Lord Ashdown and Lord Phillips in Lords reform clash

Former Liberal Democrat leader Lord Ashdown has clashed with one of his party colleagues during a debate on government plans to reform the House of Lords.

Lord Phillips of Sudbury complained that the proposal would turn Parliament's second chamber into a clone of the House of Commons, with politicians simply following the party line when it comes to voting.

In finger-jabbing exchanges, Lord Ashdown argued that most peers should be elected.

A system with "some contact with democracy" was to be welcomed and that had been Liberal and Liberal Democrat for a century, he added.

But Lord Phillips refused to back down, and the row took a more personal turn after he reminded his former party boss that he had chosen to send him to the Lords in the first place.

He said he would not "bloody well" follow the Lib Dem line on all issues and called Lord Ashdown a "headmaster", to the amusement of some in the chamber.

The government wants 80% of peers to be elected, with each serving non-renewable 15-year terms. It also proposes cutting the number of members to 300.

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