It is no surprise that the thrust for House of Lords reform has largely come from the Labour Party. So whenever it had come to power, political discourse tended to concentrate on reform efforts. During the Labour Party reign from 1966 to 1970, the government tried to implement its election manifesto pledge to introduce laws to protect measured passed by the Commons from getting delayed or blocked in the House of Lords. It was in this context that the White Paper on House of Lords Reform was published in November 1968. It proposed key changes to the Upper House as it existed then. The proposals included
“A two-tier House; 230 voting, created Peers who would have to fulfil certain requirements (mainly regular attendance); Non voting members, able to play a full part in debates and committees; Succession to a peerage to no longer carry the right to a seat in the House; Existing Peers by succession to be non-voting members of the reformed House, or to be created life Peers to enable them to continue in active participation as voting members; The Government to have a small majority of the whole House.” 
Although this White Paper was approved by a vote of 251 to 56, it did not address all areas of reform. Moreover, its implementation met with several hurdles as members of Parliament could not agree on all its provisions and also due to the fact that the Labour government was defeated in the next elections. Feeling discontentment with the state of affairs, the Labour Party members sitting now in opposition benches called for outright abolition of House of Lords. They argued that a democratically elected second chamber should act as a counterbalance to the House of Commons, and that the House of Lords has lost its relevance in the context of modern democracy. Hence, the 1970s and 1980s were two decades of high-pitched political debate regarding the continued existence of the House of Lords. While the period immediately after the Second World War saw small but significant changes to the power and purview of the House of Lords, the period under Margaret Thatcher’s leadership saw unprecedented demands by Labour M.P.s for not just reforming the functioning of House of Lords but its outright scrapping. But due to the three successive election victories for the Conservatives, led by Mrs. Thatcher, the abolition demands remained just rhetorical.
Probably identifying that its demands are idealistic and not practical, the Labour Party toned down its stance in subsequent election manifestos. By the early 1990s, the Labour Party was back to advocating reform as opposed to abolition. Having assumed the leadership position of the Labour Party recently, Tony Blair ran a successful election campaign in 1997 under an election manifesto that said: “As an initial, self contained reform, not dependent on further reform in the future, the right of hereditary peers to sit and vote in the House of Lords will be ended by statute. This will be the first stage in a process of reform to make the House of Lords more democratic and representative. The legislative powers of the House of Lords will remain unaltered.”
And it is under the prolonged reign of the New Labour Party from 1997 till 2010 that many significant reform initiatives were mooted – many of which eventually got implemented. Indeed, reforms were at the core of the Labour Party’s 1997 campaign, which set out plans to “devolve powers, modernize election law, reform the House of Lords, incorporate the ECHR into domestic law, increase the openness of government, and provide for a more effective local government system beginning with the election of city mayors” . Following up on this campaign pledge, the Labour government did create white paper for House of Lords, devolution, and FOI. It also carried out unprecedented number of referenda to ascertain the public pulse on various issues. For instance, referenda was employed for “the consideration of devolution in Scotland and Wales and for the establishment of a mayoral system and regional assemblies” . Referenda was not employed for House of Lords reform, the notion of creating the Supreme Court and the acceptance of the Human Rights Act. Looking in retrospect, it would have led to more robust House of Lords reforms, had the Tony Blair leadership heeded to public opinion on this important and politically vexing matter as well. But despite this small failing, the Labour government under Tony Blair had to be given credit for making historical and unprecedented changes to the constitution in its decade long reign.