Is this the end of democracy for the Lords?
News today that the Prime Minister plans to shelve Lords reform “threatens to make Britain a laughing stock in the eyes of the rest of the democratic world”, says the Electoral Reform Society’s Katie Ghose.
At a time when London is hosting nations from all over the world for the Olympics this is not how we would want ‘the Mother of Parliaments’ to be projected”
“If you hold the power to help decide how Britain is run you should be elected by us, the British public. That’s democracy.”
After 100 years of debate all three parties had finally committed to reaching an agreement on Lords reform, backed up by evidence that around eight in ten Britons (79%) support the idea of reforming the House of Lords¹. However since the bill was announced petty in-fighting has threatened to derail the process.
We live in a country where over half our politicians are unelected. This reform is vital for Britain to hold its head up as a modern democracy but it is being sabotaged by MPs who think it will work against their own interests.
The second chamber makes laws about life in Britain, it should belong to the British public and not be a play-thing for politicians to use in their squabbling with each other.
The constant backroom deals and speculation around what might be traded for Lords reform has a whiff of corruption about it that leaves voters dazed and confused and shows how out of touch our political class has become.”
The debate around Lords reform has been intensely political with the reform being seen as a bargaining chip within the coalition. Talk has already begun on what the Conservatives may offer the Liberal Democrats in its place.
Talk of trade offs on party funding, jobs in ministerial reshuffles and boundary changes all leave the strong impression that the last group of people being considered in this debate are the citizens these politicians are meant to be serving.
If Lords reform is dropped it will be clear that this government is not interested in improving our democracy unless it suits the narrow, fleeting interests of those Ministers who signed up for change just two short years ago.”
Notes to editors
1. Ipsos MORI House of Lords reform poll Published:19 July 2012
2. For more information about the Electoral Reform Societies campaign for Lords reform.