate Clegg on Lords reform 17 Jun 2011


 

The deputy prime minister wants the House of Lords reduced by around two thirds to 300 members, roughly 80 per cent of whom would be elected. His reforms are reportedly being watered down after a “stormy” meeting of the 1922 committee at which Tory backbenchers inveighed against the plans.

Suggested alterations include legislation which enshrines the primacy of the Commons, and peers being elected from regions rather than the extant parliamentary constituencies.

We have, of course, been here before; even so, in this case, the Tories’ arrogant petulance – beautifully captured by this gem from Eleanor Laing MP – is quite incredible:

“I have not voted against my party or its leader for 15 years. But many of us are now examining our consciences about how we can support these ill-thought through proposals to reform our whole parliamentary system.

“Why are we supposed to bend over backwards to support Nick Clegg over something that only matters to Lib Dems when his party cannot support a fellow minister who has done nothing wrong?”

Never mind that Lords reform was a Conservative manifesto commitment in 2010 too: the myopia on display is staggering. It is bizarre enough that Hunt – widely referred to as the ‘Minister for Murdoch’, strongly suspected of innumerable breaches of the ministerial code and openly accused of having lied to the Commons – is still in his job.

The Liberal Democrats, at least, can see that he is a divisive figure, utterly devoid of credibility; that the Tories can’t speaks volumes about them.

 


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19 Responses to “Tory tantrums: Backbenchers on the warpath over Hunt and Lords reform”

  1. NewsatLeft

    Tory tantrums: Backbenchers on the warpath over… //t.co/AM15TgEE #CleanPolitics #Conservatives #Constitutionalreform #corruption

  2. Juli

    Tory tantrums: Backbenchers on the warpath over Hunt and Lords reform, reports @BenPhillips1989: //t.co/eTrV836F

  3. Threadbare Panda

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  4. leftlinks

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  5. Brian Tomkinson

    Tory tantrums: Backbenchers on the warpath over Hunt and Lords reform, reports @BenPhillips1989: //t.co/eTrV836F

  6. Hens4Freedom

    RT @leftfootfwd: Tory tantrums: Backbenchers on the warpath over Hunt and Lords reform, reports @BenPhillips1989: //t.co/3FL3vrOz

  7. Martin Steel

    Tory tantrums: Backbenchers on the warpath over Hunt and Lords reform, reports @BenPhillips1989: //t.co/eTrV836F

  8. Political Planet

    Tory tantrums: Backbenchers on the warpath over Hunt and Lords reform: After the Liberal Democrats abstained fro… //t.co/iwuqAidy

  9. BevR

    RT @leftfootfwd: Tory tantrums: Backbenchers on the warpath over Hunt and Lords reform //t.co/2ltItm4I

  10. Duncan Stott

    300 members elected by STV in multi-member constituencies were never going to be concurrent with Commons parliamentary boundaries, especially when the Lords/Senators will be elected for single terms of 15 years and the Commons boundaries are liable to change every 5 years.

    I don’t know what the Tories think they are threatening, but it sounds false. I also suspect the Telegraph is mischief-making.

  11. Anonymous

    I’d think they’re threatening “no changes”. Which isn’t exactly a disaster for the Tories given how useless the Lords as been on reigning them in. They don’t want a second house with a moral mandate opposing them.

  12. Mr. Sensible

    Well if Lords reform went, I would consider that a positive outcome to this process, frankly. I have never been in favour of an elected second chamber.

  13. BevR

    RT @leftfootfwd: Tory tantrums: Backbenchers on the warpath over Hunt and Lords reform //t.co/2ltItm4I

  14. Steven Preece

    Peter Bone MP just called for a Tory minority government in response to the Lib Dems' supposed treachery: //t.co/wI8IHT3Y #PMQs

  15. Harry Hook

    Peter Bone MP just called for a Tory minority government in response to the Lib Dems' supposed treachery: //t.co/wI8IHT3Y #PMQs

  16. Cristine Tumbaga C.

    Peter Bone MP just called for a Tory minority government in response to the Lib Dems' supposed treachery: //t.co/wI8IHT3Y #PMQs

  17. Andrew Palmer

    Peter Bone MP just called for a Tory minority government in response to the Lib Dems' supposed treachery: //t.co/wI8IHT3Y #PMQs

  18. Kevin Richards

    Knives are out for the untrustworthy- dog eat dog Tory tantrums: Backbenchers on the warpath over Hunt and Lords reform //t.co/8jZxUpyG

  19. Poll shows most people do not favour mostly elected House | Left Foot Forward

    […] Tory tantrums: Backbenchers on the warpath over Hunt and Lords reform 18 Jun […]

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