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.

Bishops are symbols of religious privilege and discrimination. There is no place for them in a reformed House of Lords

Andrew Copson argues that Anglican Bishops should not have an automatic right to sit in Parliament. Their presence in the House of Lords undermines equality and religious diversity and unjustifiably promotes them as guardians of ethical expertise. They are a constitutional feature which only Iran has in common with Britain. Seventy one per cent of public respondents to the 2002 […]

Expertise in the House of Lords is vital and supplied by the cross benchers: there is no democratic deficit and so elections are not needed

What difference would reducing or eliminating the appointed number of members in the House of Lords have? They play a vital part in the upper House’s scrutiny function. Baroness Frances D’Souza examines the arguments in favour of keeping elections out of the House of Lords. The Government’s White Paper and draft bill has proposed an 80 per cent elected and […]

Reforming when MPs work is not about making their lives easier, but ensuring the most effective balance between constituency and Parliamentary time

With outrage over the parliamentary expenses scandal and public respect for MPs lower than ever, any discussion of MPs working less hours can be spun as yet another example of ‘work-shy’ MPs. But this is not the case argue Sarah Childs and Rosa Malley, who here examine the importance of reforming how MPs’ time is balanced between constituency and Parliamentary […]

The Draft Bill and the Report of the Royal Commission on the reform of the House of Lords

Reform of the House of Lords is badly needed. The fundamental agreements between the recommendations of the Royal Commission and the Draft Bill shows that the most radical reforms can and should be carried out now. When the report of the Royal Commission was first published, it was pushed aside because both those in favour of an elected house and […]

The House of Lords reforms are an opening gambit that will inevitably lead the UK into greater democratic reforms

We should welcome the government’s reforms to overhaul the House of Lords, writes Graham Allen MP, the elected Chair of the Select Committee on Political and Constitutional Reform, as they stand to lead us from our current unacceptable arrangements into a world-leading democratic practice. Parliament should take this opportunity to bring forward proposals for a comprehensive reform of the second chamber […]

An independent Scrutiny Commission could take over the constitutionally valuable roles that the House of Lords presently performs, and at lower cost – whether we move to create an elected second chamber; or reform the unacceptable features of the current House of Lords; or just scrap a second chamber altogether

A key responsibility of the current Lords is its scrutiny function, which might not continue in the same way with the Coalition’s draft bill for a wholly or mainly elected upper chamber. Dawn Oliver looks at how the scrutiny role would be affected by the reforms proposed in the Coalition’s draft White Paper. A Scrutiny Commission of experts would provide […]

The Salisbury convention that avoided complete Lords reforms for the last century is dead, but achieving any mandate for change that peers must accept remains very difficult

The government’s proposals to reform the House of Lords are only the latest in a long line of initiatives. Iain McLean takes an in-depth history of movements to reform the House of Lords, and finds that while over much of the 20th century, political parties fought over reform, 2010 was the first time that an elected upper house was in […]

The government’s approach to reforming the House of Lords is 80 per cent of the way there. Nick Clegg needs to take courage and to go the rest of the way to a more democratic and coherent, wholly elected Senate.

After more than a century of constitutional reform debates, replacing the indefensible House of Lords with a decent elected Senate is now within sight. The government’s draft Bill is a vast improvement on previous Westminster-elite proposals. It needs only some achievable alterations to become a wholly desirable plan for reform. The key changes needed, Patrick Dunleavy writes, are fewer Senators, […]