Tag Archives: lords reform

Lords reform back on the agenda?

No doubt Lords reform will be back on the agenda after the peers have had their way with the Article 50 Bill. The Lords will at most be able to delay the legislation, but it may well return to the Commons in a shape that is displeasing to the Tory  brexiteers. In that instance, we can expect to see ministers huff and puff about the impertinence of an unelected house interfering with Government legislation. These will be the same ministers who as Tory MPs frustrated Nick Clegg’s plans to have the House of Lords elected along with so many of their colleagues.

The Lords is a revising and scrutinising chamber and it has a duty to take the Government on if they produce bad legislation and I expect to see them doing that.

The idea of electing the Lords was discussed again on Friday as Green Peer Jenny Jones’ private members’ bill came up for second reading.  It is not dissimilar to Lib Dem thinking on Lords reform and it was therefore unsurprising that our Alan Beith and Paul Scriven spoke up in favour of the Bill.

Alan had a good swipe at the Tories’ plans for a Repeal Bill in the process:

>We are now in a new situation. It would be an extraordinarily optimistic person who thought that we could get through legislation on Lords reform in a Parliament which will be overwhelmed by the vast corpus of primary and secondary legislation that will be involved in leaving the European Union. Perhaps the noble Baroness shares the tendency to political optimism which is often a characteristic of Liberal Democrats.

Her Bill has many similarities with the coalition’s proposals and with Liberal Democrat policy. It provides for what we regard as the essential ingredient of democracy while recognising that the second Chamber should be elected on a different basis from the Commons and on a different timescale. However, retaining all existing Peers except hereditaries as non-voting Members outnumbering the voting Members would produce a very strange assembly with obvious tensions. The noble Baroness may be making a massive concession before the process of negotiation has even begun in order to get turkeys to vote for Christmas.

Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | 12 Comments

Dreaming of Lords reform

Surely there is nothing better for a lifelong liberal to do in an idle moment than to fantasise about some form of constitutional reform?  Well maybe that’s just me….but please indulge me for a moment.

In the last couple of weeks we have seen Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie explore the issue of all women short lists and the dissolution honours has prompted unease at the membership and structure of the House of Lords.  Could we solve both these issues in one move?

How about we elect (gasp!) the House of Lords but do so differently from the Commons?

Currently, the UK sends 73 MEPs to Europe from 12 constituencies.  My plan would be to use these same constituencies for the Upper House except with double the number of seats – half for women and half for men – 146 members in total – a reasonable amount for a focused chamber and more than the US Senate.  

Posted in News | Also tagged | 28 Comments

Tim Farron MP writes…Liberal Democrats will work with anyone to reform the House of Lords

Yesterday, the news was released about the latest tranche of appointments to the House of Lords.  The Liberal Democrat peers will be, as they always have been, constructive and conscientious. Where we agree with the government we shall support them and where we don’t we shall work to amend and if needs be oppose.But the principle matters, Liberal Democrat peers were appointed on the pledge ‘to abolish themselves’.

The Lords has two functions. To revise and to hold the Executive to account. The first it does quite well, the second it does not at all – how can it when, by definition, it is a creature of the Executive?

The Lords is wholly undemocratic and will never have the legitimacy it needs for a healthy democracy until this is changed.

Every party in their manifestos hints at reform or abolition of the second chamber, but the Liberal Democrats are the only party committed to it. So today we recommit our party – and its new Peers – to working actively for the reform of the House of Lords and ideally its abolition in favour of an elected second chamber. We urge the other parties to join us in this effort.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 48 Comments

Lord Jim Wallace writes: New Lib Dem colleagues will campaign with me to reform House of Lords

It is desperately disappointing that to many people outside Westminster, the impression that they have of the House of Lords is that espoused by the press over the course of this summer following the reported behaviour of Lord Sewel.

In the days and weeks that have followed, we have seen many claims that Peers abuse their privileged position by not pulling their weight and not taking seriously the role that they are supposed to perform by virtue of their membership of the Lords.

This view is compounded by the fact that no member of the House of Lords has been elected by the general public to be in that position. And each and every one is secure in that membership for life. This is fundamentally wrong.

Regrettably, the good work of our Peers has been overshadowed by a few members of the Lords who, over the years, have shown disregard for their status and responsibility as public servants.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 22 Comments

Nick Clegg’s press conference: A new policy, looking ahead to an “independent, liberal” manifesto, Iraq, leadership and Smarties

Nick Clegg Q&A 19I promised you a bit more from Nick Clegg’s  monthly press conference this morning. Overnight, he had released his opening statement, but there was a surprise to come – a shiny new policy.  Now, obviously, that has to come to Conference so it’s not set in stone, but I suspect it will get a favourable hearing.

From cradle to college

Basically, all early years and school education funding, including the Pupil Premium, will be ring-fenced.

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , , and | 54 Comments

LibLink: Nick Clegg: Kick the crooks out and drag the Lords into the 21st century

Nick Clegg has written about the need to reform the House of Lords in today’s Mirror in response to the latest mini-scandal concerning Lord Hanningfield. When I read the first sentence, my blood pressure hit the roof:

What’s worse than a greedy Lord clocking in to work for just a few minutes a day to pocket hundreds of pounds from the taxpayer?

What’s worse is when the same peer – caught red handed as a result of the Mirror’s excellent investigative efforts – shrugs their shoulders and tells you: everybody’s doing it.

But there are lots of good ones who work really hard, …

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged and | 8 Comments

Opinion: The party needs a better nomination system for the Lords

Like many others, I let out a sigh of resignation when I saw that yet more appointments are being made to the unelected and unaccountable House of Lords. Nothing against the individuals receiving a peerage this week (some of whom I have known personally and all of whom I’m sure will be excellent representatives), but yet again it’s a fairly predictable mix of ex-MPs and party insiders.

Liberal Democrats are right to nominate their own choices for these positions – better off having an influence over a broken system than being excluded from it altogether – but it got me …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 15 Comments
Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarLorenzo Cherin 28th Jul - 1:48am
    Thank you to David Evershed and Nonconformistradical The areas you both mention are as yet untapped, but it is an odd situation, I really need...
  • User AvatarLorenzo Cherin 28th Jul - 1:34am
    Catherine You said it , like it should be said, in fact the only carte blanche acceptable is those few conscience matters, so yes, worth...
  • User AvatarAndrew McCaig 28th Jul - 1:15am
    I agree with Paul Barker in many ways, Vince cannot only make policy announcements every 6 months , and he has to react to events....
  • User AvatarAndrew McCaig 28th Jul - 12:58am
    Katharine, It is a worthy aim to think that conference should decide policy. However there are many practical and some moral problems with this. Firstly,...
  • User AvatarAndrew McCaig 28th Jul - 12:44am
    CJC "With a general election, we may regret the result, but we would never suggest that the newly elected MPs should not be allowed to...
  • User AvatarTorrin Wilkins 28th Jul - 12:18am
    Glenn: There is a small group who want full EU integration but in my experience it is just that, a small group. I am willing...
Wed 2nd Aug 2017
Thu 3rd Aug 2017
Mon 21st Aug 2017