07 March 2007

The end of the Lords as we know it?

I've only just seen the news that MPs have voted in favour of a fully elected House of Lords. In a series of votes, they also voted for an 80% elected Lords, rejected other options for lower proportions of elected members and outright abolition.

The vote is advisory, but it gives momentum to reformers who want to see see an elected second chamber. It will now be up to the government to decide whether to accommodate the wishes of the Commons in a bill to reform the Lords. Peers will themselves vote on the same options next week. The fully-elected chamber was backed by 337 MPs to 224, a majority of 113. MPs rejected a move by to ensure the remaining 92 hereditary peers were not removed until the elected peers took their seats in a reformed Lords.

Under the white paper, elected peers could serve only one term, but that would be of 15 years. Elections of a third of members every five years would mean a complete change of personnel every 15 years. Some form of proportional representation would be used, with party lists for candidates, and constituencies based on the European parliament regions. A future bill could also see the name of the upper chamber changed from the House of Lords

My first reaction is to to be glad that MPs have voted this way. It'is about time we had an elected upper chamber. I know the vote isn't binding but the Government would be crazy to ignore the commons on this matter.


Anonymous said...

This is the biggest mistake the British have made since 1768/84. As soon as the US started electing their Senators, the political brakes stopped working. And once the ball starts rolling downhill, there's no stopping it.

jams o donnell said...

At present we have a mix of appointees, Anglican bishopsand the last hereditary peers. I would much prefer that those sitting in the upper house are accountable to the electorate.

beakerkin said...

Well at least the Lords did not meet the fate of the Romanov family. There is an American disdain for aristocracy and Caste systems. I would rather live in a meritocracy.

Maybe the far left will replace the Price of Wales with a cetacean.
It is time the real Whales got their respect in the UK. When was the last time you read Moby Dick?
I better quit the joke before Livingstone takes it seriously.

jams o donnell said...

Long time ago but I did read an fascinating book a while back about teh Whaler the Essex that may have inspired Melville.

I doubt Charles will get the Jonah treatment... give him a few years until him mum dies then he'll be forced to shut up and wave politely!

beakerkin said...


We will all be better for the day Charles gets to wave.

jams o donnell said...

He could be waiting for a few years yet. Elizabeth II is the 5th longest reigning British monarch (including James I's time as king of scotland). If she lives another 9 years she will pass Queen Victoria's 64 years on teh throne