James Forsyth

The depth of Tory feeling over Lords reform

The depth of Tory feeling over Lords reform
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What should worry David Cameron about tonight’s meeting of the 1922 Committee on Lords reform was that it was not just the usual suspects who spoke out against it. The two MPs presenting the case against were members who have never defied the whip: Jesse Norman and Nadhim Zahawi.

Those present were particularly struck by some polling data that Zahawi, who used to run YouGov, presented. It showed that when asked what issues were a priority for them zero per cent of the electorate mentioned reform of the Lords. Even when prompted, this number only rose to six per cent. But Zahawi’s polling shows that if reform does go ahead, almost two thirds of the public want a referendum on it. The significance of this is that Nick Clegg adamantly denies that there is any need for a referendum.

I understand that one of the most frequent themes from the floor was concern that a Lords with an elected element in it would challenge the primacy of the Commons. I’m also told that more than one PPS indicated to the meeting that they were prepared to resign over the matter.