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Lord Dear: The same-sex marriage bill could be defeated by peers

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  1. … and presumably … every one of the 40 unlelected bishops sitting in the House of Lords will vote it down? Democracy …? Ha!

    1. Robert in S. Kensington 27 Mar 2013, 4:36pm

      26 unelected bishops.

      1. The Bishops won’t all vote it down. Many Bishops are pro equal marriage and have made this clear in statements to the press or in their online blogs. Views in the church are very mixed and you shouldn’t make assumptions.

  2. Go ahead and reject it. I dare you. With the opposition clamoring for Lords reform, it’s your funeral.

    1. Robert in S. Kensington 27 Mar 2013, 4:41pm

      Are you sure of that, Mike? I’m not even sure how the Parliament Act works in terms of the Commons already passing a bill with an overwhelming super majority. Would there need to be a significant majority more than the 400 who voted to pass it to invoke the Act? Perhaps someone could explain for those of us unfamiliar with the intricacies of Parliament.

      1. The government doesn’t need an supermajority in the Commons in order to invoke the Parliament Act: one more vote in favour than against is sufficient. The only requirement is that at least a year has elapsed between the second reading of the bill (which was on 5 Feb 2013) and the invocation of the Parliament Act. In other words, all the Lords can do is stall its progress for a year.

        1. Robert in S. Kensington 27 Mar 2013, 5:05pm

          Thanks for clarifying, Rich, much appreciated. I just learned that the speaker of the House is usually the person to invoke the Act. In this case, I think we can safely say John Bercow will do just that since he’s a very pro-gay supporter of equal marriage. From my limited research, the Act can be triggered if the bill reaches the Lords one month before the end of the current parliamentary session. i find it bizarre that they’d even dare reject it knowing that it can be overriden and equally bizarre to think that by delaying it for one year it’s going to change anything for them. Makes no sense if it’s going to pass eventually.

          1. It might be the Speaker who formally invokes the Parliament Acts, but it isn’t his decision whether to do so, is it? Also, I think it’s not technically a year they can delay it for, but until the next parliamentary session (as long as the bill was passed by the Commons at least a month before the end of the session).

          2. “i find it bizarre that they’d even dare reject it”

            If you don’t face an election you can be as bizarre as you like.

  3. Jamie Caffiera 27 Mar 2013, 3:40pm

    Bye bye to the Lords if that’s the case.

    1. Peers or Pissers?

  4. Er, Maria Miller has already heavily hinted that The Parliament Act could be invoked if their Lordships get stroppy.

    This man seems not to understand that

    1. The Parliament Act had to be used in 2000 to force through the equalization of the age of consent after the Lord’s rejected it, and it will be used again if necessary. But whatever Dear says, I don’t think the Lord’s will dare defy the overwhelming will of the Commons expressed in a free vote.

      1. Got cricket on the brain at the moment. Of course, it’s Lord’s cricket ground with an apostrophe, but the (House of) Lords without one!

  5. Mike Homfray 27 Mar 2013, 3:57pm

    Constitutionally unlikely given the majority in the Commons

    1. Robert in S. Kensington 27 Mar 2013, 4:40pm

      Are you sure of that, Mike? I’m not even sure how the Parliament Act works in terms of the Commons already passing a bill with an overwhelming super majority. Would there need to be a significant majority more than the 400 who voted to pass it to invoke the Act? Perhaps someone could explain for those of us unfamiliar with the intricacies of Parliament.

  6. They’d be taking such a massive risk if they reject this bill… Good luck to them if they do.

  7. de Villiers 27 Mar 2013, 4:02pm

    I would want the law to pass but it amazes me how people here are ready to change the rules to get what they want – that if the Parliamentary system does not get what you want then change the rules until you get it.

    This really lives up to the image of English people in Europe – always trying to change the rules to get what they want with no respect for systems. It’s a bit like the English and American approach to unregulated capitalism and banking – anyone can cheat the rules to get whatever they want.

    1. Christine Beckett 27 Mar 2013, 4:08pm

      If one seriously things rules should never be changed, then that’s a bit worrying. It shows a rigid and somewhat authoritarian mindset.

      Anyway, Parliament Act. That’s what it exists for, and it’s all part of the rules for when the unelected house forgets its proper place. :-)


      1. de Villiers 28 Mar 2013, 12:33am

        I do not say that the system should not be changed if that is a positive change for the system itself. But to change it because you do not get one outcome that you want is itself authoritarian and dangerous.

