hereditary by-elections

Dropping plans to end hereditary peer by-elections ‘astonishing,’ say campaigners

9th December 2016
9 Dec 2016
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house of lords
lords reform
hereditary by-elections
hereditary Peers

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Statement from Electoral Reform Society, for immediate release, 9th Dec. 2016 

For more information, quotes or comment, contact Josiah Mortimer, ERS Communications Officer, on 07717211630, josiah.mortimer@electoral-reform.org.uk


Commenting on the House of Lords dropping a Bill to end hereditary peer by-elections today, Will Brett, Head of Campaigns at the Electoral Reform Society, said:

“It’s astonishing that in the 21st century, a handful of hereditary Lords still gets to decide who sits in our legislature. This was the most modest of Bills, proposed by Peers themselves to end an absurd anachronism. The fact it has been dropped borders on the comical.

“Some of these by-elections have had an electorate of three or less. It’s an embarrassment to our politics, and the sooner this practice is scrapped the better. Instead, let’s have proper elections that involve the whole public, based on a fair voting system.

“We hope the government now come forward with more substantial reforms to ensure that this long era of hereditary and unelected law-making draws to a close.”

ENDS

For more information, quotes or comment, contact Josiah Mortimer, ERS Communications Officer, on 07717211630, josiah.mortimer@electoral-reform.org.uk

Notes

[1] The House of Lords Act 1999 (Amendment) Bill 2016-17 was dropped by Peers at Committee Stage, midday today, following the government refusing to support it: http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2016-17/houseoflordsact1999amendment.html

[2] Since the House of Lords Act 1999, the House of Lords ‘elected’ 90 hereditary peers to sit in the House. When one of these hereditary peers dies, a by-election is held. Fewer than 200 people in the whole of the UK are able to vote in or fill those vacancies - those on the ‘Register of Hereditary Peers’. More info here: https://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/offices/lords/house-of-lords-external-communications/by-elections/