Cameron set for battle over bid to curb Lords' power


First female bishop to sit in House of Lords

David Cameron is facing the prospect of a new battle with the House of Lords as the Conservatives set out plans to curb the powers of peers to block legislation.

A review by the Tory grandee Lord Strathclyde is expected to recommend that the upper house should lose its power to veto new regulations known as statutory instruments.

The move comes after Labour and Liberal Democrat peers infuriated ministers in October by combining to block Chancellor George Osborne's plans to cut tax credits for the low paid, forcing him to rethink his proposals.

Ministers accused peers of ignoring the long-established convention that they did not block financial measures which had been passed by the Commons.

David Cameron responded by ordering Lord Strathclyde, former leader of the Lords, to conduct a review of the power of the upper chamber.

It is reported that Lord Strathclyde will recommend that the law should be amended to enable peers to send back statutory instruments to the Commons to vote again, but they will only be able to do this once.

However they are likely to face fierce resistance in the Lords where the Conservatives have no overall majority.

Labour's leader in the Lords, Baroness Smith of Basildon said: "Labour will, of course, consider the finer details of Lord Strathclyde's report, but I'm still not convinced there was a problem there in the first place.

"As most people at Parliament know, the Government lost a vote on tax credits and in a massive over-reaction have decided to try and change the rules of the game.

"That looked churlish at the time and it feels no different now."