Back our campaign to get an elected House of Lords

Over the last few weeks our newspapers have been filled with headlines about alleged corruption in the House of Lords. The accusations of peers amending laws in exchange for cash are deeply shocking, and this case points to the urgent need to reform our Parliament and revive British democracy.

The truth is, it’s high time we drag our political system into the 21st century. For millions of people across the UK our Parliament feels remote and out of touch and nowhere more so than the House of Lords, where power still rests on privilege. Labour has failed to live up to their promise to overhaul the second chamber so that it is fully democratic. A Conservative Government wouldn’t deliver real change either, because deep down they still have too much riding on vested interests. For both of these parties transparency comes second to tradition, and they would rather defend arcane and pompous rituals than pursue accountability and reform.

The Liberal Democrats are different.

We believe no one is above the law – including the peers who legislate in this country. If they break those laws they should be stripped of their peerages and removed from the House of Lords.

We believe that you shouldn’t be able to pick and choose what taxes you pay just because you can afford a fancy accountant to help you run rings around the taxman. All members of the House of Lords should pay full British taxes instead of exploiting loopholes that get them out of paying their fair share.

And we believe if you are lucky enough to have the privilege of representing the British people you should have been chosen by them. That means all our peers should be directly elected.

The Government has had nearly 12 years to fix the House of Lords and they have failed. It’s up to us to demand that corruption is flushed out of our political system, and that influence doesn’t come with a price tag. Join our campaign to put power back where it belongs: with the people.

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This entry was posted in News, Op-eds and Parliament.
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20 Comments

  • Michael Parker 6th Feb '09 - 12:21pm

    Can you explain how you would avoid the Lords duplicating the Commons in terms of function, expertise, and behaviour?

  • David Boothroyd 6th Feb '09 - 12:25pm

    You say you want to “put power back where it belongs”. Please justify the use of the word “back” in that slogan – whenever was the House of Lords directly elected?

  • no

  • Alix Mortimer 6th Feb '09 - 12:59pm

    @David Boothroyd, you are really David Starkey and Simon Schama rolled into one and I claim my five pounds.

  • Steve Travis 6th Feb '09 - 1:07pm

    Michael Parker – The Germans manage it.

  • @Michael Parker – You let the people decide. It really is quite simple.

  • Why on earth do people continually address other contributors as “At David Boothroyd”, or “At Michael Parker”?

  • Nick

    Can I suggest one element of your campaign should be the message : “If there was an elected House of Lords, Mandelson wouldn’t get in!”

  • Alix Mortimer 6th Feb '09 - 3:00pm

    @Anon 😀

    By convention, it means “in response to” but I don’t know where that originally came from. Reinforced these days, of course, by Twitter.

  • It means “at”, not “in response to”.

  • Alix Mortimer 6th Feb '09 - 3:37pm

    Yes, but by internet social convention of indistinct origin, it means “in response to”.

  • The US manages it, because they have different electoral systems – Senators are elected for the whole state, Congressmen (and women) for their district. I suggest we do something similar here – say Devon (exc. Plymouth) has 4 MPs elected county-wide, and then has two senators elected county wide (incl. Plymouth), at different times and possibly by IRV.

  • Alix @ 3.37pm

    I suspect that’s how it was originally used, and that the “indistinct origin” of your convention is that some people who didn’t know what the @ symbol meant got it wrong, and others copied them.

  • Alix Mortimer 6th Feb '09 - 4:20pm

    Aha! Very probably…

  • one of the things i think Nick Clegg could really learn from Vince is to be slightly more measured in his criticisms. i agree that Labour and the Conservatives’ stances on this are unacceptable, but there’s just an issue with the way Clegg presents his criticisms of them.

    with Labour, it’s clearly a case of finding the current arrangement more convenient for them than having to fight elections in the Lords. the Conservatives likewise – i don’t think it’s true, in fact, to say that either party is particularly wedded to tradition on this issue – it’s more a matter of political expediency for both.

    the problem is, Clegg’s criticisms often come across as rather too shrill, which doesn’t actually help our credibility in the long run.

  • Jamie Sutherland 7th Mar '09 - 6:21pm

    Here is a petition I have started

    http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/elect-lords/

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