KEIR Starmer has been accused of “throwing another promise on the bonfire” to win power after a report that Labour’s plans for Lords reform have been heavily scaled back.

The SNP said the Labour leader was trying to shield his manifesto from Tory attacks “at the expense of democracy”.

Labour promised in 2022 to scrap the House of Lords and replace it with an elected senate as part of plans to “restore trust in politics” if it wins the general election.

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However since then the leadership has appeared to go cold on the proposal, as it has with other pledges, including borrowing to invest up to £28billion a year in green industry.

A report in The Observer said Labour was planning “only limited first-term reforms” on the Lords and social care south of the border, as well as smaller green investment plans.

The move is intended to “bombproof” Labour’s manifesto against Tory attacks.

The paper said shadow ministers had been given until Thursday to submit policy proposals for the manifesto, with an inner circle of politicians and officials then deciding what should go into the party’s first legislative programme in the first weeks of retaking power. 

As well as backing away from the £28bn pledge, the Observer said Labour was no longer planning to legislate for a National Care Service or to abolish the Lords outright, only the remaining 91 hereditary peers.

The SNP, which refuses to nominate peers to the Lords, said the U-turn was an indictment of Sir Keir’s U-turn littered leadership.

SNP deputy Westminster leader Mhairi Black said: “The Labour party has been promising significant reform of the House of Lords for the best part of a century – yet here we are in 2024 with a bloated, archaic institution rammed full of unelected cronies surpassed in size only by the Chinese National Congress.

“Nobody in Scotland will be shocked by news that Labour has dumped plans to abolish the Lords, with all the main UK parties working to keep their pals in Westminster in highly-paid jobs for life, but it is an indictment of Sir Keir Starmer’s leadership that he is willing to throw yet another key promise to voters on the bonfire in his bid for power."

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Ms Black went on: “At the expense of democracy, Labour chiefs are boasting the move will help shield the party’s manifesto from Tory attacks. Let me tell you, if you’ve penned a manifesto that even the Tories can’t attack – then you’ve written a Tory manifesto.

“It is clear the closer Starmer gets to number 10, the further he gets from his principles and promises.

“The undemocratic House of Lords is just part of a wider broken Westminster system that doesn’t share the values or priorities of the people of Scotland. 

“The SNP is the only party that will stand up for Scotland’s values at Westminster and defend Scotland’s right to choose a better future.”