House of Lords

20 Feb 2017

Lords reform shouldn’t be a threat – it’s a core part of ‘taking back control’

Lords have begun debating the Article 50 Bill . With 191 speakers lined up and plenty of amendments tabled, it’s a fascinating moment for democracy and Britain’s constitution. What we’re witnessing is this: legislation that resulted from a form of direct democracy (a referendum) – and which itself followed a battle over whether Parliament should get a vote on it at all – is now being debated (and […]
14 Feb 2017

The inquiry on cutting the Lords risks looking like a stitch up

Back in December, the House of Lords voted unanimously to back the statement "that this House believes that its size should be reduced, and methods should be explored by which this could be achieved". It was a positive move, even if the rationale seemed slightly worrying – namely, staving off further and more substantial reform (see my blog for more on that). On Tuesday we submitted our evidence […]
7 Feb 2017

How to shrink the Lords: have your say today

A double-decker Lords: on the cards if it continues to grow? (Pic: ERS) If you think the House of Lords is in dire need of a shakeup, it’s time to tell Peers what you think. An inquiry by the Lord Speaker's committee is looking at how to shrink our bloated upper chamber. This week the Daily Mirror launched a push for readers and members of the public to speak their minds on cutting the House of […]
7 Dec 2016

Cutting numbers can’t be the end of the road for Lords reform

It’s a sad but true fact that, in general, it’s not good news that brings the need for Lords reform to the fore in British politics. But on Monday, a packed chamber of Peers gathered to discuss the need to cut the size of the upper house. And while few would have followed the whole debate , it was by all measures a lively discussion, with nearly 60 Peers putting their names down to speak. Because […]
7 Nov 2016

1,000 new Peers? No thanks

“If the Lords was obstructive we would just have to create 1,000 peers.” So said Jacob Rees-Mogg MP on Thursday , following the High Court’s ruling that MPs will have a vote on the triggering of Article 50 – the process for withdrawing from the EU. It’s a terrifying thought. But it’s an attitude that we’ve heard too often over the years – that is, If the House of Lords does too much scrutiny, the […]
17 Aug 2016

The House of Lords needs more than tinkering

Lords reform is back on the agenda. And given the frequency of scandals we see in the upper chamber, that’s no surprise. A couple of weeks ago, we revealed that David Cameron’s 189 appointments to the Lords have cost the taxpayer over £13m over the past six years, and his farewell gift of 16 Peers will set us back nearly half a million pounds per year. So it was good to see the Labour party […]
8 Aug 2016

David Cameron’s Farewell Gift

Now that David Cameron has moved out of Number 10, the staggering bill he has left behind is starting to become apparent. Since 2010, he has appointed 205 new life peers to the House of Lords – unelected legislators who can change the very laws we all live under, yet remain entirely unaccountable to the British public. The final 16 who joined the second chamber on the former Prime Minister’s […]
23 Feb 2016

Obvious Route for Australian Senate Reform Ignored

Interest in the Australian political system has been building over the last couple of weeks over a proposal to make some notable reforms to the electoral system for the Senate. Each of Australia’s six States elects 12 senators, regardless of population, and there are two senators for each of the two ‘autonomous territories’ (the Northern Territory and Canberra). Normally half of the Senators are […]
12 Feb 2016

More Lords, fewer MPs?...

Since 2010, the Prime Minister has appointed rather a lot of Peers. 244, to be precise. That’s a lot of new politicians. So it was strange to hear the news on Friday that the government are going ahead with cutting the number of MPs from 650 to 600. The government is ignoring the advice of the Commons Political and Constitutional Committee, published last March. Why? Because they want to ‘cut the […]
4 Dec 2015

It's time 16 and 17 year olds got the vote

Last month saw a big victory for campaigners for a fairer franchise: the House of Lords supported giving 16 and 17-year-olds a vote in the EU referendum. Votes at 16 is now in the Bill. But this Tuesday, MPs will decide whether to keep it in there or remove that right. We are strongly urging them not to remove the right for 16 and 17-year-olds to have a say. Why? In addition to some of the well […]