        I am not speaking of the Parliament Acts but the comments above that the upper parliamentary chamber be abolished if it does not pass the law.

    2. Total bollocks on several levels.

      The Parliament Acts have been on the books since 1911 and 1949! This is hardly indicative of some modern tendency to get your own way at any cost.

      Your idea of the “image” of English people in Europe and your views on capitalism are irrelevant.

      1. de Villiers 28 Mar 2013, 12:25am

        I was not speaking of the Parliament Acts but the idea of abolishing an entire Upper Chamber as people said above. Try not to get distracted.

      2. de Villiers 28 Mar 2013, 12:34am

        You really all are the children of Margaret Thatcher – changing the rules until you get what you want. You just do not realise it.

    3. Robert in S. Kensington 27 Mar 2013, 4:46pm

      Since you seem to be the self-appointed spokesperson for the rest of Europe regarding the UK, where is the factual evidence for your statement?

      1. de Villiers 28 Mar 2013, 12:26am

        Don’t be stupid. I cannot call a “proof” as to how the English are generally seen in Europe. It’s a silly thing for you to say.

    4. Do you live here de Villiers?

      You seem often to display a thinly veiled contempt for the English. Perhaps if you dislike us so much you should stick to France where everything is perfect and everyone so superior.

      Plenty of people want to get rid of the House of Lords because it’s an affront to democracy not because they want to “get what they want”.

      1. Robert in S. Kensington 27 Mar 2013, 6:23pm

        Well said, Joss. The French have a habit of taking to the streets to demand things when they can’t get their own way. This “Manif pour tous” demonstration on sunday is a classic example of mob rule trying to thwart an elected chamber’s decision to introduce equal marriage. If the French people were so opposed to it, there would have been millions of them converging on Paris and London too for that matter. Yet when we demand our full civil rights, we’re accused of “wanting to change the rules”.

        1. I have nothing against the French there are many things about France that I admire and many things about the UK I despise. I wouldn’t move to France and whine about the French, make sweeping generalisations about them and claim that the whole of Europe agrees with me.

          Would de Villiers be happy for France to have a House of Lords? I think not.

        2. de Villiers 28 Mar 2013, 12:32am

          Yes – the French demonstrate against the law. It does not demonstrate for the abolition of the Senat.

          People on this board have called for the abolition of a parliamentary chamber if they do not support the law.

          1. No they’ve called for the abolition of an undemocratic unelected upper chamber, that for its own ideological reasons may vote against a bill that a democratically elected group of MPs supported through a first and second reading. A bill which according to polls has a great deal of support from the electorate.

      2. de Villiers 28 Mar 2013, 12:28am

        I do live here. There are things that are better than France and things that are worse. I do not dislike the English- I have an English partner and have adopted an English son.

        But read the posts above – people have said that if your Upper Chamber rejects this law then they should be abolished. That is trying to change the rules to get what you want.

        1. You assume the only reason we want to abolish the upper chamber is because we’re arrogant English people, which is based on your ridiculous prejudices.

          Do you not imagine that people here may have other reasons to wish for Lords reform or abolishment that are separate to equal marriage? Or do you not possess sufficient imagination? I suppose the French Revolution was solely about bread and nothing else?

    5. How many forms of government has France had in the last 250 years, compared to Britain? How many times has the map of Europe been redrawn? Britain’s a model of stability, continuity, and respect for the rule of law compared to the continent.

      1. Robert in S. Kensington 27 Mar 2013, 9:13pm

        I second that when you consider we don’t even have a written constitution like most other western countries do. Pretty amazing if you ask me and something to be very proud of, faults and all.

      2. 28 Mar 2013, 12:30am

        France has now the Fifth Republic. It reached that after civil war and dictatorship, after declaring the rights of man.

        I’m not sure that the move to democracy, liberty and human rights can be compared with changing the rules of a system because you do not like the result on one particular law.

    6. “it amazes me how people here are ready to change the rules to get what they want – that if the Parliamentary system does not get what you want then change the rules until you get it”

      Are you sure you aren’t thinking of Italy?

  8. OT – Lord Dear is, at the time of writing, referred to in this article variously as

    Lord Dear
    Lord Deer
    Lord Peer

    1. Sorry, it’s been corrected now

      1. Oh dear….

  9. ““The feeling in the Lords is that although (in the Commons) the whip was officially declared not to be on there was a lot of arm twisting going on.””


