Boris Johnson’s plan to move House of Lords to the North slammed as a power grab that could cost ‘billions’

CONSTITUTIONAL experts last night warned a No10 plan to move the House of Lords to the north was a power grab that could cost “billions”.

Ministers yesterday confirmed that relocating the second chamber out of London is “one of a range of things” being looked to shake up politics.

 Boir sJohnson will move the House of Lords to the NORTH under post-Brexit plans as the party vows to get “radical”

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Boir sJohnson will move the House of Lords to the NORTH under post-Brexit plans as the party vows to get “radical”Credit: Alamy Live News

York is the favoured new location for it, and Birmingham is also in the running.

Mr Johnson is keen to build on the gains won by the Tories in the former Labour Northern heartlands during the election and has told aides to start thrashing out the practicalities of moving the second chamber.

Tory chairman James Cleverly said: “When the Prime Minister stood up the day after the general election and said this is going to be the people’s government, that meant connecting people with government and with politics”.

“Trust me we’re going to be radical. We’re going to get stuff done.”

Under plans to be looked at by a constitutional review in the Spring, the House of Commons will also go on tour, holding several days of debates in cities outside London.

Trust me we’re going to be radical. We’re going to get stuff done.

James Cleverly

Labour accused No10 of “sabre rattling” ahead of a Lords rebellions this week on the Brexit deal bill, seen as the new government’s first trial of strength with the upper house, where Boris Johnson doesn’t have a majority.

And Tory peer and constitutional expert Lord Norton insisted the idea had not been thought out and would open up a Pandora Box of problems.

As well as being “extraordinarily expensive”, splitting up the Commons and the Lords would also make it much harder for the two sets of parliamentarians to work together, he insisted.

Lord Norton told The Sun: “If you separate them physically, that limits the interactions of the members of both houses and thereby strengthens Government”.
“It also throws into doubt the role of ministers. Do you take them out of the Lords, or do they continue to keep on jumping on a train along with their officials?
“The fact of the matter is both houses of parliament are in Westminster because that’s where the government is.”
The capital costs of building a new second chamber elsewhere as well as its running costs “would run into billions”, he added.
Another Tory peer, Lord Hayward, predicted No10 will end up dropping the move.
The former MP-turned-elections expert added: “Moving one house to one part of the country and leaving the other in London really doesn’t make sense”.
Labour’s team in the Lords tweeted: “Testing out a new, more creative form of No10 sabre-rattling against peers the weekend before Govt faces potential defeat on shameful u-turn over family reunion for child refugees?”

The Lords will be moved while the the £3.5bn restoration of the Houses of Parliament takes place.

Under current plans peers will be moved to the Queen Elizabeth II Centre just a short stroll away in Westminster until the work is complete in 2025.

If it moved up north more than 800 peers would have to move out of London to attend sessions.

 York and Birmingham are frontrunners for the new home of the lower chamber

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York and Birmingham are frontrunners for the new home of the lower chamberCredit: Getty – Pool


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