You could be forgiven for thinking that the House of Lords had no real clout…until now anyway.
Last night peers backed calls for the Government’s tax credit cuts to be put on hold pending an independent analysis and to compensate those affected in full.
Independent Crossbench Peer, Baroness Meacher (pictured above) told Sky News that the government was “pulling the rug” from under the feet of working people, saying the outcome sent a “powerful message” to MPs to think again.
Ministers argued peers did not have the right to block financial measures approved by the House of Commons. Lords leader Baroness Stowell agreed with them, saying the “financial primacy” of the Commons had been in place for 300 years and to ignore this would be an “unprecedented” challenge. Urging peers to reject the critical motions, she said the squeeze on tax credits should not be treated “in isolation” but was part of the government’s “economic strategy and vision for the country”.
The reality is that the Upper House has always had influence, but for unelected peers to defy the will of the elected House of Commons on a financial matter of this nature is a big deal.
Would you like a slice of the action and to have your say?
A total of 88 new peers have been appointed since the beginning of 2014 and 11 of these have been independent crossbenchers i.e. peers not affiliated to any particular political party. They are people “with a record of significant achievement within their chosen way of life that demonstrates a range of experience, skills and competencies… who are able to make an effective and significant contribution to the work of the House of Lords”.
45 of the 88 new peers have been appointed over the last couple of months and all of them were political appointments recommended by the leaders of the three main parties. I reckon that the House of Lords Appointments Commission will want to redress the balance and invite some more independent crossbenchers on board soon.
If you fancy yourself as a big hitter in the political ring you may be interested to know that there have only been three crossbenchers appointed so far this year so now could be the time to apply.
For an honest assessment of your chances give us a call now on +44 (0)1444 230130 or firstname.lastname@example.org.