Andrew George, MP for the West Cornwall and Isles of Scilly constituency of St Ives, has confirmed that he will vote for the Government’s Lords Reform Bill at the Second Reading in the Commons today in spite of his record of being critical of the Government’s policy.
He will support the Government because there are many aspects of the Bill which will achieve some of the reforms he is seeking and he therefore hopes that the Bill could be improved during later Committee stages.
Mr George has also assured the Government that (in spite of his reputation for rebellion!) he will support the Programme Motion, which will provide for an unprecedented 10 full days of scrutiny of the Bill in the Commons Chamber.
Even so, he predicts that with an opportunistic Labour Party voting against their own policy of supporting Lords Reform by joining Tory backbenchers in a protest against the Programme Motion, the Government will lose this evening’s crucial vote.
Mr George therefore hopes that the Government will be prepared to seek a compromise to allow a modified Reform Bill to proceed.
Mr George said: “Although I expect the Government will lose this evening’s Programme vote I hope that they will reflect carefully and bring forward compromise measures. These must include the removal of remaining hereditary peers, the ending of Prime Ministerial and other patronage, the ending of protected places for a particular faith group and the beefing up of a genuinely independent Appointments Commission whose job it should be to propose members of the House which reflect the diversity of British society and its talents.
“What the country needs is effective scrutiny of the Government. Electing members of the Lords and therefore turning it into a replica of the Commons, where party tribalism and yahboo politics undermine its ability to engage in sober and independent scrutiny is not the answer. That is why I favour models which encourage independent minded representation and expert opinion, representing a broad range of the full diversity of this country.”
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