The House of Lords authorities are refusing to hand over officials’ estimates of how much it will cost taxpayers to replace the chamber with a mostly elected senate, prompting anger from Tory politicians.
Officials have rejected a freedom of information request by the Financial Times, saying that the relevant information was produced “solely” for the joint committee on Lords reform. “A decision was taken by them not to publish it as part of their report,” they said in their response.
David Davis, MP for Haltemprice and Howden, said there was a “clear-cut case” for the cost estimates to be put in the public domain.
“There is a very clear argument for this,” said the influential former frontbencher. “It will be very hard for them to refuse to do it.” Mr David predicted that the question would be put to Nick Clegg: “What’s he going to say? ‘We don’t know?’ He can’t do that can he?”
Another Tory MP told the FT: “This is a genuine public issue how can we reach a decision about its merits when we have no cost-benefit analysis?”
The issue comes to a head on Wednesday when Lords reform is part of the Queen’s speech setting out the legislative programme for the forthcoming parliamentary Read more
David Davis is busy stocking up for Westminster’s underground party of the year.
Here’s the invitation freshly sent out to a select group of likeminded troublemakers: Read more
When Cameron heads too deep into the westcountry, whether for work or pleasure, things never seem to go to plan.
Some members of his team are already muttering about the “Curse of Cornwall”. Read more
You don’t have to be entirely cynical to wonder whether David Davis’s intervention over capital gains tax is a calculated political move designed to plant his flag firmly in the “Tory troublemaker” camp.
The coalition is planning to lift CGT from 18 per cent (over a threshold of £10,100 a year) to a level closer to that of income tax – which is paid at 40 per cent by high-earning middle classes.
The phrasing was originally that CGT would be “similar or close to” income tax levels. Now it’s “closer to” income tax levels, a subtle shift which could allow for a less radical move.
Despite this, however, Tory backbenchers are up in arms; on behalf of their constituents and not only themselves. John Redwood is also at the forefront of the rebellion, having written to the Treasury yesterday to ratchet up the lobbying for a taper to restrict the most punitive tax rate to assets that are not held long-term. Read more
An important intervention from David Davis on the proposals for fixed term parliaments. He told the BBC it was a “very serious mistake” to require a 55 per cent super majority to call an early election.
“The consequence, in the extreme, is you could have a government in parliament which could command 45 per cent, or 45 per cent plus one, of parliamentary votes, but no more, and therefore couldn’t deliver a budget, couldn’t deliver its manifesto, couldn’t deliver its normal legislation and yet couldn’t be thrown out either.”