New Lords appointments: Ex-MPs handed jobs for life as second chamber left ‘bursting at the seams’

Posted on the 14th January 2020

  • Statement for immediate release from the Electoral Reform Society, 13th January 2020. Contact Jon Narcross – 07794728820 / [email protected] 

Campaigners have called for urgent reform to the House of Lords after new Conservative appointments leave the chamber ‘bursting at the seams’.

The ERS have today called for the government to bring forward proposals to reform the upper house and commit to halting new appointments to the second chamber.

The call comes as two new Conservative Peers, former MPs Nicky Morgan and Zac Goldsmith take their seats in the upper house.

Goldsmith takes his seat, which comes with a job for life, less than a month after his Richmond constituents voted him out of office.

The new appointments, with more expected in the coming months, take the total number of Lords to nearly 800 [1].

BBC Political Research Unit journalist Daniel Kraemer said there have been 21 new members in the last six months alone, with three resignations and two deaths [2].

Over 100,000 people have signed an ERS petition launched in December calling for abolition and replacement of the House of Lords [3].

The ERS last week wrote to Number 10 calling for clarity over government plans for the House of Lords. The Society are calling for a much smaller (circa 300 member) second chamber elected by proportional representation.

Willie Sullivan, Senior Director, Electoral Reform Society said:

“Despite talking the talk on Lords reform and addressing our crumbling constitution in their manifesto today we see the Government continue to stuff the upper house with new peers.

“Prime Ministers can’t keep packing Parliament with unelected legislators. The government must bring forward plans for a genuinely democratic revising chamber to replace this discredited private members’ club at last.

“The bloated House of Lords is rapidly becoming a home for defeated MPs rather than a serious scrutiny chamber. Today’s new appointees have literally just walked down the corridor from the Commons to take their cushy new jobs for life.

“It would be a gross hypocrisy for the government to say they care about improving democracy and then keep packing the second chamber with cronies and apparatchiks. These appointments must be the last.

“Voters are tired of the role of unelected power in politics and the public want and deserve an overhaul. The time for reform is now.”

Notes to Editors

[1] https://members.parliament.uk/members/Lords 

[2] https://twitter.com/dcakraemer/status/1216664155677175808

[3] https://www.change.org/p/boris-johnson-no-more-unelected-peers-scrap-and-replace-the-house-of-lords-now-8a773851-b785-4652-9dc5-79b07a0de8d4?recruiter=1028844552&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=share_petition&recruited_by_id=ce1382d0-20eb-11ea-8758-2ba6e1fda309

Read more posts...

Campaigners call for parties to back ‘vital’ Senedd reforms

Electoral Reform Society Cymru throws weight behind official Committee on Senedd Reform findings: “Now is the time to act to level up Welsh democracy”. Statement from the Electoral Reform Society Cymru – Thursday 10th September...

Posted 10 Sep 2020