Over the weekend, a number of Conservative and Labour parliamentarians, from both ends of the building, were moaning and groaning about the arrival of 22 new Peers.
Some were complaining that Conservative Party donors were included; some were querying whether Liberal Democrat activists were sufficiently august; some were griping that there were insufficient numbers of Labour stalwarts in the list, and the media were pontificating that the days of political patronage should be over. And almost all of them were saying that we shouldn’t have any new Peers now anyway, because the House is clearly over-populated.
What a nerve! If on 10th July 2012, having given the Government’s Bill a huge second reading majority, those very same MPs had allowed it to make progress, this alleged problem would have been solved. Egged on by Peers and journalists, they broke their manifesto promises to bring democracy to the Lords by playing party games. Had the Reform Bill passed, political appointments would have ceased by now and we would be preparing for the first election of 120 members representing every region and nation of the UK, next year.
The choice was theirs two years ago: popular election or party patronage. They are now getting what they asked for.