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Democracy, Parliament, Parties, Prime Minister & Cabinet, The Constitution, Unit 1, Unit 2

Tory Backbenchers Threaten House of Lords Reform

This story is a god- send to AS politics pupils- if ever there was a multipurpose example this is it…

For many Liberal Democrats constitutional reform was the pay back for getting into a political bed populated with ‘nasty’ Tories back in 2010, we all know that electoral reform didn’t go well for the Liberals so Clegg has to deliver on House of Lords Reform.

However last night David Cameron met with leading members of the 1922 committee who have threatened a large scale rebellion over this issue.

This Guardian Article http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2012/apr/19/house-of-lords-reform-tories?newsfeed=true offers a good summary.

The beauty of this story is the amount of ways in which you can use it:

1) House of Lords reform- this one is blindingly obvious but a question on the Lords could come up in the Parliament topic of Unit 2.

2) The process of reform itself is a key issue if you are asked about ‘unfinished’ constitutional reform, or constitutional reform under the coalition (in the constitution topic of Unit 2).

3) Divisions between the parties- Lib Dems (and Labour) in favour of House of Lords Reform- most Tories against. (Unit 1 parties)

4) Divisions within the party- more evidence about the role of the 1922 committee as a faction within the Tories and one that is increasingly opposed to Cameron. (Unit 1 parties)

5) Strength of Cameron’s leadership- yet another rebellion (Europe, Static caravans etc) is on the cards. Leaders derive strength from the support of their own parties- this is becoming a weakness for Cameron. However, this isolation from his parliamentary party could be used as a feature of presidentialism. How powerful/ how presidential is the PM are classic Unit 2 Executive questions.

6) The general consensus appears to be that Lords reform would require a referendum as it is a major constitutional issue (Democracy Unit 1).

7) If the three junior members of the government who have threatened their resignation over the Lords issue do actually resign you have another example for collective ministerial responsibility (executive Unit 2)

One story- 7 nuggets of A01 spread across 2 units and 5 out of 8 topics. What more could you want!

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