Lords Reform – if evidence were needed…

Yesterday, Unlock Democracy published new research confirming that a majority of the public support government plans to introduce elections to the House of Lords. A poll conducted by YouGov has found that:

    69% support a half, majority or wholly elected second chamber. The most popular response was for a fully elected second chamber (33%). Just 5% support a wholly appointed second chamber (don’t know: 22%).
    45% believe members of the House of Lords should not be allowed to block reform; 32% felt they should (don’t know: 17%).
    48% supported experts being invited to participate in legislation on an ad hoc basis, rather than being given life peerages; only 20% felt they should be given life peerages (don’t know: 22%).

The poll also found overwhelming support for the public, to be able to decide what issues should be put to a referendum. 62% felt the public should have this power (don’t know: 12%).

Unlock Democracy believes that the government should include in the Lords reform legislation an option to hold a referendum if 5% of the public demand one.

Commenting on this research, Director of Unlock Democracy, Peter Facey said:

The three major parties all committed themselves to democratic reform of the House of Lords at the last general election; they cannot spin or dissemble themselves out of this commitment. And while it may not be on top of everyone’s agenda, polls have consistently shown that the public support Lords reform themselves.

The debate over whether to hold a referendum is a red herring. The question should be whether the public demand one. The onus is on the opponents of reform; if they cannot find even 5% of the public to petition for a referendum, they should not insist the the government commits itself to an expensive and needless process.

Many Lords have been threatening to derail the government’s entire legislative process in a bid to block reform. The government should call their bluff and not allow itself to be blackmailed by a self-serving elite.

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5 Comments

  • No need to fear a referendum if it’s needed to drag Tory MP’s along…

  • NewsHound | 24th April 2012 ……………………….45% believe members of the House of Lords should not be allowed to block reform………………..

    Is that your phrase? If not, such a question as, “Should the House of Lords be allowed to block reform?” is far too emotive for a balanced response.

  • On the one hand this poll does show majority support for at least half the house of Lords being elected, but it really can’t be cited as evidence that the public supports the particular scheme that’s being proposed, and that there’s therefore no need for a referendum.

    None of the options presented attracted the support of more than a third of the respondents, and an opponent of the proposals could just as well point to the fact that only 49% supported more than half the Lords being elected!

  • Malcolm Todd 24th Apr '12 - 4:20pm

    A majority (69%) of the public support a mainly or wholly elected HoL so they should have their way.
    A plurality (45% to 32%) of the public reject the current HOL’s right to block reform so they should have their way.
    A plurality (48% to 20%) reject “experts” being given life peerages so they should have their way.

    62% felt the public should “be able to decide what issues should be put to a referendum”. Did UD ask them whether they thought they should actually have a referendum on the HoL issue? If not, why not? If so — what was the result?

  • Malcolm

    You forgot to mention that a plurality (33% to 16%) of the public reject the retention of appointed peers, so …?

    Or is it only when the public agree with government policy that “they should have their way”?

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