House of Lords Reform

House of Lords Reform

In May 2011 Nick Clegg – as part of the newly elected coalition government – outlined plans for a smaller, mostly elected House of Lords. In the following months we debated the role of the Lords in a modern democracy, the politics of peerage and the necessity of elections.

The unreformed House of Lords is already the largest parliamentary chamber of any democracy

The appointment of 30 new peers to our unreformed House of Lords was announced this week. In the 2012 audit of UK democracy, Stuart Wilks-Heeg, Andrew Blick, and Stephen Crone discussed the composition and role of the upper chamber. They highlighted how the UK is almost unique among established democracies in possessing a parliamentary chamber that is mainly unelected, and set out particular concerns about the lack of accountability […]

Constitutional issues could be more satisfactorily handled outside of the Parliamentary framework

Andrew Blick argues for removing decisions about constitutional change from the immediate sphere of party politics. This may allow for House of Lords reform and other issues that have been difficult to resolve in the traditional manner. The collapse of House of Lords reform leaves issues involving the second chamber, principally its composition, unresolved. Abandonment of coalition policy in this area […]

The proposed system for an elected House of Lords lacks accountability and offers voters far less choice than had previously been envisaged

Ron Johnston explains the draft legislation for an elected Upper Chamber and suggests that parties will come to dominate, the inability to re-elect members leaves an accountability gap, and much less choice is now offered to voters than had been advocated previously by the Liberal Democrats. In the draft legislation for an elected House of Lords published in 2010 the […]

Reforming the House of Lords from the bottom up could include Citizens’ Policy Forums

Titus Alexander argues that current proposals for reforming the House of Lords will not address the fundamental unrepresentativeness and lack of trust for elected officials that is driving low voter turnout and alienation from public discourse. If parliament wants to reconnect with the public, it should bring public consultation and participation into its deliberative process. The debate about House of Lords reform […]

The Australian experience shows how an elected House of Lords may present a democratic dilemma

The experience of Australia provides important lessons in considering the Lords reform in the UK. In the first of a two article series, Robin Archer maintains that an elected upper house may obstruct the House of Commons and cannot be relied upon to act in accordance with conventions that limit its power vis-à-vis the lower chamber.   Proponents of the government’s Lords reform face a cruel […]

The Government’s recent sidelining of the House of Lords highlights the absolute irrelevance of the institution.

Rid of pomp and circumstance, and boasting a newly found political legitimacy, Bart Cammaerts argues that a reformed House of Lords would command the political attention and respect of government.   The utter irrelevance of the House of Lords, in its current form, was highlighted recently by the coalition government’s use of a rather obscure parliamentary rule, based on a […]

Podcast for ‘The End of the Peer Show?: A debate on the future of the House of Lords’ is now available

The draft House of Lords Reform Bill, published in May 2011, sets out a number of proposals aiming to reform the UK’s Upper House. These proposals – among them the reduction in number of members by more than half, making the House either 80 or 100 per cent elected, and limiting the length of term to 15 years – aim […]

The proposed reforms to the House of Lords might be ‘The End of the Peer Show’

The draft House of Lords Reform Bill, published in May 2011, sets out a number of proposals aimingto reform the UK’s Upper House. These proposals – among them the reduction in number of members by more than half,  making the House either 80 or 100 per cent elected, and limiting the length of term to 15 years – aim to […]