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Reform the Lords, don't elect it

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    Anybody had a chance to read the Joint Committee's Report on the Draft House of Lords Reform Bill?

    The Committee announced it supported the House having elections, but bear in mind it was limited in its terms of reference to only considering a House 80% or 100% elected: it was not permitted to draw any other conclusion.

    It also approved the following points:
    • The reformed House should continue to perform the work of the present House;
    • An elected House would certainly use the Lords' present powers to the fullest, and come into frequent disagreements with the Commons;
    • It doesn't agree that such clashes will enhance Parliament's overall role in relation to the Executive;
    • Enhancement could only come through a review of the Conventions governing the relationship between the Houses;
    • As such, Clause 2 of the Draft Bill (about the conventions of the House) is unworkable, even laughable and naive, and threatens to involve the courts in Parliament's business;
    • That Commons' supremacy currently rests not on the existence of the Parliament Acts but on the fact it is the sole elected chamber of Parliament;
    • That the Commons would still have primacy through the Parliament Acts, but the logical basis on which the Parliament Acts exist would be removed;
    • That statutory provision to entrench Commons primacy will only strengthen the Executive;
    • The Committee supports 80% elected (again, it's forbidden to consider anything less, and even this was not consensual);
    • But the Committee did ask the Government to consider an indirectly-elected House as an alternative to direct elections;
    • Supports PR, but opposes the particular system proposed by the Government;
    • The Committee believed that single, 15-year non-renewable terms would preserve the independence of the members of the Upper House, a third every 5 years, with elections to both Houses taking place simulataneously;
    • But notes that having single, non-renewable terms destroys the argument against the present appointment system regarding accountability;
    • Disagrees with the Goverment and insists that appointed members (the 20%) should have the right to be part-time;
    • That appointed Ministers in the House should have the right to sit, but not to vote, in the House;
    • That the Government should instigate a referendum to authorise such huge changes to the Constitution.

    While you're at it, read the Alternative Report by a minority of the Joint Committee's members.

    It found:
    • That the Draft Bill and the main Committee Report totally fail to resolve the problem of an elected, assertive upper House challenging the Commons;
    • That Clause 2 (which the main Committee also disagreed with) reflects the inherent problem with the idea of elected the Lords, that such a notion is inherently contradictory with the idea of core accountability;
    • That the debate is backward: that first, how best an Upper House can serve the British people should be answered, and THEN the method of appointment should be devised, not (as at present), the method devised and then expect the House to carry on as before;
    • That the main Committee was forced to omit, by time and its terms of reference, a full consideration of the dangerous impact of two elected chambers;
    • That the role of the Upper House should be considered in its context in the entire Constitution, not in isolation as the Government proposes;
    • That the costs of the change will be enormous and the Government has appeared disingenuous by not disclosing expected costs of the reform;
    • That it agrees with the main Committee in calling for a referendum;
    • And that it believes a full Constitutional Convention should be held to agree its functions within the Constitution.

    A lot of stuff there I grant you, but very interesting

    I broadly agree with the Alternative Report: Clause 2 is naive and wishful thinking and demonstrates how perilous the idea of electing the House of Lords is. The Lords needs reform, absolutely, but election is the worst possible choice, as it will undermine the clear line of accountability that ministers currently have through the House of Commons.

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    Reform the Lords, elect it, audit, and gut it.
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    (Original post by prog2djent)
    Reform the Lords, elect it, audit, and gut it.
    Can you respond the the reports to explain why it should be elected in the face of their findings?
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    I'm staggered, does this mean everyone else has nothing to comment on?
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    Elect it, make it near on par with the Commons. We are one of the only Western nations where our second house is severely lacking.
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    I agree fully with the Coalition's plans. The House of Lords is currently outdated, undemocratic and in desperate need of reform.
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    Nick Clegg's Bill does not go far enough in my view, I want a 100% Elected Lords and the Bishops kicked out.
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    Am I the only one who would leave it as it is?
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    Only if they're not elected by the House of Commons, there needs to be something to regulate them
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    I'm broadly against it being elected, as unfashionable as that may be, for the simple reason that I don't want it to rival the Commons with its electoral mandate the way the Senate does in the US.

