New peers announcement “cynically” timed to coincide with Royal wedding, say campaigners

Posted on the 18th May 2018

The Electoral Reform Society says sneaky attempt to bury news of appointments is further evidence of the need for Lords reform.

  • For immediate release, 18th May 2018.
  • Statement from the Electoral Reform Society. Spokespeople are available for interview – contact mediaoffice@electoral-reform.org.uk / 07870212425.

Campaigners have branded the timing of an expected announcement of new peers an “insult to voters” which flies in the face of growing calls for reform.

The Prime Minister was expected to announce the new appointments to the House of Lords as early as December last year [1] but has reportedly decided to do so this weekend as the nation celebrates the Royal wedding [2].

The news agenda will be dominated by the joyous occasion leaving few column inches for criticism of the appointment announcement.

New peerages will further inflate the already bloated second chamber despite cross-party calls for reform.

The Electoral Reform Society has also criticised Jeremy Corbyn for seemingly backtracking on his previous stance on the House of Lords.

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

“This has now gone beyond a joke. Time and time again the government talk about reducing the cost of politics. Yet at the same time they’re packing the upper house with former MPs and retired party hacks.

“If Mrs May was serious about reducing the cost of politics, she would halt these appointments rather than providing yet more fuel for public concern about cronyism. It is an insult to voters.

“Furthermore, the timing of the announcement appears deeply cynical. At the beginning of the year the Prime Minister lost her nerve in the face of public opposition and delayed making the announcement. Now she is expected to try and hide it behind the euphoria of a Royal wedding.

“This kind of cynical politics is precisely the reason we need an elected second chamber.

“Questions should also be asked of the Leader of the Opposition who is expected to nominate peers despite previously saying he would like to see an elected second chamber [3].

“This has been presented as a matter of principle for the Labour Party. So what has changed?”

The House of Lords is the second-largest legislative chamber in the world after China ’s National People’s Congress. It currently has 780 members, far more than can be seated in the chamber.

ENDS

Read the ERS’ latest report on the Lords, ‘The High Cost of Small Change’ here: https://www.electoral-reform.org.uk/latest-news-and-research/publications/the-high-cost-of-small-change/  

Notes to Editors

[1] https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/new-peers-to-be-appointed-within-weeks-plpqh65d6
[2] https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/lord-help-us-theresa-poised-12553385#r3z-addoor
[3] https://www.politicshome.com/news/uk/constitution/house-lords-reform/news/82402/jeremy-corbyn-calls-labour-2020-pledge-scrap

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