A member of the committee on reforming the House of Lords has confirmed that some members are unhappy with a central plank of Nick Clegg's policy. Lord Tyler - a Liberal Democrat Peer - has told BBC Radio 4 that reducing the size of the chamber to 300 would make it too much like the House of Commons, populated entirely by full-time party politicians.
In what 's likely to become one of the most divisive political issues of 2012, Clegg is fighting against the parliamentary clock to get a Bill published and passed to replace the current unelected Lords with a new chamber which would be 80% elected. The rest of the reformed Lords would consist of appointed peers and some Church of England bishops.
The BBC reported on Thursday that many members of the joint parliamentary committee tasked with producing the draft Bill on Lords reform was unhappy with one aspect of Clegg's plans. The deputy prime minister wants the new chamber to consist of 300 members - a dramatic reduction on the more than 700 which currently sit there.
According to the BBC, some committee members feel that 300 Lords would not be enough to make the upper chamber distinctive from the Commons, which is expected to have 600 members after the next election. The committee believes at least 450 peers is needed to avoid every peer having to be a full-time legislator.
This report was confirmed by Lord Tyler on Thursday morning, who told the Today programme:
"What I think is being said by many on the committee, probably the whole of the committee that simply cutting it back to 300 and assuming that everybody’s got to be a full-time parliamentarian would make us too much like the House of Commons and I think the public are expecting to have a second chamber which is very different to the House of Commons.”