In reply to a question from his shadow in the Commons yesterday (Business of the House, col. 484), Sir George Young, the Leader of the House, said about the Lords Reform Bill, that "it was clear from the vote on Second Reading that a huge majority of the House want to get on with it, with majorities within each of the three major parties voting for reform. She said that we could trust the Labour party, but I have to say that the Labour party was willing the end but not willing the means. Saying before the programme motion was even tabled that Labour Members would vote against it shows a lack of commitment to getting the Bill on to the statute book. It was equally clear on Tuesday that there was no consensus on the timetable for the Bill, which is why we did not make progress with the programme motion. What we want to do—I say this in response to what the hon. Lady has just said—is to reflect and to allow time for meaningful discussion, including with the Opposition and with other hon. Members, to build a consensus on the best way forward." [My italics]
This statement appears to put to bed the rumours in the Guardian and the Independent that David Cameron had cooked up a deal with Nick Clegg whereby a replacement neutered Bill, which did no more than eliminate the hereditary peers, would be introduced. This sort of stitch-up would have caused mass resignations from the Liberal Democrat party with the sole benefit of producing apparent unity within the parliamentary Conservative party.
The fact that both newspapers presented their own take on what is essentially the same story suggests that the proposition originated in Westminster. One trusts that it was merely a scheme dreamt up by a Conservative Special Advisor and was quickly slapped down.