Theresa May shelves plans to strip House of Lords of veto powers… for now

House of Lords, London, September 5, 2016 © Kirsty Wigglesworth
The government has abandoned plans put forward by David Cameron to strip the House of Lords of the power to veto legislation, but has warned peers that it may reconsider its decision.

In 2015, then Prime Minister Cameron instructed former House of Lords leader Lord Strathclyde to carry out a review into curbing the powers of the second chamber after peers had voted to block George Osborne’s plan to cut tax credits.

However, on Wednesday the government announced it had no plans to bring forth legislation on the issue.

Commons leader David Lidington said: “I can confirm this morning that, while the government found the analysis of Lord Strathclyde compelling, and we are determined that the principle of the supremacy of the elected House should be upheld, we have no plans for now to introduce new primary legislation.”

Under Strathclyde’s proposals, peers would have been limited to asking the lower chamber to reconsider planned legislation, leaving the final decision to the Commons.

However, current House of Lords leader Baroness Natalie Evans told peers that the decision to drop the plans was “reliant on the discipline and self-regulation that this House imposes upon itself.”

“Should that break down, we would have to reflect on that decision. This House has an important role to play in scrutinizing and revising legislation and the government recognizes this,” she said in a statement.

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“As we find ourselves considering the legislation resulting from the decision of the British people to leave the European Union, the constructive approach this House has so far shown will be ever more important,” Evans added.