Pledges of change were also included in the manifestos of all three major parties at the last General Election.
Yet historic plans that would finally do away with the last of the hereditary peers, among other things, have run into major difficulties.
David Cameron was forced to spend much of this week attempting to appeal to his own party to back the Bill.
Many Tory MPs are uneasy about this kind of reform – some who, in part, never actually believed it would happen. Concerns include that the reforms will create another tier of professional politicians, just as public support for the profession is at a low ebb.
Reassurances from ministers that the Commons would always retain primacy even if the upper house is elected had done little to ease fears.
While those peers currently in the House of Lords are unlikely to volunteer to be turkeys voting for Christmas, some MPs feel they could be in the same position if the public starts to see elected members of both chambers as the same in terms of importance.
But underlying these fears is a feeling that the change is a concession to the LibDems, who many Tories still blame for the so-called omnishambles that was the fallout from March's Budget.
While the plans live to fight another day, the outlook appears stormy.
Labour's decision not to back the Coalition's political timetable could lead to weeks of potentially damaging debate in the autumn.
And, as Ken Clarke admitted yesterday, with no real consensus emerging over even the small details of reform, compromise will be necessary on all sides.
Earlier this year David Cameron suggested that all that was needed for House of Lords reform was for politicians to put aside party politics and work together for change.
Whether that will actually happen remains to be seen.