Britons are furious over Brexit meddling by peers in the House of Lords, a damning new poll has shown.
Confidence in the Upper House has plummeted as 76 per cent of voters feel peers are ‘out of tune with the will of the British people’. Even more said the Lords is an ‘outdated throwback’.
A Daily Mail poll, carried out by ComRes in May revealed some 58 per cent of voters believe peers would be wrong to try to thwart Brexit, with 24 per cent thinking they should do so.
Peers have inflicted 15 separate defeats on the Government’s flagship EU withdrawal bill in recent weeks, including changes designed to keep the UK in the single market – or even prevent the UK leaving.
They have also defied longstanding conventions that the Lords should reflect the manifesto commitments of the governing party.
The House of Lords has defeated the Government on a series of Brexit related votes and has in turn angered the public who largely see it as outdated
There is strong support for reform, with only 17 per cent saying the institution should be left untouched. The poll of more than 2,000 adults also found that:
- Seven in ten voters believe there should be fewer peers than the current 780
- Eight in ten said too many in the Upper House were cronies or failed politicians.
- Older voters were more hostile toward the House of Lords than the young;
- The £305 daily allowance for peers also proved highly unpopular in the poll by ComRes and campaign group We, The People.
The poll also shows that 34 per cent of Leave voters think the House of Lords should be abolished and not replaced.
Reacting to the survey, Iain Duncan Smith said voters were outraged by peers repeatedly amending key Brexit legislation.
‘The Lords have behaved appallingly in the last few weeks,’ said the former Tory leader. ‘They have completely defied the views of the elected Commons, ignored the manifesto of the governing party and set out to oppose the referendum vote expressing the will of the British people.
‘They have done this brazenly and in doing so they have been arrogant and rude. The Lords should see these findings as a warning to them, although I think it may be too late. I am appalled by their behaviour and I would like to see the promise of action in our manifesto.’
The ComRes poll revealed there is growing frustration with the House of Lords in Britain, especially over their Brexit meddling
Jacob Rees-Mogg, a leading Eurosceptic Tory MP, said: ‘These findings shows the British electorate understand the constitutional conventions better than some in Parliament, and know they have been broken by the House of Lords.
‘The Lords thought they could frustrate Brexit in the twilight, but they have been busted by the electorate, who can see exactly what they are up to. They have weakened the Lords – the Lords are quite vulnerable now.
‘There has been tolerance of the Lords because it was there and because it worked. But it is there under sufferance and there is no large advocacy body campaigning for it.
‘If it breaks conventions and ceases to work, as it has done recently, then it becomes very difficult to defend and makes it easier for the House of Commons to reform.’
Boris Johnson last night urged the Lords to back down over Brexit.
‘The House of Commons has the final legislative say and the Lords know that and must accept that,’ said the Foreign Secretary.
Asked earlier this week whether the Lords had overstepped the mark, Theresa May said: ‘Parliament as a whole gave the British people the choice of whether to stay in the EU or to leave it.
‘The people voted and I think it’s incumbent on all of us to recognise that we have a duty to put into place the result of that vote and to ensure that the UK leaves the European Union.’
In a series of votes on Brexit and Press regulation, peers ignored Tory manifesto commitments and opted to frustrate the Government, which has no Lords majority.
Jacob Rees-Mogg said the House of Lords has been ‘busted by the electorate’ as voters understand how they are playing with the Brexit timetable
Patrick Barrow of We, The People said: ‘The polling results are very clear. The British people took back sovereignty for the UK Parliament, the House of Lords seems determined to make sure it’s sent back to Europe.
‘The Other Place needs to understand, and quickly, that if they are to be a relevant part of a modern, representative democracy, it’s past time they began to represent – not their own preoccupations, but the ballot box view of the people of Britain.’
Ministers believe the Lords have overstepped the mark by voting through amendments that would tie Mrs May’s hands in her negotiations with Brussels over Brexit.
Some pro-Remain peers have also faced accusations of arrogance after vowing to block the referendum result and mocking the decision to leave.
Liberal Democrat peer Lord Roberts of Llandudno sparked fury by likening the legislation to the Nazi enabling act which handed supreme power to Adolf Hitler.
Crossbench peer Lord Bilimoria vowed to ‘stop the train wreck’ of Brexit.
Viscount Hailsham, who as Douglas Hogg was the poster boy of the expenses scandal for trying to claim taxpayers’ money to clear his moat, described the referendum result as an interim decision.
And former Labour cabinet minister Lord Adonis has vowed to sabotage Brexit.