Debates between Lord Desai and Lord Rooker during the 2019 Parliament

Tue 16th Nov 2021
Social Security (Up-rating of Benefits) Bill
Lords Chamber

Consideration of Commons amendments & Consideration of Commons amendments

Social Security (Up-rating of Benefits) Bill

Debate between Lord Desai and Lord Rooker
Lord Desai Portrait Lord Desai (Non-Afl)
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My Lords, we have been hearing lately that the House of Lords is a rather useless body and that the other place is better—but twice recently your Lordships’ House has asserted that it cares more for the people than the other place. The noble Duke, the Duke of Wellington, stood up for the right of the citizen to clean water, asserting that against what the Commons had said. We also stood up for the triple lock and had that rejected.

I have a very simple suggestion for the Government. Since they have no intention of helping pensioners, why can they not be honest and say that the triple lock simply means that we will raise pensions by the lowest number of the three which are here, unless it is higher than the Bank of England target of 2% inflation? The 2% inflation that the Bank of England has chosen as its target is not a statistic. It is not disputable because they have made it up. It will always stay at 2%. So the Government could at least guarantee to be honest; they could just give 2% and run away. They should not give false promises and then not fulfil them.

Lord Rooker Portrait Lord Rooker (Lab)
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My Lords, I will briefly follow the introduction made by the noble Lord, Lord Desai. I will not address the issue—I did that the last time we sat—but there is a wonderful clarity about this issue. With ignorant journalists in the media calling for the abolition of your Lordships’ House, this issue shows, above all, that we will always be an irritant to the Government, whatever party is in power. It was the same when I was over there; the House is an irritant. The clarity with this issue, particularly for those of us who do the Peers in Schools programme, it that it is a wonderful example that is very easy to explain of the fact that the Commons always has the last word.

So, whatever the arguments about the composition and powers of this place—and the idea that we can legislate at will, which we cannot—this example gives wonderful clarity on the fact that the Commons always has the last word. Our job is to ask MPs to think again and again, and sometimes again—I have known examples of three occasions. But the fact of the matter, which the elected Chamber cannot run away from, however it is dressed up, is that the Commons has the last word—and I think that is to your Lordships’ advantage for the way we operate.