Here’s something amusing. The Lords filibuster of the AV bill goes on, and it looks increasingly likely that they may manage to wreck the project or at least force the government to split off the changes to parliamentary constituencies. (That’s the bit that lets the Tories help themselves to boundary changes as a side payment for letting the Lib Dems have electoral reform.)
But look who’s full of principled concern for the constitution and for proper scrutiny of legislation.
Falconer said that if the government pressed ahead with a guillotine motion it would amount to a "constitutional outrage". "The consequence of the guillotine is that the government would get control of the Lords. This would be an abomination. Within seven months of getting into power they are trying to castrate the only independent part of it."
Indeed. But is that the same Lord Falconer who wanted to stop the Lords interfering with anything the Government “deemed important” back in 2006?
Until now, the Upper Chamber has abided by the Salisbury Convention that it does not block legislation if it has been included in the ruling party's manifesto. The new measure would prevent the Lords rejecting any proposed laws - such as ID cards, anti-terrorism proposals or schools reform - the Government deemed important.
In context, Falconer originally proposed this while the debates on the Identity Cards Act were still going on. If it wasn’t a threat that the Government would eliminate the second chamber if it didn’t get the ID Cards bill through, it was certainly a very coincidental choice of moment.