    Whether it was the whip or arm twisting, it still amounts to coercion. If one is ethically unsound, then so is the other.

    And, by this criterium, are the Lords also going to reject the retroactive legislation on welfare payments, where there was also a lot of arm twising

    1. GulliverUK 27 Mar 2013, 4:58pm

      Many cowards in the Lords allowed student feeds to rise by up to 300%. I would have cut off my voting arm before I ever did that. There are really excellent peers there also, some of the older ones are horrendous individuals, but some are so wise and clever they are inspiring. The make-up and attitudes of the Lords has changed over the years – he’ll find they aren’t all homophobes any more, some of those type have died off, and there are more younger peers, and more ordinary people, some of whom earned their place. They passed the legislation to allow Civil Partnerships in the Lords without throwing a fit – that would have been a good test as to whether they will oppose the marriage bill, and they passed Civil Partnerships back in 2004, when their attitude was much less accommodating.

      I don’t care if they twist arms, use whips, or put them in a headlock, but I don’t think anything like that will now be necessary.

  10. Jock S. Trap 27 Mar 2013, 4:15pm

    To fire this down would be a serious error and show that the Lords needs to be changed and made democratically.

    Being that the Commons voted for this with an overwhelming majority the Bigoted really should look to what side of history they really want to be on.

  11. GulliverUK 27 Mar 2013, 4:45pm

    Homophobic anti-equality Lord Dear, who voted against the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007, trying desperately to drum up support for his hopeless campaign.

    Clearly never heard of the Parliament Act, which would definitely be used if necessary since the Commons voted 400 to 175 in favor of the bill — never was there a better reason to use the Parliament Act.

    He’s the very reason why people don’t really want unelected peers in a 2nd chamber, who have no accountability, and in fact we know some are criminals and have been in prison — yet retain their title and place there.

    There is no possibility that the Lords will be allowed to defeat the bill – but perhaps to be sure we should organise 500,000 gay people to descend upon the Lords and give them something to think about — save a place at the front for me ! I’m sure some of us wouldn’t mind giving up one day to make sure the point is made. We won’t be threatened by unelected peers.

    1. GulliverUK 27 Mar 2013, 4:48pm

      … I’ve really got to stop doing that ! :D

      By “gay” I mean the full and complete spectrum, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning.

    2. Robert in S. Kensington 27 Mar 2013, 6:35pm

      Gulliver, as much as I agree with you, I don’t think we could ever summon 500,000 gay people to descend on the Lords. Not even the opposition could muster 200,000 this past sunday in Trafalgar Square but a paltry 2000 or less. It’s just not in our psyche to take to the streets in such large numbers I don’t think. We’re not French are we? I think 500,000 emails and letters to the Lords would be far more effective although that would be a tall order too.

      1. GulliverUK 27 Mar 2013, 7:03pm

        I think we might. 6% LGB, poss 0.5% transgender (they can always be relied on), then there are all the straight allies. 6.5% of 62m ~ 4 million. It would only take 12.5% (1 in 8) of those to turn out.

        If we could get over 1 million at Pride, I believe, given how incredibly important this is, and how important we know it will be to the younger people, that people could be roused to give up one day, if it meant every day from then on was a little better, brighter and easier.

        The French will protest at anything. I’d prefer 500,000 people all dressed in a dark suite, with bowler hat, standing completely silently, surrounding the entire Parliamentary cabal. No shouting, no horns or whistles — just spooky silent standing there, staring ahead. Let’s freak them out.

        If we do your letters instead I’d like each one to be hand-delivered to the MPs office ! :D

  12. Robert in S. Kensington 27 Mar 2013, 4:53pm

    Well then, if what he says is true which I doubt, then bigoted opponents in both houses and their C4M/CI shills should just give up protesting then. It’s all posturing on his part and I doubt if he’s spoken to every one of them.

    The C4M/CI hate groups were claiming the majority of the British public are against it. Why then were there less than 2000 people in Trafalgar Square this past sunday?

    1. GulliverUK 27 Mar 2013, 5:05pm

      Honestly, CI are so thick and stupid. It takes 2 seconds to find the info;

      “A 2004 poll by Gallup reported that 52% agreed that ‘marriages between homosexuals’ should be recognised while 45% said they should not”

      So they’d have to go back to polls before 2004 to find a majority opposed, probably quite a way back, and frankly I don’t know if that data is now available on the Internet. All reputable polls have shown a majority, 2009 (Populus/Times Gay Marriage poll) was 61%, the same poll in 2012 was 65%, trajectory is just one way. And if you strip the polls apart and drop religion and look at the younger people I’ve seen the figure as high as 81% – I think there was one the other day in the US, young atheists even higher. They set the questions for most of those COMRES polls, leading biased questions, designed to get the answer they sought – that’s not real polling.

