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EUROPE > Britain suffers worst political turmoil to date

LONDON - Reuters

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Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron addresses a Munich Olympic Memorial event at The Guildhall in London on August 6, 2012. AFP Photo

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron addresses a Munich Olympic Memorial event at The Guildhall in London on August 6, 2012. AFP Photo

Britain’s coalition government suffered its worst crisis to date on Aug. 6 when the junior partner in the two-party administration rebelled after its ally in power, the Conservatives, killed its plans to reform the House of Lords.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader, said the coalition formed in 2010 had now entered new territory, though he said he would not bring down the government by withdrawing his party’s overall support. Stung by the humiliation of announcing the demise of a reform his party has championed for over a century, Clegg said his party would retaliate, by opposing boundary changes to Britain’s constituencies.

The development means that the House of Lords, the unelected upper chamber of the British Parliament, is likely to be reformed anytime soon despite widespread criticism that most of its members are political appointees and that the so-called hereditary peers owe their seats to an accident of birth. Although the chamber does not have the power to initiate new legislation, it scrutinizes new laws and can seriously delay them or propose serious changes to them.

August/08/2012

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