second chamber

Is this the end of democracy for the Lords?

3rd August 2012
3 Aug 2012
Tags: 
lords reform
house of lords
second chamber

Share

Contact Tel: 
020 7202 8601

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”

Katie argues

“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.

Katie continues

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.

Katie concludes

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.”

ENDS

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.

Pick up the phone, and end 100 years of unfinished business

27th June 2012
27 Jun 2012
Tags: 
lords reform
second chamber
house of lords

Share

Contact Tel: 
020 7202 8601

Pick up the phone, and end 100 years of unfinished business

The Electoral Reform Society has welcomed the historic publication of the Lords Reform bill, and has called on Labour and Liberal Democrats to act responsibly and prevent a fatal impasse over the timetable.

Katie Ghose, Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society commented:

For the first time in history we have a government pressing ahead armed with a clear mandate to deliver on Lords Reform.

Government and opposition now need to act responsibly, as any bun fight over the timetable could now prove fatal. The Labour Party have offered what looks like an olive branch, the onus is now on the Liberal Democrats to work out how to use it.

If Miliband and Clegg could just pick up the phone we could wrap up 100 years of unfinished business.”

The Lords Reform Bill in brief

  • The final House will be 462 members (360 elected, 90 appointed).
  • Elections to be held at same time as General Election.
  • The transition will take place over three elections.

The Electoral Reform Society welcomes the fact that the bill makes provisions for

  • Ensuring diversity: Appointments Commission criteria for selection confirms ‘the desirability of the appointed members collectively reflecting the diversity of the population of the United Kingdom and having a range of experience and expertise’.
  • Safeguarding accountability. The bill includes arrangements for disqualification, expulsion, suspension and resignation and ensures Lords can’t stand as MPs for 4 years after their term in the Lords finished.
  • Sensible remuneration arrangements. The salary for peers is not to be above an MPs and elected Lords will be ordinary residents for tax purposes so will no longer receive their pay tax free.

ENDS

For more information contact the media office on mediaoffice@electoral-reform.org.uk or call 020 7202 8601.

Notes to Editors

  1. The Electoral Reform Society is an independent campaigning organisation working to champion the rights of voters and improve UK democracy.
  2. Find out more about our work at http://www.electoral-reform.org.uk
  3. House of Lords Reform Bill: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/cbill/2012-2013/0052/1305...
  4. Today’s YouGov poll on House of Lords Reform: http://cdn.yougov.com/cumulus_uploads/document/s9zuj152zl/YG-Archives-Yo...

Democrats need to show resolve on Lords Reform

17th May 2011
17 May 2011
Tags: 
reform
democracy
second chamber
lords reform
house of lords
constitutional reform
elected lords

Share

Contact Tel: 
07968791684

Democrats need to show resolve on Lords Reform

Responding to the government’s announcement on House of Lords Reform Katie Ghose, Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society said:

We welcome this government’s first steps on reforming the Upper House, but we have been here before. Lords Reform will remain unfinished business until real determination exists to see it through.

“The last decade of debate has shown cross-party consensus is possible. Certainly all three main parties went into the last general election with manifesto pledges to reform the upper house. Now all democrats must be prepared to show their resolve.

“We can break the deadlock, but it will require concerted action from all parties to bring this Medieval Chamber up to date.”

ENDS