IN a serious blow to the ruling coalition government in Britain, the plans to introduce a mainly-elected upper house of parliament has been dropped, according to Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.
Clegg, Agence France Presse (AFP) yesterday reported, said the Conservatives had failed to back the reforms of the House of Lords, and said his party would now drop its support for changes to parliamentary constituencies.
“I can confirm today that we do not intend to proceed with the bill (for House of Lords reform) in this parliament,” Clegg told a news conference.
“The Conservative Party is not honouring the commitment to Lords reform and as a result part of our contract has now been broken.”
The move by the Liberal Democrats will put severe strain on the partnership.
The Conservatives have long cherished plans to change the boundaries of parliamentary constituencies, which they have long regarded as giving them a disadvantage at the polls.
Elections are not due until 2015 but would have to be held earlier if the Conservatives lose their majority.
“Coalition works on mutual respect — it is a reciprocal arrangement, a two-way street,” Clegg said.
“So I have told the prime minister that when, in due course, parliament votes on boundary changes for the 2015 election, I will be instructing my party to oppose them.”
Meanwhile, high-profile Conservative MP Louise Mensch is to leave parliament to move to New York with her family.
Mensch, 41, a prominent presence on Twitter who recently set up her own social network, tweeted: “I am devastated by the necessary decision that I have had to announce today… It has, however, proved impossible to balance the needs of my family.”
Since her election in 2010 Mensch has become a well-known Conservative figure and was seen as a potential minister.