Home > House of Lords, UK Constitution > Quick Note: Lords Reform

Quick Note: Lords Reform

Over on Lords of the Blog, an excellent website in which Members of the House of Lords communicate with the public, the eminent Lord Norton of Louth (who himself has his own blog) has given more detail about the new coalition government’s plans for reforming the House of Lords.  I will repost his entry here:

To read the media, it is clear that the coalition agreement as it affects the House of Lords has lost something in translation.  The agreed document proposes a committee to propose draft motions (on Lords reform) by December of this year.  It goes on “It is likely that this bill will advocate single long terms of office.  It is also likely there will be a grandfathering system for current Peers.  In the interim, Lords appointments will be made with the objective of creating a second chamber reflective of the share of the vote secured by the political parties in the last general election.”

A grandfathering system refers to a situation where it is  planned to change a contract but those on an existing contract continue under the terms of the existing contract.  In this context, existing peers will continue as members of the House.

Some media have been suggesting there will be a sudden mass influx of new peers.  This does not necessarily follow.  The coalition (Con + Lib Dem) significantly outnumbers Labour peers and the ‘interim’ may not necessarily be a short one.  Downing Street has been downplaying the stories of a large number of new peers being created immediately and has indicated that Lords reform is not a priority relative to the other issues the Government has to address.

The important point for the Lords is that we continue to fulfil our tasks effectively.  We need to be ready to deal with any measures that seek to move towards an elected House and to make the case, cogently and consistently, for an appointed House.  We also need to make progress on proposals designed to reduce the size of the House.  There are steps we can take to enable peers who wish to do so to take permanent leave of absence.  That should be the more immediate focus.

To me at least, these are reassuring words.

I will endeavour to post further on the House of Lords at some point in the future.

  1. Liz
    June 1, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    That is quite good.

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