July 22 2014 Latest news:
Dean Kilpatrick, Reporter
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Julian Brazier, Tracey Crouch, Gareth Johnson and Adam Holloway vote against government
Four Conservative Kent MPs rebelled against the proposed House of Lords reforms in parliament yesterday.
Canterbury MP Julian Brazier, Chatham and Aylesford MP Tracey Crouch, Dartford MP Gareth Johnson and Gravesham MP Adam Holloway all voted against the coalitions plans to make the Lords an elected chamber.
However, despite the biggest rebellion the coalition has seen since its formation, the principle of the proposed reforms passed through parliament.
Dartford MP Gareth Johnson told the House of Commons that they should “abolish it at our peril”.
He added: “I feel bitterly disappointed that I shall be voting against my party - sick to the pit of my stomach, in fact.
“But I shall leave this chamber with my head held high (and) able to look myself in the mirror.
“The House of Lords works; it has stood the test of time.”
Beckenham MP Bob Stewart also voted against the proposals.
Other Kent MPs backed the motion though, including Thanet MP Laura Sandys who insisted Lords reformed was urgently needed.
She said: “This is not a Liberal Democrat Bill - restoring power to the people is at the heart of Conservatism. In this Parliament we have already introduced legislation for elected police commissioners and have promoted city mayors.
“It is absurd to criticise the EU’s lack of democratic mandate but to turn a blind eye to the 825 members who sit on the red benches as a result of some form of patronage.
“Reform is an essential component of strengthening Parliament in the face of a stronger executive. With greater resources and more activism in the House of Lords, both chambers will have an increased capacity to hold Government to account.”
Despite the principle motion being passed, the government decided to drop the vote which would have set out a timetable for the Lords Reform Bill.