Sunday, August 09, 2015

Yvette Cooper wins "Hypocrite of the Month" award

I award Labour leadership candidate and shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper the title of "Hypocrite of the month" for her statement that House of Lords reform is "long overdue" and call for a freeze on appointments.

Has she forgotten who was responsible for the failure of proposals to replace the House of Lords by an 80% elected second chamber in the last parliament?

Here's a reminder: her leader Ed Miliband sabotaged the coalition government's House of Lords reform bill, in an unholy alliance with Conservative rebels, by indicating that Labour would oppose the timetable bill which would have been necessary to prevent it being "filibustered" or "talked out."

Now I'm not pretending that the Tory rebels didn't also have a role in killing the proposals, and I thought they were wrong at the time, though they were at least honest about the fact that they were trying to stop the House of Lords reform bill (and succeeded with Miliband's help.)

Labour claimed to be in favour of reform, but the reality is that they were more interested in defeating the government than in reforming the House of Lords.

The bill was not withdrawn immediately when the Conservative rebellion took place in July 2012: it only became impossible to pursue it when Labour made clear that they would vote against the timetable motion without which the way was open for opponents of the change to filibuster the legislation when it returned for committee stage in September of that year, potentially dominating the legislative timetable and knocking out debate on any other bill.

Without the timetable motion, which Labour made clear they would join Tory rebels to block, the bill had no chance of getting through and it was not brought back.

So for Yvette Cooper, a member of the shadow cabinet who helped to kill the reform proposals in the last parliament, to complain that reform of the Lords is overdue is like the old joke about the boy who murdered his parents and then pleaded for clemency on the grounds that he was an orphan.

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