Richard Reeves' parting gift to the Lib Dems

Written by Total Politics has a free weekly Friday email bulletin. Follow this link to register. on 6 July 2012 in Diary
Diary
The deputy prime minister's former director of strategy knows exactly what he's doing when he warned of "consequences" if plans for an elected House of Lords are killed off by a Tory revolt

The Independent has splashed the news that a senior aide to Nick Clegg has warned that the Liberal Democrats could scupper Conservative plans for boundary changes.

Richard Reeves has said that there would be "broader consequences" for the government's programme of parliamentary reform if Tory rebels defeat a motion to cut short debate on the House of Lords Reform Bill.

"The idea that failure to deliver a government commitment on Lords reform would be consequence-free is for the birds," he says.

Now, Reeves is a very bright and calculating man.

The former head of think tank Demos knows that this parting shot allows the Liberal Democrats to look tough, without damaging coalition relations at the top of government.

Reeves is off to America with his wife and kids. But Clegg has to stay and fight the battle for Lords reform.

Now the DPM looks like he's playing hard-ball without having to utter a word.

And if it all goes wrong, it was just the words of a former aide, not the voice of the Liberal Democrats.

Separately in the interview, Reeves expresses regret over tuition fees, saying he wishes he'd fought harder against the Treasury to brand it a "capped graduation tax".

"It was stupid. I was a bloody idiot," he says.

But his parting shot on House of Lords reform is far from idiotic.

This is not a man lashing out angrily. This is a calculated move to strengthen the Lib Dem negotiating point.

Tags: Boundary changes, Demos, House of Lords reform, House of Lords Reform Bill, Nick Clegg, Richard Reeves

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