UK & World News
Lords Reform Report Due After Clegg Warns PM
An all-party group of peers and MPs will publish a report later setting out recommendations for House of Lords reform as Nick Clegg issued a warning to David Cameron not to block his party's policy.
The Joint Committee is expected to call for an 80% elected chamber, where members serve non-renewable 15-year terms.
They would get a salary of around £50,000, rather than the existing attendance allowances.
The Deputy Prime Minister is championing the changes but Philip Hammond, Iain Duncan Smith, Michael Gove, Eric Pickles, Owen Paterson and Lord Strathclyde are said to be among senior Conservatives who have voiced doubts.
Mr Clegg told the PM he must face down the rebellion and pointed out that since he had asked Liberal Democrats to support coalition measures they did not like, Tory party members should act in the same "spirit".
The report is being published as a YouGov poll, commissioned by the Unlock Democracy group, revealed 69% want a half, majority or wholly elected second chamber.
A third - 33% - backed a fully elected Lords while just 5% said they supported all peers being appointed.
A fifth of voters said they wanted a chamber with equal numbers of appointed and elected members.
Director of Unlock Democracy Peter Facey said: "The three major parties all committed themselves to democratic reform of the House of Lords at the last general election.
"They cannot spin or dissemble themselves out of this commitment and while it may not be on top of everyone's agenda, polls have consistently shown that the public support Lords reform themselves.
"The debate over whether to hold a referendum is a red herring. The question should be whether the public demand one."
On Sunday, Justice Secretary Ken Clarke - an ardent backer of Lords reform - admitted that a purely Tory government would not be pushing it through in this parliament.
But Mr Clegg cautioned against a situation where the parties began halting each others' favoured policies.
"I think one of the great things about this coalition, despite a lot of pressure to do otherwise, is that we haven't indulged in sort of tit-for-tat selective choice about which bit of the coalition agreement we are going to support or not," he said.
"We all entered into this Government knowing first of all that no-one had won a majority... and secondly that we had a clear programme of reform we wanted to introduce and we back them.
"I have asked Liberal Democrat MPs and peers to back a number of things - the NHS Bill, other things - that they didn't like at all.
"But I did it because it was in the spirit of the coalition, and I would ask all people from all sides of the coalition Government to continue to govern in that spirit because it is what I think the British people want."
He said the plans were "uncontroversial" amongst most voters.
Speaking on Sky News' Murnaghan programme, Mr Clarke said: "The existing House of Lords is a curious historical anomaly.
"We are ready for democracy, I think. All three political parties were in favour of House of Lords reform in their last manifestos."
But he went on: "The Liberals probably have determined the timing. I think doing it now in this parliament has happened because the Liberals are anxious to get on with it."