House of Lords under the Coalition

So this is useful for a question in Parliament on the House of Lords, some examples of what the House of Lords has been up to on some major pieces of legislation.

Welfare Reform Act: 
Defeat 1: Plans to means test employment and support allowance (ESA) for disabled people defeated by 224 votes to 186
Defeat 2: Plans to time-limit ESA for those undergoing cancer treatment
Defeat 3: Restrict access to ESA for young people with disabilities or illness

But the Commons gave “financial privilege” as a reason for rejecting these amendments – arguing they were related to tax and spending decisions that the Lords, by convention does not oppose.

The Labour Party said it would consult lawyers over the legality of the Government’s tactics.

Health and Social Care Act:
Peers backed an amendment tabled by Lord Patel demanding mental health is made a higher priority, it passed by a margin of four votes. The amendment was rejected by the Government.

The government offered more than 100 concessions in an effort to get the bill passed.

Lord Owen, the senior independent peer leading criticism of the reforms, has conceded the Government will probably be able to force them through the House of Lords.

“The House of Lords doesn’t have the right to stop a bill because they find it politically disadvantageous,” he said. “They are allowed to try and reform it and we’ve done our best. It is a whipped bill, and there is no doubt when the whips of Liberal Democrat peers and Conservatives they can force it through, as they did in the House of Commons.”

Legal Aid Bill
Defeat 1: Peers voted against the mandatory use of telephone advice lines
Defeat 2: Peers voted by 237 to 198 to preserve legal aid for appeals against welfare benefit decisions, defeating reforms proposed in the legal aid, sentencing and punishment of offenders bill.
Defeat 3: Lord Newtons amendment which ensured that legal aid should be available for higher-tier benefit appeals was also passed
Defeat 4: Peers rejected, by a majority of 37, Clarkes proposals to restrict legal support for victims of domestic violence

And more, altogether there were 9 defeats, the coalition is expected to try to reverse the Lords’ decisions in the House of Commons on the grounds that the bill is primarily a financial measure.



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