Wednesday, 2 September 2015

House of Lords - Respectability

During the Coalition government the Liberal Democrats proposed that the House of Lords should be reformed. Our reforms were stopped by the Conservatives. Most democracies have a revising chamber to prevent excesses from the principle chamber. The USA have the Senate and House of Representatives, we have the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

In Britain we now have a bloated House of Lords, increasingly stuffed with Conservative party donors and former Ministers. The Lords is now the second biggest legislative body in the world after the National Peoples Congress of China. It is not democratic in any sense of the word.

All 11 Liberal Democrats appointed last week to the House of Lords have committed to work for its reform and its replacement with a creditable alternative. I would like to see the Lords reduced to no more than 500 members with 80% of them being elected by the same system that we elect members of our national Parliaments, proportional representation. It could include leaders of several religions, not just the Church of England. It could also have a number of experts for fixed terms only not for life. How can it be right that Ministers form the 1950's, 60's and 70's still sit in the House of Lords with an ability to influence our current legislation.

If the Conservatives had listened to the Lib Dems we could now have a House of Lords with credibility and respect instead of a House of Lords with very little credibility.