  13. I was under the impression that even though we have a bicameral Parliament the Commons was still supposed to have supremacy over the Lords. The Lords shouldn’t be allowed to stop a bill that was voted on overwhelmingly in favour in the commons. If the Lords won’t pass this then Maria Miller should enforce an Act of Parliament to force the bill through.

  14. Whether what he says is true or not what an appalling affront to democracy and equality he is trying to whip up.

  15. It’s outrageous that these unelected members can even think of denying TAX paying citizens equality….a complete reform needed I think.

  16. I’d say the Lords is as likely to vote this down as every other reform supporting LGBT equality, i.e. very likely. They refused to equalise the age of consent in 2000 and they almost scuppered CPs in 2004, but blinked in the end.

    And, as in 2000, the Parliament Act will be used if necessary. It won’t mark the end of the Lords, and it won’t lead to immediate Lords reform. The system will work as expected.

    But it will remind people why oligarchy has been somewhat out of fashion in the past two hundred years.

    Meantime, write to a peer! You can bet your life that’s what the antis are doing.

    1. Here’s a silly question. Which peers are we supposed to write to? Obviously there are no peers attached to some sort of constituency? Is there a list of peers who have come out against the bill, so we can lobby them? In the same vein, is there a list of peers for the bill, so we can write to them as a gesture of support? Thanks to anybody with constructive ideas.

      1. Robert in S. Kensington 27 Mar 2013, 6:27pm

        I believe StonewallUK was looking into contacing peers. You might want to contact Stonewall.

    2. Robert in S. Kensington 27 Mar 2013, 5:41pm

      It may well end up being rejected, no surprise there but I still find it odd that they’d reject it knowing it can be overriden. Cameron I would imagine was fully aware when he announced support for equal marriage but knowing the Parliament Act would remedy passage into law. An elected chamber might make them think twice the next time they even think about rejecting a bill. I think there will be growing public interest in Lords reform if they outrightly reject it. It doesn’t bode well for them if they do in the long run.

    3. Robert in S. Kensington 27 Mar 2013, 6:31pm

      C4M/CI are already champing at the bit in regard to bombarding the peers and other mischief. I suspect this is why Lord Dear is mouthing off. He has their collective ear aided and abetted I’ve no doubt by bigots and homophobes such as MPs Tim Loughton and David Burrowes given Burrowes’ recent rant to have a referendum on election day 2015.

  17. Sister Mary Clarence 27 Mar 2013, 5:40pm

    “He was described by the late broadcaster Sir Robin Day as “the best known and most respected police officer of his generation”.”

    However, things have moved on since Sir Robin died … respect for him is ebbing by the hour. Lord Deer is fast becoming Oh Dear!

  18. Charliej95 27 Mar 2013, 5:41pm

    The Stuffy Old House of Lords needs to be abolished. If Scotland Votes yes to independence in 2014, then the perfect opportunity will arise for the people of England to reform the House of Lords into an ELECTED Senate voted for by the people. Not by churches and PM’s who appoint members

    1. If Scotland vote yes/no I don’t think anything will happen. The English people are sleeping, they don’t care about the sick, the elderly, or the disabled enough to be involved in politics. If the House of Lords supported a bill to ban beer and football things might change.

  19. To an American, it’s utterly amazing that England could even have a group of unelected ‘officials’ in their government. But then we never had a ‘monarchical’ society. And Britain is supposed to be a democracy?

    1. As much as I’d like to abolish the Lords and the Monarchy I shudder at the thought of the American political system. Two parties of millionaires who hate each other so much they can’t even put their differences aside for two minutes to sort out the economy? No thank you, you can keep it.

    2. Robert in S. Kensington 27 Mar 2013, 6:04pm

      France doesn’t have an elected Senate either. Senators in Canada are not elected but appointed by the Governor General. There are other systems of government with those similarities too. We don’t even have a written constitution but rely on the common law of the land. It has served us well over the centuries, quite a remarkable thing too that we have survived so long.

