Conservatives advised to create 39 new Lords – as they oppose adding 36 new Senedd Members
Conservatives have been advised to create 39 new supportive peers in the House of Lords – at the same time as they protest against creating 36 new Senedd members.
A confidential document drafted by Sir Lynton Crosby’s C|T Group and seen by ITV News suggested creating the extra Lords so that the Conservative government can avoid the frequent defeats it has suffered in Westminster’s upper chamber.
According to ITV, the document suggests avoiding criticism of the move by drawing the Lords from underrepresented parts of the UK. Wales currently has only 4% of peers – while London 24%.
Responding to ITV, the C|T Group accused it of being “against making the House of Lords more representative of the UK people with under-representation of the north and Wales”.
But the 39 new Lords figure is significant in that it is itself almost exactly the same number of new Senedd Members the Conservatives are opposing adding to the Welsh Parliament.
Yesterday Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies reiterated his opposition to creating 36 new Senedd members as part of Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru plans to reform to the institution.
“70,000 people in Wales are waiting more than two years on an NHS waiting list,” he said. “Labour’s priority? Putting 36 more MSs in Cardiff Bay.”
The Conservative Senedd group have said that a referendum is needed on expanding the Senedd, a call backed by the UK Government’s Wales Office.
First Minister Mark Drakeford has already accused the Conservatives of complaining about expansion of the Senedd on one hand while increasing the number of peers in the House of Lords on the other.
“Every nine months, the Prime Minister appoints more people to the House of Lords than we propose adding to the membership of the Senedd—every nine months. Where’s the referendum on that, I wonder?” he asked.
Boris Johnson has already appointed 79 new peers since becoming Prime Minister in 2019.
According to ITV, the C|T paper shows concern that legislation such as the Brexit Freedoms Bill and the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill could be defeated in the absence of more Tory lords.
Almost two thirds of government defeats in recent years were by fewer than 50 votes, the documents said, so 39 new peers would be needed.
A spokesperson for C|T told ITV: “The document you refer to was simply an early working copy of a discussion paper prepared for a think tank.
“It was not circulated outside of a small group of individuals and was not prepared for any audience outside of that small group of people, to aid discussion.
“Even in spite of this being simply a working draft of a discussion paper, it seems incongruous that ITV would be against making the House of Lords more representative of the UK people with under-representation of the north and Wales, as you state, or that those who accept peerages do so in the full knowledge and acceptance that they will commit fully and actively to their democratic role, and have no conflicts which would prevent them from doing so.”
A No 10 spokesperson said: “This is not a government document and does not represent government policy. Unsolicited advice is often received – and disregarded.”
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