There has been a fair bit of talk of late of major constitutional reform of the House of Lords.  Now we all know why Tony Blair did what he did to the Lords, it was to remove what was a permanent Conservative majority from the Lords so he could pass laws a bit easier. 

However the current plans I find a little unsettling.  As it is at the moment the Lords is there to provide a series of balance and checks to the government, and it works.  The Lord’s knows it’s not the senior house and it knows that sovereignty lies with the House of Commons. Also the Lord’s also has another wonderful property that only exists in there; in that there are a lot of specialist’s who sit as peers such as Doctors, Lawyers, Nurses ect…

If we move to an elected House of Lords I fear all this will be lost, and we will be faced with a second version of the House of Commons.  We will be in a situation where both houses have a mandate from the people and could well argue over which chamber has the stronger mandate.  Which then moves away from government working for the good of the people while they sort out some constitutional argument. 

It will also bring in just more party politics to the legislative process, although they say that by having one fifteen year term the people can stay somewhat partisan with regards to political views, I don’t see that happening.  What I see if you have an elected second chamber is it getting used as a possible training ground for MP’s.  If that happens then we will see very strict adherence to party policy. 

I am not saying we don’t need to do something with the Lords, as we are rapidly increasing the size of it every year.  However I do think that we need to keep the process and systems that we have in place.  Instead of having peers allowed to sit in the Lords for life, why not limit the time they can sit in the Lords to 15 years, that way we keep the system that works and address the growth issue.
 





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