House of Lords Reform Bill 2012-13: decision not to proceed

Published 25 September 2012

The House of Lords Reform Bill 2012-13 had its second reading in the Commons on 9 and 10 July 2012. While the vote on second reading was won, 91 Conservative Members voted against, and the Government did not move its programme motion, meaning that the Bill was not sent to committee. On 6 August 2012 Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg announced that the Bill would not proceed further. On 3 September 2012 he confirmed that it had been withdrawn. This Note summarises the events leading to the abandonment of the Bill, and considers Lord Steel’s House of Lords (Cessation of Membership) Bill, which some see as a more modest alternative.

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The House of Lords Reform Bill 2012-13 had its second reading in the Commons on 9 and 10 July 2012. A response to manifesto commitments by each of the three main parties, the Bill had aroused controversy among Conservative backbenchers, some of whom were concerned that a mostly elected House of Lords would challenge the primacy of the Commons, some of whom felt that reform was not a priority at a time of economic difficulty. Critics in other parties and in the House of Lords also opposed the Bill. While the vote on second reading was won, over 90 Conservative Members voted against, and the Government did not move its programme motion, meaning that the Bill was not sent to committee. On 6 August 2012 Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg announced that the Bill would not proceed further. On 3 September 2012 he confirmed that it had been withdrawn.

This Note summarises the situation concerning the Bill, and gives an account of Lord Steel’s House of Lords (Cessation of Membership) Bill, which some see as a more modest alternative.

The Government’s Bill was discussed in detail in Research Paper12/37, House of Lords Reform Bill 2012-13, 4 July 2012, which contains a bibliography of briefings produced by the Libraries of the two Houses.

Commons Briefing papers SN06405

Author: Paul Bowers

Topics: Parliament, House of Lords

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