Lords Reform: A failure for Britain’s political class

Katie Ghose, former Chief Executive

Posted on the 6th August 2012

And so it’s come to pass. After all the gossip the government has finally withdrawn the House of Lords Reform bill.

This isn’t about the failure of one party, one government or one bill, but of politics itself. What we’ve seen is the total inability of Britain’s political class to get its own House in order.

Our MPs have squandered consensus, in the name of cheap point scoring and political games. All three parties walked into the last election committed to change. Each party has had an opportunity to break the impasse. Each party has chosen not to.

This will be remembered as an inglorious chapter in Britain’s political history. But it carries important lessons on how Britain does reform. Constitutional reform will not go away, but it needs to raised above the petty self-interest of parliamentarians, whether they like it or not.

Today Government rebels will be claiming victory. But let’s not pretend Lords reform is dead and buried. Rebels have merely put off till tomorrow changes that could have been done today.

As things stand we will continue to have more unelected politicians making our laws than have elected MPs. And that number will grow year on year, election after election until reform is done and dusted.

For that reason alone the House of Lords will remain unfinished business that this generation of politicians will have to fix.

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