In trying to get the House of Lords reformed Nick Clegg has always been aware of the ominous lesson of history; that others have tried for a century and failed.
The only real example of Lords reform was the removal of (most) hereditary peers soon after the New Labour election of 1997 – and this was by Tony Blair with an enormous majority.
For Clegg to try to set up a mostly-elected chamber was always going to be difficult, even with supposed cross-party support. The Tory leadership was signed up to the programme; its backbenchers were obstinately opposed – leading to a major showdown in July and a “pause” in the plans.
Today the news is breaking that senior ministers could announce as early as next week that they are not pressing ahead with a Lords reform bill in the next legislative session. All sides had been braced for months of trench warfare in both houses over the issue, with Tory MPs adamant that the changes would damage the primacy of the Commons and were an irrelevance during the deepest recession for decades.
Ministers will instead declare that they will stuff the legislative programme for 2012/13 Read more