Lords Reform is set to be abandoned:
Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg is set to announce that plans for reform of the House of Lords are to be abandoned, the BBC understands.
The proposals faced opposition from many Tory MPs and speculation has been mounting that the plans would be axed. Lords reform has been a key goal for the Lib Dems, and its failure is likely to raise coalition tensions.
There has been speculation that the Lib Dems might drop support for boundary changes in response.
In a long-term relationship, it's important that both parties feel they are getting something out of it.
This is true in personal relationships, it's true in business, and it's also true in politics. If one party to the relationship insists on getting everything and won't let the other party get anything out of it, the relationship is unlikely to last.
And that's what's happening with the UK's coalition government. The Tories have got most of what they want -- a Tory government -- and the Lib Dems have got bugger all. About all they can say to the 6,800,000 people who voted for them is that they've prevented the Tories from enacting some of their nastier proposals.
Regarding constitutional reform, the electoral system is currently biased against the Conservatives: if Tory and Labour got equal numbers of votes in a general election, Labour would win about 50 more seats that the Tories. This is partly because Labour seats tend to be in areas of declining population, so when the last boundary review was some time ago, it will favour Labour. And so the Tories want to change boundaries so that all constituencies have very close to the same number of voters.
Viewed in isolation, the Tory desire for equal-sized constituencies sounds reasonable. But of course, things aren't in isolation. The electoral system overall isn't biased against the Tories, in fact it's biased in their favour. For example, at the last general election, they won 47% of the seats on 36% of the votes. The Lib Dems, in constrast, won 23% of the votes and only got a paltry 8.8% of the seats. So it's clear that it's the Lib Dems who the system is biased against, not the Tories.
The Tories oppose proportional representation for the commons because they know that with it they would never have a monopoly of power against the will of the British people ever again. But if they're not prepared to allow fairness in House of Commons elections, the least they could do is allow the House of Lords to be elected by PR, as this would go some way to correcting the bias against the Lib Dems in the Commons.
But the Tories don't even want to give Clegg that little crumb. They want it all, and they want their coalition "partners" to get nothing. And that's why the Lib Dems are going to be increasingly pissed off, and why eventually they will end this coalition where they are merely being used.