Dartford MP Gareth Johnson rebels against Lords bill
12:03 13 July 2012
Dartford MP Gareth Johnson was among the rebel Tories who scuppered plans to reform the House of Lords, warning it would create a “dumping ground” for failed party candidates.
Speaking in Parliament, the relatively-new MP said the Bill was “fundamentally flawed” as the Lords would operate in a party political manner rather than acting as a check and balance to Parliament.
He also questioned the 15 year term served by members, saying: “Fifteen year terms fly in the face of democracy. Even Robert Mugabe has not tried a term of office for that length of time. Fifteen years without any possibility of facing the electorate gives a mandate to that senator without any kind of accountability.”
Deciding to defy the party line, Mr Johnson said: “I feel bitterly disappointed that I shall be voting against my party - sick to the pit of my stomach, in fact - but I shall leave this Chamber with my head held high, able to look myself in the mirror.”
Gravesham MP Adam Holloway also rejected the proposals.
The coalition’s plans involve introducing an 80 per cent elected House of Lords and almost halving the number of members.