The Supersized House of Lords

16 Jun 2013

The House of Lords Reform Bill is gone. But the House of Lords remains unsustainable.

 

At the heart of this problem is the chamber’s scope for growth. The House of Lords is already the largest Second Chamber in the Western world. A chamber that had approximately 50 members in the early 1700s has grown unchecked through the power of patronage. As former Minister for

Political and Constitutional Reform Mark Harper MP observed in February last year:

 

“If we have one more change of government, it’s going to have over 1,000 members.”

 

Existing estimates however have underestimated the problem. In recent years Prime Ministers have sought to attain broad political balance within the Upper House following a general election. But that principle has never been tested by the kind of the result the next election could yield.

 

If we consider the predicted collapse in the Liberal Democrat share of the vote then we are looking at a future House of Lords being realigned around a fixed number of Liberal Democrat peers.

 

The Lords was 1400 strong before the 1999 reforms. We can reasonably expect to break that barrier within the lifetime of the next parliament.

 

 

We already have a Super-Sized Second Chamber -  but elected lawmakers are set to become an ever-dwindling minority on the national stage.

 

Labour have remained tight lipped on constitutional policy. There is an opportunity here to show some leadership. Ed Miliband needs to decide now if come 2015 he intends pack the House to the rafters or bring the curtain down.

 

Because it's clear Lords Reform will return to the national agenda. It's a simple matter of maths.
 

 

Our briefing The Super-Sized Second Chamber is available for download here

 

 

Comments

5 Responses to The Supersized House of Lords

Michael 21 Jun 2013
2:14pm

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csaba 21 Jun 2013
2:08pm

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GBCerberus 17 Jun 2013
4:54pm

Cameron holds the record for shoving more peers into the house of lords than any other British PM. If the tories want it, I most certainly don't!

Mike 16 Jun 2013
7:42pm

Or just pull the plug on this feudal anachronism. Denmark and New Zealand have functioned perfectly well without second chambers for the last 60 years.

Kevin Leonard 16 Jun 2013
8:41am

The entire political class needs taken apart and reforming. Starting with the Lords is an easy step Firstly renounce ALL LORDSHIPS MADE BY POLITICAL LEADERS for the past 30 years.

Restrict MPs from applying to be candidates until 5 years after they have left parliament.

Secondly revoke the inheritance of every single Lord still sitting.

Move to an elected assembly of 401 with a life time of 8 years split into 200/201 elected 4 years apart.

Revoke the dictatorial 5 year fixed parliament which only empowers politicians.

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