Lords defeats Government again – Employment Support Allowance


The Lords dealt another blow to Government policy this week, voting against the cuts to Employment Support Allowance. This article is short and worth a read as it gives details about the depth of the proposed cut, who voted against it, the role of Pressure Groups (in this case Mencap).

Yet another defeat by the Lords, almost becoming routine at this point, underlines the same points we have made before – this is a Government with a weak majority, there is a greater willingness of the Lords to scrutinise Commons (especially notable since 2010, but certainly since the 1999 reforms), the growth of Parliamentary sovereignty (especially when compared with the political sovereignty of government) and so on.

This story doesn’t particularly bring up any new debates, but it certainly furthers existing ones about the power of a government with a weak majority. The very best students will therefore be able to identify that the power of the Lords, and the location of political sovereignty in the UK, is in no way fixed and is ultimately dependent on the majority and strength of the current elected Government.