Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Why we need to elect the Lords - Bryant stumbles into a Labour induced reason

Earlier today it seems that Labour MP Chris Bryant's objection to a fair, egalitarian House of Lords, based on the result of the election result left him standing there in just his underpants. Oops, that's another thing altogether.

However, here is what he said in Questions to the Deputy Prime Minister:

The thing we find most bizarre about all this is that it is a priority for the Government at this time. The coalition agreement states that they will continue to appoint peers to the House of Lords

"with the objective of creating a second chamber that is reflective of the share of the vote secured by the political parties in the last general election."

There are currently 792 unelected peers, after a year of the fastest level of appointment of new peers in the history of this country. To get to the objective set out in the agreement, the Deputy Prime Minister would have to appoint another 269. Are there another 97 Liberal Democrats to make peers in the House of Lords? Should there not be a moratorium? 

Now when the New Labour regime first got elected, with the most sizable majority of ANY Labour Government they promised to reform the Lords and get an elected element to it. In thirteen years, including a second term with the second highest majority of Labour members, the only elected element they managed to secure for the Lords was the remaining hereditary peers. 

What they did do was lead to the inflation of the size current second chamber, which of course was to bring it more into line with the votes of the people in the previous three general elections. The moratorium in appointed more peers would keep a disproportional number of Labour peers to their popularity in the last General Election.

Here is Nick Clegg's response:

Every time the hon. Gentleman asks a question, I find it more and more baffling why anyone should want to hack his phone and listen to his messages. It is quite extraordinary. The point he has just made illustrates why we need to reform the House of Lords. 

So yes for thirteen years the only Lords Reform that Labour brought about was to largely get rid of the hereditary element, down to 92. Ironically if there hadn't been by elections to replace this number with fresh blood there would be only 78 hereditaries remaining. There are 512 creations of Life Peers since 1997 who are still alive, this is more than the 465 (187 of whom are still alive) who were in the House then. 830 Peers now compared to 616 (taking the Life plus 92 Hereditaries, 26 Spiritual and 26 Law Lords as of 1997).

As both Nick said and I agree, the fact that more 'appointments would currently be need to rectify 13 years of Labour creation of peers shows just why we need to Reform the Lords and do it NOW!

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