London: Britain has abandoned plans to overhaul the 700-year-old House of Lords, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said on Monday, signaling the widening of a rift between the ruling coalition.
"The Conservative Party is not honouring the commitment to Lords reform and, as a result, part of our contract has now been broken," Clegg said.
In a tit-for-tat response the Liberal Democrats leader Clegg said his party would not support Conservative party`s proposals to change parliamentary constituencies, after it became clear that plans to reform the House of Lords had gone into cold storage.
Reforming the upper house was part of the coalition agreement, but was seen as being mainly driven by the Liberal Democrats.
It faced opposition from 91 Conservative MPs in the House of Commons when the bill came up for voting in June.
Admitting that the reform bill had been kicked into the long grass, Clegg today said the coalition agreement had been broken by the Conservative party, and thus his party now could not support the Conservative-backed plan to change parliamentary constituencies to reduce the number of MPs in the House of Commons.
"Clearly I cannot permit a situation where Conservative rebels can pick and choose the parts of the contract they like, while Liberal Democrat MPs are bound to the entire agreement," he added.
Insisting that he remained committed to keep the coalition going, Clegg said it was a "reciprocal arrangement" and could only work if it was based on "mutual respect".
"I have told the prime minister that when, in due course, parliament votes on boundary changes for the 2015 election I will be instructing my party to oppose them," Clegg said.