Coffee House

Cameron’s Lords mess

22 July 2014

In the last reshuffle, David Cameron made Tina Stowell the leader of the House of Lords. But, astonishingly, he didn’t make her a full member of the Cabinet, giving her only the right to attend. This, understandably, outraged peers; they quite rightly feel that the leader of the second chamber should be in the Cabinet. It also led to jibes that Cameron was paying a woman less to do the same work as a man, her predecessor Jonathan Hill had been a full Cabinet minister and had the salary to go with it.

In an attempt to dampen this story down, it was announced that Stowell’s salary would be topped up from Tory party funds. But this, again, angered peers. They complained, with justification, that the arrangement was undignified and inappropriate as Stowell is expected to represent the interests of all members of the upper house, not just the Tory ones.

Tonight, Stowell has—to her credit—said that she won’t take the salary top up. But the fact that the government has got itself into this mess is a sign of the lack of respect for constitutional propriety in Downing Street. It should have been clear to those drawing up the reshuffle that failing to make the leader of the Lords a full member of the Cabinet was going to prompt a backlash from the other place.

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  • Mynydd

    What do you expect with Mr Cameron in charge.

  • Tony_E

    The ‘Lords’ can squeal all they like – the country couldn’t give a toss. And why? Because the Lords has become so stuffed with party apparatchiks during the Blair era that they are simply a stay behind army of the Left, a blocking majority to defeat the will of the elected commons.

    They have lost their independent character, let their party chairmen represent them, they no longer merit much more.

    I have a feeling that this move may have been a quite deliberate snub.

    • Mynydd

      The makeup of the House of Lord by party is as follows:
      Bishops – 26
      Conservative – 219
      Crossbench – 180
      Labour – 217
      Lib Dem – 98
      Non-affiliated – 20
      Other parties – 15
      Total – 774
      How come the House of Lords is stuffed with Labour party apparatchiks when they have only 217 members out of a total of 774.
      How can the army of the left be a blocking majority when they can be outvoted by the Conservative party Lords 219 to 217 and by the Conservative/Lib Dems coalition Lords 316 to 217
      I think it would be in your interest to, check the facts and do simple sums, before making silly comments

      • Tony_E

        Firstly, read what I said before you insult me. I said that the Lords was stuffed full of Party apparatchiks (you said Labour, I did not) – your numbers do not dispute this.

        219 Cons/217 Lab/98 Lib dem. = 534 out of 774.

        That’s a progressive majority, and when you look at the Bishops and cross benchers, I’m sure that progressive majority is reinforced.

        • Mynydd

          Changed your story then, I quote:

          “Because the Lords has become so stuffed with party apparatchiks during the Blair era that they are simply a stay behind army of the Left, a blocking majority to defeat the will of the elected commons”
          Blair era can only mean Labour, he would hardly stuff the House of Lords with Conservatives and Lib Dems

          You couldn’t call Conservatives and Lib Dems an army of the left so that leave only Labour.

          Nice Try.

  • John Clarke

    Scrap the House of Lords and you can save a lot of money.

  • HookesLaw

    The Lords should be abolished.

    Plus – UK cabinets are probably too big anyway. Poor dears the poor peers. As always some people will walk across the road to take affront.

    • southerner

      Another fantastically un-conservative post. And you wonder why we call you a socialist?
      Any other institutions you Camerloons want to destroy?

  • misomiso

    Cameron has a lot of political gifts, but he does have tendancy to gaff. Maybe its because of a lack of diversity among his inner circle makes it harder to see things coming.

    It is utterly incredible, INCREDIBLE, that they havnt made the leader of the Lords a full cabinet minister. And given the theme of the reshuffle, paying a woman much less than the man who was doing her job previously was like shooting themselves in the foot with a shotgun.

    They should do a full U-turn on Friday, reinstate her fully, and get it over with.

  • JoeDM

    Another example of the shallowness of Cameron.

    • Holly

      And the ‘depth’ of others I suppose.

  • LondonStatto

    Why should Leader of the Lords be more significant than Leader of the Commons?

    • waltherm

      Why shouldn’t the PM be a member of the second chamber?

      • HookesLaw

        Really? What a stupid idea.

      • Holly

        Or shot up it.

  • WatTylersGhost

    Time to end this charade of democracy and have an elected upper house. Those who believe that they are incompetent to choose who governs us might prefer to keep the present corrupt system.

    • Drabble

      We do not even get the lower house we vote for.
      Most of us wanted a Conservative Government and look what we have!

      • telemachus

        10,703,654 do not equate to most of us
        Even of the voters this is just 36.1%
        The value of the coalition has been to shackle the Tory right wing

    • Marc de Salis

      What’s the point in an elected upper house? Surely it would end up split along the same party lines as the lower house?

      • Holly

        An even bigger set of ‘aardvarks’ than we’re lumbered with today.

      • Colonel Mustard

        Precisely. Give me the old hereditary lords any day. We were better protected.

      • awilliams66

        Fill the house with individuals selected by lot from the electoral rolls. this would have the advantage of giving us a democratic upper house with members who are independant of the lower house as the former hereditaries were but from all walks of life like juries are rather than just the privilaged few.

    • Tom Chance

      We don’t need or want another round of out-of-touch career politicians. At least some of the Lords have relevant experience of the real world to contribute.

    • Holly

      It should go back to being hereditary peers, a bit like the ‘New, New, Old Labour party.
      Can’t wait to see which constituencies Miliband’s off spring inherit.

    • HookesLaw

      Why have an upper house at all?

      • Colonel Mustard

        Because the idiotic legislative effluent and EU puppetry being churned out by the PPE wonks in the Commons needs some scrutiny by adults. In theory, not that the Lords is now populated wholly by adults.

        • dado_trunking

          As ever you nail it, Colonel.
          We gather that the concept of having ‘wise men’ advising on economic matters is of course an imported one.

          Now guess where from?

          We also gather that the proposal of the top rated UKIP commenter above is of course an imported one. Now guess again, where did he get his brilliant ideas from?

        • Aberrant_Apostrophe

          Quite. The HoL comprises failed politicians, people who stood for Parliament but never got elected, a few people who were reasonably good at running and jumping, loads of business gurus who bunged a few quid at their favourite political parties and half a dozen bishops. At least we got shot of most of the inbred Hooray Henrys and Henriettas.

  • toco10

    What a cheap and juvenile piece!Just grow up or leave Fraser in peace!

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