A Labor shadow minister today insisted the party abolish the House of Lords in the first five years after taking power – despite Sir Keir Starmer shrinking from that commitment.
The Labor leader will unveil proposals for economic and political reform tomorrow along with former Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
The ex-Prime Minister has been working on a constitutional revision for Sir Keir, which is expected to recommend giving more decision-making powers to cities, English regions and devolved nations.
But Sir Keir and Mr Brown have reportedly argued over a promise to replace the Lords with an elected chamber, with claims the promise could be watered down at the last minute.
Last month, Sir Keir is reported to have told his party colleagues he wants to overhaul the Lords within the first term of a Labor government.
Yet the Labor leader has now suggested he may not be able to oversee Lords reform until he wins a second general election.
Sir Keir also made no mention of Labour’s plans for the Upper House of Parliament in a newspaper article he wrote this weekend ahead of the publication of Mr Brown’s review.
Despite suggestions, Sir Keir reneged on his pledge to reform the Lords in the first term of a Labor government, but one of his top frontbenchers insisted today that the party remained ‘absolutely’ committed to an elected second chamber.
A Labor shadow minister today urged the party to abolish the House of Lords in the first five years after taking power
Sir Keir Starmer will unveil proposals for economic and political reform tomorrow along with former Prime Minister Gordon Brown
But Sir Keir and Mr Brown reportedly quarreled over a promise to replace the Lords with an elected chamber
Shadow education secretary Bridget Phillipson insisted her party still intended to reform the Lords within the first term of a Labor government
Asked on the BBC’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg program whether Lords reform would take place within the early years of a Labor government, Shadow Education Secretary Bridget Phillipson replied: ‘That’s the plan.
‘We will discuss how we can achieve this prior to the manifesto.’
Sir Keir had avoided making the same commitment in an interview with the Sunday Times.
The Labor leader admitted there were “implementation questions” and told the newspaper: “The answer is that this is the part of the discussion that comes after Monday, because that’s testing the proposals, refining them and then crucially answer, think about when and how this is done.
‘What requires legislation, for which there is no legislation, whether we want to take each of the steps.
“The goal of that is to create a manifesto that says this is the total project, these are the things we plan to do in the five years, this is the delivery you can expect.”
Mr Brown was tasked by Sir Keir to carry out his constitutional review in 2020.
It has been argued that the Labor leader’s team was unsure about fully embracing some of the radicalism of the former prime minister’s plans.
In an article for the Observerwrote Sir Keir that this week’s unveiling of Mr Brown’s proposals will ‘be the start of a journey of ousting power from Westminster and raising standards’.
He added: The beginning of showing how politics can once again be a force for good.
‘The start of Britain becoming a fairer, greener and more dynamic country. But more than that, it will be the start of making sure people have the means to build that better future.”
But the Labor leader did not directly mention Lord’s reform in his article.
Tory colleague Lord Norton insisted that the Lords should remain unelected and warned of ‘Big Bang reform’ in the upper chamber of Parliament.
“The problems with Gordon Brown’s proposals and to some extent with what Keir Starmer has said, on the one hand he talked about getting rid of the Lord’s while keeping current functions, like you can separate entities – the way where an organ is elected and the task it performs – and the two are clearly linked,” he told Times Radio.
“So the current job adds value in terms of the law of this country, to make sure this nation has good laws is a public good and I think the House of Lords contributes to what is its most important role : its detailed legislative control. , it improves the law of this land.
“So we want to, I would say, keep that. So one should be wary of some Big Bang reform, grand reform.’