Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Guardian letter on Salisbury convention

Matthew d`Ancona asks whether we "really want Osborne`s measure to be overturned by a super-committee of the unelected" (Vandalise tax credit reform at your peril, my Lords,26/10/15). Of course we do, and according to constitutional legislation, the Lords have every right to do so; the Salisbury Convention ensures that Government Bills get through the Lords, even though "the government of the day has no majority in the Lords", as long as the Bill was "mentioned in an election manifesto" ( As "plans to cut tax credits" did not appear in the Tories` manifesto, the House of Lords has no choice. It is not the peers who are acting unconstitutionally, but the government, and this point is being ignored by most political commentators.
      Indeed, the peers supporting the measure need to ask themselves an important question about the upper house`s raison d`etre; if it does not check legislation, and hold governments to account, what is the justification for its existence? 

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