Campaigners hail ‘victory for voters’ as May holds off on new Lords appointments

Posted on the 15th February 2018

Electoral Reform Society respond to reports PM has shelved planned peerages

  • Statement from the Electoral Reform Society for immediate release, 15th February 2018
  • Chief Executive Darren Hughes is available for interview. For more information, contact [email protected] or 07717211630
  • Reported announcement follows poll for ERS which showed four in five Conservatives with a view say Lords is too large, while 59% oppose own leader’s plans for new peers.

Campaigners have hailed a ‘victory for voters’, after the Prime Minister reportedly dropped plans to ‘stack’ the House of Lords [1] with new peers.

The news follows a BMG poll [2] for the Electoral Reform Society which revealed the scale of opposition to the plans.

Theresa May had originally intended to appoint around a dozen Conservative peers, while Jeremy Corbyn was set to appoint three – with the appointments to be made in the coming weeks.

However, the Prime Minister appears to have shelved the plans. On Tuesday the Electoral Reform Society released BMG Research polling [see 2] which showed that 59% of Conservatives are against the new peerages, as well as 63% of Labour voters (excl. don’t knows).

Of with a view, 60% of the public oppose the mooted appointments – compared to just 9% who support them.

And nearly four in five (78%) of those with a view believe there are already too many Lords, with the figures being the same for Conservative voters – 78% believe the second chamber is too large.

Darren Hughes, Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society, said: 

This is a significant victory for voters if true. There is overwhelming opposition to any new peerages, with the House of Lords already bursting at the seams.

“Adding yet more Lords would not only cost the taxpayer a fortune, it would be an insult to voters who deserve legislators who are accountable.

“After coming under huge pressure, Theresa May appears to have done the right thing. This could be a turning point in her leadership – and opens the door for finally giving voters the revising chamber we need.

“Rather than delaying these appointments, the government must now confirm they will not be packing the unelected chamber with any more Lords. We need a moratorium on all new appointments until there are real plans for reform.

“They could start by responding to the Burns Committee [3], which came back with piecemeal plans for a smaller house at the end of last year.

“But they should be far more ambitious, and ensure that their rhetoric about sovereignty and democracy after Brexit is matched by a fully- and fairly-elected revising chamber.”

In a statement on Tuesday, the ERS said: “Both Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn should cancel these planned appointments and say enough is enough.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors

The Electoral Reform Society are calling for an elected second chamber of around 300 members, using the Single Transferable Vote form of proportional representation. Longer terms of 12-15 years and election by thirds would ensure the House of Commons always had a fresher mandate.

Polling in October showed two thirds of the public want an elected House of Lords: https://www.electoral-reform.org.uk/latest-news-and-research/media-centre/press-releases/two-thirds-now-want-elected-house-of-lords-ahead-of-key-report/

[1] See here https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/5581989/theresa-may-house-of-lords-peers-tories-labour/ and here: https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/919261/brexit-news-theresa-may-tory-lords-plans-jacob-rees-mogg-tory-peers-on-hold

[2] https://www.electoral-reform.org.uk/latest-news-and-research/media-centre/press-releases/

[3] https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/other-committees/size-of-house-committee/news-parliament-2015/size-of-house-report-published/

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