Osbourne’s tax defeat and a bellicose House of Lords



Just a few additions to the other posts about Osbourne’s defeat from my colleague!

The defeat of tax credits by the House of Lords is a crucial example for Unit 1 and 2 and could be used in a wide variety of ways, which I will explain. It is worth noting that since 1998, after it was reformed, the House of Lords has become increasingly willing to challenge the Commons and hold them to account for their decisions – most students will write about this is a negative sense and completely miss that this could arguably be a crucial role of the House of Lords and one that prevents a tyranny of the majority just bulldozing their policies through. For more examples of this, see the link from the UCL above. Equally, the fact they are unaccountable means they can do things they believe to be in the best interest of the country without having to worry about re-election…most parties are more likely to think about re-election in five years than what the impact of a policy they are pushing through in 30 years will be.

Unit 1 – Democracy – this is a great example for any question on democracy in the UK or whether we have a democratic deficit as this is a case of the unelected House defeating the very recently elected majority government.

Unit 1 – Parties/Elections – for top marks in a 25 mark question, this is an interesting example of a policy for which a party has a clear mandate and yet was defeated.

Unit 2 – Parliament – a good example of the role of the House of Lords and their success in combating an excess of power in the Commons (we do, after all, have a bicameral system). It is also a brilliant example of the role of conventions and customs in the running of Parliament. For those aiming for the top marks, I heartily recommend this article which looks at how the Lords managed to get around any constitutional roadblocks through knowledge of such rules – http://new.spectator.co.uk/2015/10/charles-moores-notes-the-government-needs-someone-who-knows-how-parliament-works/

Unit 2 – Constitution – the UK Constitution is made up of many sources, including statute law such as the 1911 Parliament Act. Those of you who have studied GCSE History may be familiar with this as it was partially the results of the Lords rejected Lloyd George’s People’s Budget in 1910. It was a new law that meant the Lords could not vote against financial matters passed by the Commons as they were elected by the tax-payers. However, in this instance, the Lords have voted down a financial matter and this could be a good example of problems with the UK constitution being not codified. Indeed, many Tories have come out this week and said they believe this matter to be a constitutional one

Unit 2 – PM & Cabinet – This is a great example that could be used to demonstrate how the elective dictatorship is challenged in the UK and how a PM and Cabinet cannot simply force things through Parliament with the promise of reward for loyalty or punishment for the disloyal.