PM set to ‘pack’ House of Lords with more unelected Peers – campaigners react

Posted on the 27th August 2019

Commenting on stories that Prime Minister Boris Johnson is planning to appoint potentially ‘dozens’ of Lords – some of whom donated millions to the Brexit campaign [1] –  Darren Hughes, Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society, said:

“Seats in Parliament should not be used as a hand-out for big political donors and campaign apparatchiks.

“Amid discussion of Theresa May being granted a number of ‘resignation honours’ [2], the already super-sized House of Lords appears set to bulge with even more unelected appointees. Across parties, we have seen our democracy denigrated by the desire to stuff the second chamber with seats-for-life.

“The fact that Johnson would have to appoint a huge number to significantly ‘rebalance’ the Lords shows the absurdity of the current set up: each new PM tries to pack it with cronies in order to tip the scales in their favour.

“Let’s not forget that long after Brexit is over, these peers will be claiming expenses and deciding on our laws for the rest of their lives, if they choose to.

“This feudal relic needs to be scrapped and replaced with a democratic second chamber. It’s time to end the scandal of unelected power in modern Britain and give us a genuinely accountable upper house.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors

The ERS is the UK’s leading pro-democracy campaign. See more on the ERS’ House of Lords campaign: https://www.electoral-reform.org.uk/campaigns/elected-house-of-lords/

ERS analysis in 2018 showed that:

Of the 564 peers whose place of residence is known, 306 (44%) live in either Greater London, the South East or the East of England (compared to 26% of the public).

Yet the East Midlands, West Midlands and North West are all highly under-represented – with just 5% of peers listed claiming they live in the North West, compared to 11% of the public.

Meanwhile, data on the backgrounds of all 816 peers revealed that almost 39% previously worked in politics.

See: https://www.electoral-reform.org.uk/latest-news-and-research/media-centre/press-releases/new-figures-reveal-lords-is-dominated-by-ex-politicians-and-south-east/

[1] https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/aug/26/boris-johnson-to-send-tory-loyalists-to-house-of-lords

[2] https://www.express.co.uk/news/politics/1159207/theresa-may-gavin-barwell-peerage-house-of-lords-conservative-party-eurosceptics

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