I may be reading too much into this but it seems to me that Labour's manifesto during the 2017 election contained a curious ommission.
The 2015 manifesto under Ed Miliband had a commitment to replacing the House of Lords with an elected second chamber:
Labour is committed to replacing the House of Lords with an elected Senate of the Nations and Regions, to represent every part of the United Kingdom, and to improve the democratic legitimacy of the second chamber.
By 2017 Labour's policy had changed to a "belief" in an elected second chamber but a commitment only to stopping hereditary peerages and reducing the size of the House of Lords:
Our fundamental belief is that the Second Chamber should be democratically elected. In the interim period, we will seek to end the hereditary principle and reduce the size of the current House of Lords as part of a wider package of constitutional reform to address the growing democratic deficit across Britain.
Was this just a strange choice of wording? Or does it represent an actual change of policy from 2015?
If there was a change of policy then that change would be highly puzzling, given that the current Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, has been an outspoken critic of the House of Lords over many years. He made the replacement of the House of Lords with an elected second chamber a policy commitment of his successful 2016 leadership campaign. In January 2017, he repeated his personal belief that there should be an elected House of Lords on Andrew Marr:
“We have a House of Lords which is dominated by a small number of people from London and the south east. I would want to see an elected second chamber that it is representative of all regions and nations of the United Kingdom. I think that’s very, very important. I think it should have an electoral mandate to go with it. It is not a new concept, it’s been in debate for a very long time. I would like us to get to that position by 2020.”
And, as recently as 27th March 2017, Corbyn tweeted:
A new hereditary peer has just been appointed to the House of Lords. It's time to end this ridiculous system.
This is all highly confusing. What I want to know is:
- Did the 2017 manifesto represent an actual change in policy from 2015?
- Why did Corbyn talk about "getting [Labour] to that position by 2020", given that an elected second chamber was Labour's stated policy in 2015?
- Given the widespread perception that Corbyn and his allies were largely given a free hand to write the 2017 manifesto by the party as a whole, why did Corbyn not put a clear commitment to an elected second chamber in that manifesto?