• Government publishes Strathclyde review of House of Lords role
  • Lower house should have final say on secondary legislation

Britain’s unelected House of Lords could lose its right to veto secondary legislation under new recommendations made by a government-commissioned review into its role, as the ruling Conservative Party battles to curb its powers.

A review by Thomas Strathclyde, published by the government Thursday, recommended a new procedure be implemented by which the House of Lords would be allowed to ask the elected House of Commons to think again when a disagreement exists, but give the final say to the lower house.

The review was commissioned by Prime Minister David Cameron in October after House of Lords lawmakers from the opposition Labour and Liberal Democrat parties blocked Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne’s plan to cut tax credits for working families, leading him to ditch his flagship welfare reform. The Tories have a majority in the House of Commons, but not in the Lords.

Opponents argued that the convention that financial measures are not blocked by the upper house should not apply to the tax-credit proposal because it was brought in as a statutory instrument rather than primary legislation.

Strathclyde, a member of the House of Lords, put forward two other options:
that statutory instruments should only be taken through the House of Commons; and that the restrictions on how the Lords exercises its powers should be clarified.

“I believe that my recommendations strike the right balance between preserving the vital role of the House of Lords in scrutinizing legislation, and enabling the elected House of Commons to have a decisive role on statutory instruments,” Strathclyde said in a statement.

Cameron said he will "carefully" consider Strathclyde’s recommendations before responding in the New Year.

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