    If it were elected at the same time and for the same terms as the Commons, then I'd be all for it. At the moment, much as it is undemocratic, it doesn't rival the Commons in any way and so I don't think it's something to worry about (except that bishops shouldn't be there, this is a secular state). It does though in my view have the potential to rival the Commons if elected, and as I've said if elections weren't at the same time you'd get the sort of gridlock that grips Congress, with the House and Senate having majorities from different parties. That outcome, where little legislation can be achieved, would be worse than a merely amending house being unelected.
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    (Original post by meenu89)
    Am I the only one who would leave it as it is?

    (Original post by Morgsie)
    Nick Clegg's Bill does not go far enough in my view, I want a 100% Elected Lords and the Bishops kicked out.
    What if there was a labour majority in the Lords and a tory majority in the Commons? Would that be good for the country?
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    (Original post by Clumsy_Chemist)

    What if there was a labour majority in the Lords and a tory majority in the Commons? Would that be good for the country?
    The Commons is supreme, Parliament Acts.

    If the Elected did challenge then a Conciliation Committee will be formed, the US and the EU has this
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    (Original post by Morgsie)
    The Commons is supreme, Parliament Acts.

    If the Elected did challenge then a Conciliation Committee will be formed, the US and the EU has this
    I appreciate that the Parliament acts exist as an option but if they had to be used constantly for a few years, so little would get done. There should be more frequent elections to update the composition of the Commons, not elections to another house which will come into combat with the older mandate of the Commons. Look at America with Obama's 2008 mandate vs the House Republicans' 2010 mandate. Absolute nightmare! I don't like the Republicans one bit but they deserved to come to power in 2010, not receive half the power and halt the President's program for two years while waiting for new elections.
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    Oh lets just have a military junta and be done with it...

    At least the parades would be good...
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    (Original post by Clumsy_Chemist)

    What if there was a labour majority in the Lords and a tory majority in the Commons? Would that be good for the country?
    If its elected through PR then that situation will be incredibly unlikely.
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    Yeah, let's elect the Lords so we can have two chambers of self-serving egoists instead of just one.

    I cannot see how filling another hall with career politicians - while getting rid of people who are experts in areas like law and defence - will in any way make this country better.
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    If the Lords were elected, then how would they be any different to the Commons?
    It is the Commons that is in greater need of reform.
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    (Original post by Birchington)
    I agree fully with the Coalition's plans. The House of Lords is currently outdated, undemocratic and in desperate need of reform.
    That's big coming from them. The electoral system they use is not really democratic. If they turn the Lords into an elected chamber, that uses PR, then may be they can argue that they are more "democratic" than the Commons?
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    I don't want them to be elected, because then we just have to Houses of Commons, and I don't see the need for a second one when it is unlikely it would produce a different opinion to the first one. Rather than elected the House of Lords, if an unelected second chamber bothers you so much, I'd rather we just dissolved it and followed a unicameral system. As it is, I don't think the fact is unelected is a problem. Following the 1911 and 1949 Parliament Acts, the Lords has absolutely no supremacy at all, and at best delays things enough for the media to maybe give them a run-through again. Because of this, the fact it is unelected doesn't matter, because the Commons can ignore it every single time, should it so wish. My problem with the House of Lords is that it doesn't have the expertise it is supposed to have. Instead, Lordships are bribes for backbench MPs when the Prime Minister wants to parachute someone into their safe seat. The House of Lords needs to have the peers appointed by an independent body aiming to achieve a range of varied expertise.
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    I guess we are going to be following America if this bill goes through. It was fast food restaurants, then gangster rap, then following them into the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and now we will have to elect our House of Lords. When will it ever stop?

    Firstly, it is GOOD to have rich people in the House of Lords because as seen from the Welfare Reform Bill and the LAPSO Bill, they are generally in favour of the poorest and neediest of society as having so much money makes each and every one of them feel guilty and so they vote against bills like that in order for their reputation not to be tarnished.

    Secondly, members of the House of Commons are not held accountable simply because they have been "ELECTED" by the people and as such, above scrutiny. This means that no matter how many protests are organised, unpopular legislation like the Tuition cuts and benefits and NHS and the continued military operations abroad as well as an inability to kickstart the economy would be passed even though it is not in the best interests of the country as well as it not being on their manifesto.

    Thirdly, it is an archaic but good system by which the greatest minds of the country, apart from a few bad 'un, gather to discuss the law and are not afraid to vote AGAINST their own party which got them the peerage.

    Anyone else have any thoughts on this??????


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