Monday, 6 Dec 2021

House of Lords abolishment calls grow as peers suggested ‘sweetener’ to ease sacking

House of Lords: Reform expert advises against a third house

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Chief Executive of Electoral Reform Society, Darren Hughes, spoke to Express.co.uk about the House of Lords and the renewed public anger against the chamber. Mr Hughes is campaigning to replace the House with an elected system, stating the issue will become “an urgent matter” as Conservative Party sleaze continues to lead public debate. Mr Hughes understood many peers would wish to fight to keep the “status quo” and remarked tradition “needed to start somewhere” before suggesting a sweetener that could be considered to ease the loss of the Lords if they are kicked out.

Speaking to Express.co.uk, Mr Hughes was asked whether a third elected chamber could be introduced to resolve the issues of the House of Lords.

He answered: “I think there’s enough research and evidence that’s been done that supports abolishment and replacement with a new second chamber.

“Rather than trying to do another sort of fix on the fly that to suit the personalities of the day.

“One matter that might be considered would be when people retire, can they continue to use their title if that’s an important thing for them.

“Sometimes people like to have a connection with their title and in some democracies, this is very common.

“I mean, we still talk about President Clinton, President Bush, President Obama…

“Some democracies have a tradition of honouring the postholder by saying even though you’ve stepped down from that post, this is [your] title.

“So some of these things could be considered, I’m certainly not advocating it, but it could be considered if that sweetens the departure somewhat to opening up the windows, letting in the fresh air and making a democratic chamber rather than what we’ve got.

Pete Wishart says House of Lords is ‘corrupt circus’

“So I think I’d rather do that than placate people who always resist change by having a third chamber because who knows where that all ends up.”

The Electoral Reform Society says more than half of the peers in the House of Lords come from London and the South of England.

They argue this makeup does not best represent the whole country and call for the chamber to be replaced with an elected one.

Mr Hughes remarked Lords did not have to be worried as if they were good enough then they would have no issue getting into the elected chamber.

He also argued the structure in the Lords was down to the UK’s First Past the Post system where power is concentrated in the hands of a small minority who claim they represent the country.

He explained MPs elected this way wish to consolidate power by putting allies in key positions.

A Sunday Times report claims seats in the House of Lords were being offered to wealthy donors of the Conservative Party.

The report claims rich donors “appear to be guaranteed a peerage if they take on the temporary role as the party treasurer and increase their own donations beyond £3million”.

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It found 22 of the Tories’ biggest financial supporters have been offered seats since 2010.

SNP spokesperson Pete Wishart wrote a letter to the Metropolitan Police demanding they investigate the report.

Mr Wishart also slammed Labour for “putting people in that circus” and giving legitimacy to the House of Lords.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer appeared to backtrack on his commitment to abolish the House of Lords when he told Andrew Marr he was only considering changes.

When pressed if his opinion had changed, Sir Keir simply said a review led by Gordon Brown was underway and he would look at its findings.

Mr Hughes told Express.co.uk Labour could capitalise on the public’s anger against the House of Lords and finish the job of Tony Blair.

He urged Labour to “be bold” and introduce a plan for how they would create the new elected second chamber.

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