Yesterday Labour introduced bill B1105 to Parliament, authored by the Rt Hon. Dame lily-irl Leader of the Opposition. This bill, also backed by Solidarity would abolish the House of Lords, the upper chamber of Parliament. While there has been some national debate on the future of the upper chamber, this bill which would effectively abolish the upper chamber without any plans for a replacement chamber is a departure from most mainstream thoughts concerning the Lords. Despite the bill being authored by the Leader of the Opposition herself, it seems that internally the bill may not perhaps have the full confidence or backing of the Labour party.
In recent months the Labour Party has been marred by internal turmoil. They have had internal party fractures leading to the new Solidarity Party, constant weekly reshuffles of their shadow cabinet, and leadership which has been criticized for their shortcomings. Thus to most political analysts, it was no surprise that the latest set of national polls saw a 4% decline in support for the Labour leaving them in 3rd place just barely a percentage point ahead of the Liberal Democrats. Despite their falling poll numbers, Labour leady lily-irl gave a speech just hours after the polls were released expressing their decision to stay on as leader. However, just yesterday lily-irl appointed DL /u/BoredNerdyGamer as an acting leader due to personal reasons.
It seems the new acting leader already has a situation on their hands as prominent Labour frontbencher Frost_Walker expressed their opposition to the bill. Frost_Walker has risen through the ranks of Labour during their internal turmoil holding 4 different frontbench positions showing how the Labour Party has struggled to fit quality candidates to even fill their cabinet. Frost_Walker is currently the Shadow Minister for Equalities, shadow Secretary of State for Communities, Culture, Media, and Sport, Secretary of State for Education, in addition to being their chief whip. However, it seems that Labour brass was not even able to reach a consensus on their new bill with even their Chief Whip.
Frost_Walker gave a speech in the Commons saying that despite he “had foreknowledge of this bill being presented” they cannot support the bill and would be raising concerns inside the party. The bill has also been panned by almost every other party in the Commons from the Tories, Liberal Democrats to the PPUK. Other MPs brought up concerns that scrapping the House of Lords would remove checks on the Commons and that complete abolition was not the answer. Adding onto their criticism MPs opposing the bill pointed out the fact that Labour and Solidarity have a number of members in the House of Lords and posed the question that if the Parties would remove their members from the Lords if they truly believed in their motion.
Solidarity Spokesperson /u/chainchompsky1 who spoke in favor of the bill also criticized the Labour Chief saying that their party provided more stability. They went on saying that the Cheif Whips approval on any bill before submitting was essential and that “If labour isn’t seeking the input of the person in charge of whipping people in favor of this, it has zero organizational capacity and operates more as an independent grouping.” Harsh words from a person who once held the same whip office inside Millbank Tower.
When asked to comment on if Labour members had discussed the bill prior to it being tabled the Party said they had indeed and no members have expressed any displeasure. When pressed on what way the party would whip the answer was more unclear. Chief Whip Frost_Walker said the whip certainly wouldn’t be against or abstain, hinting at the possibility of a free vote or aye.
On the other side, some showed support of the bill, /u/SoSaturnistic expressed their views saying that the Commons provided enough scrutiny on legislation and that they saw no wrongs with countries with only unicameral legislative bodies. However on the Labour side aside from Frost_Walker, no other Labour member has spoken on the bill and it remains to be seen what the party will do.
Tres Commas is a senior writer for the Telegraph covering Westminster politics.