Prime Minister warned against packing the Lords with ‘defeated politicians’

Posted on the 16th December 2019

  • Statement from the Electoral Reform Society, for immediate release, 16th December.
  • Contact Josiah Mortimer on [email protected] / 07717211630 for interview requests or further info

The Electoral Reform Society (ERS) has urged the Prime Minister not to fill the House of Lords with ex-MPs, amid rumours that several former MPs are tipped to ‘vote on our laws for life’.

Defeated figures like Zac Goldsmith and Jo Swinson are rumoured [1] to be among those who could be handed peerages – despite losing in last Thursday’s election.

The ERS say elevating Goldsmith to the Lords would send the message that the upper chamber is an “absurd insurance policy” for MPs who lose their seats.

The latest ERS research shows that more than a third of currently eligible peers (36.9%) are former politicians, political staff or activists [2]. The House of Lords is already the largest second chamber in the world.

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

“The bloated House of Lords is already packed full of defeated and former MPs – over 200 of them. Politicians shouldn’t be rewarded with votes on our laws for life, after losing their seat.

“This issue we’ve seen across parties for years, and makes an absolute joke of democratic accountability. Our second chamber should not be some absurd insurance policy for trounced MPs.

“While hard working families scramble to finish their Christmas shopping the political class are swapping gifts with each other – courtesy of the taxpayer.

“Enough is enough. There should be a moratorium on new appointments while the Lords is replaced with a fairly-elected revising chamber.

“This private members’ club has got to go.”

The ERS are calling for the Lords to be scrapped and replaced with a ‘fairly elected revising chamber’ for the whole of the UK.

ENDS

Notes to Editors

[1] https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/boris-johnson-zac-goldsmith-peerage-lords-election_uk_5df66c24e4b047e8889ef814?ncid=other_twitter_cooo9wqtham&utm_campaign=share_twitter and https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7795879/Jo-Swinson-return-politics-PEER-despite-losing-seat-election-flop.html

[2] Read the ERS’ latest Lords Briefing: https://www.electoral-reform.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Locked-out-of-the-Lords-ERS-Briefing-on-the-State-of-the-Second-Chamber-September-2019-.pdf

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