1.In 2014, we considered the Salisbury–Addison convention as part of our report on the Constitutional implications of coalition government. We observed that the convention was that “bills foreshadowed in a government’s manifesto are given a second reading in the Lords, are not subject to wrecking amendments and are passed in reasonable time.”
2.We concluded that the Salisbury–Addison convention “does not, strictly speaking, apply to measures in a coalition agreement. This is because a coalition agreement cannot be said to have a mandate from the electorate in the way that a manifesto can.” However, “if all parties in a coalition made the same or a substantially similar commitment in their manifestos, then they should be entitled to the benefit of the Salisbury–Addison convention in respect of that commitment.” We also recognised that “a practice has evolved that the House of Lords does not normally block government bills, whether they are in a manifesto or not. There is no reason why this practice should not apply when there is a coalition government.”
3.The 2017 general election resulted in a Conservative minority government, supported by a confidence and supply agreement with the Democratic Unionist Party. This raised questions about the applicability of the Salisbury–Addison convention when there is a minority government. To inform this debate, we sought the views of the Leader of the House of Lords, the Shadow Leader of the House of Lords, the Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords, the Convenor of the Crossbench Peers, and others, on the Salisbury–Addison convention. Copies of this correspondence are in the appendices to this report. We are grateful to them for their contributions.
4.We may return to this subject in the future, but we believe it is valuable to publish these submissions to aid understanding of the Salisbury–Addison convention.
1 Constitution Committee, (5th Report, Session 2013–14, HL Paper 130), para 98
3 Constitution Committee, , para 99
4 Constitution Committee, , para 100
5 House of Lords Library, Salisbury Convention in a Hung Parliament, Library Briefing, , 20 June 2017