Grassroots Liberal Democrat campaign for Lords reform launched

From a news release sent out by, er…, me and as featured on page two of this week’s Liberal Democrat News:

The number of Liberal Democrat peers opposing the government’s plans for elections to the House of Lords has triggered the creation of a new campaign group by grassroots activists who back the introduction of elections.

“Liberal Democrats for Lords Reform” is campaigning for Liberal Democrat peers to stick to the party’s long-standing policy of an elected Upper House.

“We’ve already been waiting over 100 years for Lords reform to be completed. It’s absurd that in the 21st century you can get to be a member of Parliament, voting through the laws the rest of us have to follow, without ever having to win a single vote from a single member of the public – and be guaranteed a seat for life, regardless of how lazy, incompetent or eccentric you turn out”, said Mark Pack.

“We always knew there would be some political dinosaurs in the Labour and Tory parties who would hang on to the idea that it’s all a bit too soon to have democracy for both halves of Parliament, but Liberal Democrat peers should remember the clue is in the party’s name. We’re democrats and elections for the Lords is one of the party’s longest-standing policy commitments,” said Richard Davies.

The group has been formed by Rob Blackie, Richard Davis, Richard Morris and Mark Pack. It is gathering signatures on its Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/LordsReform and will be submitting a motion to the party’s autumn conference.

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7 Comments

  • A modern grassroots campaign really shouldn’t rely on a publication that only exists in a dead tree format (come to think of it, neither should a political party). And pictures of the paper version on a website don’t make up for that.

  • I am more concerned that you are badging this as a “grassroots campaign”, Mark. pretty “astroturfy” I think!

  • Grassroots Liberal Democrat Campaign? I think not!

    @Mark – Much as I respect you and your daily writings, I don’t think that you can honestly call this a “Grassroots Liberal Democrat Campaign”! Why? Because not all the grassroots activists within the Party agree with a totally elected House of Lords. Many of us are in favour of a PARTLY elected House of Lords (if we are in favour at all). This needs to be an equable and fair division of partly elected and partly non-elected. How that division is made up is yet another question – many suggestions have been put forward such as 80:20, 60:40 % etc.

    If we don’t do that, we open ourselves up to the danger of losing a great many good, honest & true Lords, Ladies & Peers. What happens to those who are already in the House of Lords? Are they to be “dumped” or made redundant? I think not.

    I, for one, will not be supporting this move, regardless of what is being called the Party’s “Official Policy”! As for 100% elected? Definitely not!

    I am a Member and, as such, do not have to follow the Party whip – I can vote as I wish on this (hypothetically), because we all know that members have not had and will not get a vote on it at all!

  • Sorry people – I have not yet mastered making only the title appear bold! 🙁

  • Patrick Smith 19th Jun '11 - 10:35am

    As a grass roots L/D `Activist’ I am in favour of a 80/20 Elected by PR new House of Senators by 2015 if that is agreed at Conference.With the prospect of a walk out of 750,000 Teachers and Public Servants over Pensions on 30/6 and the emergency measures in retrenchment on our beleagured Economy, these are the most pressing issues at present. Solutions must must be found to the public servants` unrest on pensions as the primary task of government has to remain on the home front and domestic questions of how to govern `fairly’.

    I share concern about the potential threat to any abandonmentt of the existing high number of working Peers -Rebekek`s point-from across the political divides and there are many really talented and gifted Liberal Lords (probably all of them) and Baronesses who are doing an excellent job and this has to be recognised : so I am opposed to throwing out the whole `baby and bathwater’.I also remain a L/D Constiutional Monarchist.

    There is aslo the case to be put to retain the `no axe to grind’ Bishops and Archbishop in the upper house, as I do not hanker to kick them out to touch as they also attend regularly and are known to speak on behalf of a much required moral conscience on a whole range of public issues, forthrightly.

  • Graham Lippiatt 29th Jun '11 - 2:45pm

    Lords Reform is dead, I fear. I have just come back from a meeting in Birmingham Council House at which Nick Clegg took time to answers questions from local party reps from the West Midlands. One of the issues was political reform. Nick told us it was now a low priority. It had been high when we got into office in the aftermath of the expenses scandal et al but now we are struggling with deficit reduction, inflation, cuts, health and education reform etc. it is not what the electorate expect us to be focusing on. But when, since the introduction of universal suffrage, has constitutional reform been high on the public’s agenda? Political reform is one of the few policy areas which is distinctively associated with Liberal Democrats. It is shameful not to be fighting to eliminate this unelected element from our governmental system having promised it for so long.

    By the way I love that comment from Rebekah that this is only “official policy”. She’s put it in inverted commas so that proves it’s really not important. And members don’t get a vote? What does Rebekah think conference is for?
    But Nick agrees with Rebekah now it seems. So much for his Great Reform package!

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