    3. We didn’t use to be able to vote for our own senators, either. And we still don’t vote directly for the president. Six of one, half a dozen of the other…

    4. Sorry mate the US system seems just as hierarchical . Vide:-
      Have the right parents and social background.
      Go to the right schools / colleges/universities
      Make sure your career is politics rather than digging a road
      Helpful if your social circle /dad/ owns a newspaper
      Wait for the results

      1. The quality of the debates in the House of Lords is far superior to those in the Commons and they don’t yell at each other all the time.

  20. Those who oppose and delay in the HoL will in the next breath complain about the amount of time being “wasted” on this issue.

  21. I’m sorry, unelected-overprivileged-job-for-life-pseudo-aristocrat says what?

    1. Paula Thomas 27 Mar 2013, 7:33pm

      And a cop from the homophobic era too boot!

  22. “The feeling in the Lords is that although (in the Commons) the whip was officially declared not to be on there was a lot of arm twisting going on.”

    Yes, there was a lot of arm twisting by C4M , the churches and the Mail and Telegraph to reject the bill. There hasn’t been any evidence of arm twisting to make MPs vote for it. All parties were quite clear early on that it was going to be a free vote. What evidence does he have of this “arm twisting”.

    1. Exactly right. Nobody was coerced and the idiot Dear doesn’t understand what a free vote implies. Now if it had been whipped, his statement would have some credence.

  23. The moral I draw drom this story is …. we’d better all get writing to the Lords pdq

  24. Why should we respect ‘the System’?

    Anyway, its not a system, its a fix.

    The fact that we are still stuck with a an unelected, invisibly selected, partly hereditary& theocratic, geriatric and unrepresentative and unaccountable second chamber, that uses excuses like Lord Dear’s alleged arm twisting to seek to reject just legislation, is a shame on us all.

  25. Robert (Kettering) 27 Mar 2013, 7:46pm

    All this from an UNELECTED person! Shameful and far from democratic. The sooner the Lords are elected the better.

  26. DivusAntinous 27 Mar 2013, 7:58pm

    I hope they realise that rejecting this bill will only add to the likelihood of them being destroyed. The House of Lords should not have a say on issues like this, their concern should be laws on finance and other non ‘ethical’ issues. And that is coming from a guy who wants to vote for the Tories.

    What makes me angry about this and the marriage issue in the US, France and wherever else, is that our rights are being debated and decided upon by ghastly politicians and people who really have no idea what they’re talking about. It shouldn’t be up to anybody, it isn’t their bloody business.

  27. GulliverUK 27 Mar 2013, 9:35pm

    The Tory whip must have been using a feather duster, because it was exceptionally ineffective with so many Tories voted against equality !

    LibDems and Labour members didn’t need a whip to do the right thing. So claims there was arm-twisting just don’t stack up.

  28. Never mind! Y’all. It is still unimportant what they think. Yes, they can slow down the process of passing the Bill. Mind y’all this happened in 2000 in re: equalisation of the age of consent in the UK! The HL defeated the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 2000 so that the government was finally FORCED to pass the Bill which subsequently received Royal Assent. All in all, the equality is ineluctable and IT WILL triumph in the Realm like in other pro same-sex equal marriage countries such as Canada. It ain’t THEIR choice whether I want to get married or not! IT IS MY CHOICE!

  29. The UK has no written constitution so I wonder about the following:
    If the Lords reject the bill could the Commons not push ahead with it be discounting the unelected peers and bishops votes.
    Just a thought but I’d love to see the huffing and puffing and ruffled feathers.

    1. Yes they could. The Parliament Act allows that.

      The whole point of the upper chamber is as a brake, not a barrier. They are supposed to make sure no single Parliament shoves through totally insane sweeping laws that turn the country upside down, and they usually do it by sending things back saying “I’ve been in this game a long time sonny, and I’ll be here a long time after you’ve gone; I’ve seen a lot of laws come through, so if you want my advice…are you sure you want to do it quite like this?”. They were never really supposed to block the will of the electorate or by extension that electorate’s representative Parliament.

  30. Robert in S. Kensington 28 Mar 2013, 11:19am

    Oh Dearie me, he said the bill “could” be defeated. That to me doesn’t sound as if he’s too sure. What do they think they can possibly achieve by delaying a bill which will pass evenutally within a year? It just doesn’t make any sense. What is the point in having a House of Lords when bills can be overriden? It’s a waste of time and taxpayer money.

  31. i hope they add an amendment requiring lord dear to marry a man.

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