An Elected House of Lords

House of Lords Reform
Reforming the House of Lords
Why the Electoral Reform Society is campaigning to reform the House of Lords

An Elected House of Lords

It is vital that any reform of the House of Lords builds on what works and tackles what doesn't.

Representation

The upper chamber fails to reflect the diversity of the society it supposedly represents. For the Lords to continue as an effective sense-check to parliament it must move with the times and include amongst its members people from a diversity of backgrounds and opinion. An elected house would mean no more cash-for-peerages and would help to open up the house to a more diverse membership.

Effective scrutiny

The Lords’ ability to conduct effective scrutiny of Government legislation must be preserved and enhanced by the reform. An upper house elected via the Single Transferable Vote would weaken party control over who gets seats in the Lords.

Independence

Reform of the house would maintain and strengthen the independence of thought and action in the Lords. Not only would it weaken party control but it would also provide a level playing field for Independent candidates to get elected.

The Electoral Reform Society supports the following:

  • A 300 strong elected second chamber using the Single Transferable Vote form of proportional representation. This would mean it was both proportional and each member was individually elected.
  • Elections by thirds to ensure the House of Commons always had a fresher democratic mandate.
  • A 15 year term would mean members wouldn’t be constantly thinking of re-election.
  • Members of the second chamber should be banned from standing for the House of Commons for a period of 4 years, to stop it becoming a waiting room for the Commons.
  • Codifying existing conventions to ensure it would be technically and legally impossible for a new second chamber to bring government to a halt with American style gridlock.
  • There should be no reserved seats for Bishops of the Church of England, or indeed for any faith community leaders.
  • Positive measures to ensure diversity of party candidates beyond the 'usual suspects'.

For full details, read our report Direct elections for a reformed second chamber.