If you’re outnumbered in any forum, what’s the best thing you can do?
What many people would say is invite your mates. And while Prime Minister David Cameron hasn’t exactly done that, according to reports in the papers, he’s looking at doing the next best thing. The Prime Minister is considering the possibility of appointing at least 35 fellow Conservatives to the House of Lords in order to challenge the majority of Labour and the Liberal Democrats.
It’s an issue that’s been brewing since the General Election. With the election of a Conservative majority, Labour and the Lib Dems have sought to identify the ways in which they might influence policy. Or at least prevent the Conservatives having it all their own way – particularly when the opposition (with the exception of the SNP) has been in disarray.
The inevitable conclusion has been that Labour and the Lib Dems can use their numbers in the House of Lords to challenge or even block legislation including measures relating to Europe and the welfare state.
The suggestion the upper chamber could be used in such a way raised the prospect of long-awaited reform to the Lords. And the suggestion that David Cameron will use his authority to shift the balance on the red benches will hardly dampen any call for change.
If anything, they will exacerbate calls for reform – particularly if the nomination of more peers further increases the number of members in what is already the most populated upper chamber in Europe. And this time, they might be calls that have to be heeded.