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Report moots 80% elected Lords
A parliamentary report has recommended that a reformed House of Lords should be an upper house of 450 members serving for 15-year non-renewable terms, with 80% of members elected and 20% nominated.
A majority of the MPs and peers on the Joint Committee on Lords Reform behind the report agreed that a referendum should be held before any change to the second chamber.
The committee was split over key elements of reform - with nine of its 26 members voting against an electoral mandate for members of the upper house and eight voting against proposals for a referendum.
Prime Minister David Cameron has said he is not personally in favour of a national vote on Lords reform, as it would be expensive and proposals to overhaul the upper chamber had been included in the manifestos of all three main parties.
But he refused to rule out holding a referendum - something which many of his backbenchers are demanding and which Labour leader Ed Miliband supports.
A Bill to reform the Lords is expected to form the centrepiece of next month's Queen's Speech, setting the scene for a year of fierce wrangling over the future of Parliament, as large numbers of Conservatives have made clear they are bitterly opposed to change.
The parliamentary report was far from emphatic about the need for democratic elections to the Upper House. The committee of MPs and peers agreed by a majority of just 13-9 that a reformed second chamber "should have an electoral mandate provided that it has commensurate powers".
It acknowledged the concerns of critics that elected peers would challenge the traditional primacy of the House of Commons, concerns which the report made clear were shared by some members of the committee.
A proposal from constitutional expert Lord Norton of Louth that the Government should be told to draw up new arrangements to ensure the continuing dominance of the Commons was overruled by a margin of just 12-11.
Lord Strathclyde, the leader of the House of Lords, later told peers that they would be given a full day's debate on the report next Monday.