BBC Parliament and the Tax Credits Debate in the House of Lords

House of Lords 1

Yes, this website is the reviewing something on BBC Parliament. It was something that I never expected to do either, but having watched it I have to say it was pretty exciting. Again, some I never expected to come across either.

Now it should be made clear from the outset that there is a bit of bias on my count: if the House of Lords had passed the Tax Credits bill, I would have been one of the people who would suffer, because I would be above the new threshold for Working Tax Credit. However, following the debate in the Lords, the bill will now be delayed. One amendment voted in for an independent study to be carried out, and a second was voted to introduce a three-year plan for financial redress. Another amendment calling for a “fatal motion” to block the bill entirely failed to pass.

Because I knew I would affect me directly, I watched the BBC Parliament channel to see coverage of the debate. I haven’t really watched BBC Parliament before, or indeed any coverage from the House of Lords, but it was surprisingly enjoyable. It was certainly better than the House of Commons. The Lords came across as a lot less confrontational as the Commons. There was very little in the way of interruptive shouting that you associate with Prime Minister’s Questions. You could actually make sense of what was being said for most of the time. It was also interesting to note the lack of any commentary. The BBC coverage was purely on what was being debated.

It was also enjoyable because the little differences between the Commons and the Lords. I loved the fact that instead of voting “Aye” or “Nae”, the Lords vote for “Content” or “Not Content”. It just sounds better. There are problems of course: namely being able to only recognise two person during the debate, those being the Archbishop of York Dr. John Sentamu and Lord Lawson, and I think that it would probably be better if the Lords were elected.

However, the main thing I came away with after watching this was that I watch BBC Parliament, and actually found it interesting. The votes were exciting. It was thrilling to see politics in action. When it is something that directly affects you, it really hits home. It could be argued that the Commons could learn from the Lords in terms of decorum.