The Chancellor said he and the Prime Minister were “clear” the actions of the unelected second chamber had constitutional implications which would “need to be dealt with”.
Sky News 27/10/15
I’m not the most avid fan of the House of Lords, however the actions of the second chamber is fully in line with its purpose! It did not block a manifesto promise of the elected government, rather it blocked a measure that the Prime Minister categorically ruled out during the election campaign.
Here is a summary of events so far:
The Prime Minister said there would be no tax credit cut – he won the election – prime minister tries to cut tax credits – House of Lords blocks it.
Some might argue that the Lords are bound by the Salisbury convention and by blocking the changes they are causing a constitutional crisis. However, Salisbury convention only applies to you pledges made in the winning party’s manifesto, and as we know this was not in the Tories’ manifesto.
David Cameron announced that ministers in his government will have their pay frozen for the duration of the parliament as part of his “One nation” approach. Admirably, the government is showing us plebs that they too are hurting in the attempt to cut the deficit.
However, when you consider how ministers are paid you’ll soon realise that their ministerial salary forms part of their income. All ministers (apart from Lords) are MPs and so receive a salary for being a member of the Commons. Of course with all MPs, these courageous and selfless ministers who will be facing a 5 year freeze in pay will enjoy an inflation smashing 9% increase in their pay for their Parliamentary work. With many public sector workers facing a mere 1% pay increase, the “One Nation” spin explanation for the freeze seems a little diluted.
Although the government disagrees with the 9% rise, the question is, how many of David Cameron’s cabinet will be refusing the 9% increase in the spirit of “One Nation” Conservatism?